Thursday afternoon I arrived safely at Gare Montparnasse Station and decided not to do the 20 minute walk to the apartment with my bag...I would catch a taxi...hahahahaha...expensive idea!!! I should have known he would take me all around the world to get there because it was only a short way and a cheap fare!! I am sure it cost me double and I tried to talk to him but of course he didn't know what I was saying...hmmm not so sure about that!
I finally arrived at the apartment to meet Cecile and Nicola who were going to let me in and show me everything. When I got out of the taxi and walked up to them they exchanged a look and a little chuckle...immediately I knew they were laughing at my bag and I knew there were going to be stairs. What I didn't know was my apartment was on the 5th floor (note to self...check next time!) WHEW...tough work but we made it...they tell me it is easier going down!
At first I was a little disappointed at how basic the apartment was, but I had to remember I was comparing it to our beautiful villa! I have now found that I am enjoying the space it offers me and it is quite cozy and feels like home...sort of!
I unpacked and then went out to get some supplies...nice to have a full working kitchen. After some dinner I was ready for an early night and maybe even a sleep in. Sleep in I did...I didn't wake until about 8am and I decided to have a lazy start to the day. I spent some time searching out which buses run outside the apartment and which metro numbers I needed to know. I then had to plan how to get across Paris to Gare St Lazare Station to buy my ticket to Rouen to see Joelle on Sunday as I had been unable to do it online.
Then came a day of Firsts!!
I had to catch a bus for the first time in Paris and activate my visite card...I found the bus stop and got on (thought it was funny that the bus was a few minutes early...) and headed off. It only took a couple of stops before I realised I was headed in the wrong direction...what the heck...I stayed on till the end for the ride and then changed to come back the right way as time was not an issue. I have loved travelling on the buses as you can see way more than when on the metro.
I eventually made it to St Lazare and then I had to find the ticket sellers at this enormous station...I watched and wandered around for a while and discovered one area that sold tickets but only for suburban lines...then I found one for greater france, which sounded more like it as I knew I would be travelling for about an hour to get to Rouen. So I hopped on the queue and hoped that the ticket seller spoke some English...and voila I got my tickets! I was delighted that they only cost me 28 euro as it was going to be about 45 euro over the net...the only difference is I don't have a reserved seat allocation...I can live with that! So tickets in hand I tried to find the bus stop to go back to the apartment for some lunch...hahahaha...I couldn't find it!!! Once again after a walk around I managed to eventually find it.
When I got home it was about 3pm so I hung around near the apartment and then put together a little picnic dinner to take to the Eiffel Tower to see the lights.
Another first was using the metro...up till this point I had walked or used the bus...I knew it was easy but I wasn't totally sure I knew what to do. Off I went at 5.30pm...peak metro time of course!! It was almost impossible to get into a carriage. It was packed to overflowing! I got on and was then a little nervous of pickpockets as everyone had told me to be wary when it was so crowded...I arrived all safe and sound and even changed metro lines mid stream!! I joined the many tourists that were arriving with the same idea and we all sat and watched the afternoon sun set over Paris and the lights come on.
As I ate my my cheese and baguette and drank my wine I watched the fountain display in front of me, got wet with the spray and had a wonderful afternoon and evening.
To brighten my time there as I sat on the grass near the fountains at the Trocadero, three guys turned up just near me and were acting really weird! Two of them pulled out foam kickboards and a wig and the other guy got set up to film what was going to happen...Then before our eyes they ran down the slope and threw themselves into the pool at the bottom of the fountains with their kickboards...I filmed them too and so did everyone else! Then when they were happy with the film they got out...stripped off their wet clothes, changed into dry clothes and left!! hahaha...that was the nights entertainment!
As the sun set the tower lights came on and then at 9pm the twinlkly lights appeared for their first appearance of the night...it was truly magical. I really had to pinch myself to believe I was really here!!
BY 10pm Paris nightlife was in full swing and I walked for a while before jumping on the metro to head home...What a great memory!