France (Part 5/5) – Paris
20th May 2007
There were so many things to see today in Paris but again it rained quite heavily which made photography quite difficult and awkward. The last time I checked the weather they did say it was going to be fine and sunny but again I was misled.
I had to drop off my baggage again at the lockers in Gare De Lyon before embarking on the RER (Resieu Expression Regional) train which goes between various main train stations in Paris and outside of Paris. I accidentally went on the Metro instead which was an underground tram network connecting up more suburbs in and around Paris. I found this mode of transport quite more pleasant as it was an inexpensive way to travel around Paris and they go extremely fast.
First stop was La Defense to see the Grande Arche La Defense which was this great large square structure with a hole through the middle, and then it was back to Arc De Triomphe Etoile then to the Eiffel Tower. This was all done in the rain. All my gear was waterproof so walking around in the rain was fine. The difficult part was taking photos and trying not to get the lens wet.
I wanted to climb to the top of the Arc De Triomphe Etoile but it wasn’t open. However I did go up the Eiffel Tower to the 3rd level. There queues were very long and people were waiting in the rain with their umbrellas, rain coats or garbage bags. Great 360 degree views of Paris and despite the rain, the visibility seemed quite good. I did plan to go to the Montparnasse building to get another 360 degree view of Paris but the Eiffel Tower was sufficient.
After deciding to give the Montparnasse building a miss I was wondering around the streets of Paris checking out the restaurants and cafes. I thought the food is great in Paris despite not trying traditional dishes like snails or bouillabaisse. I sampled some Chinese-French dishes which I thought was up there with the dishes we have at home.
The rain did dampen my time in Paris and it was especially frustrating that I didn’t record my flight information going into and out of Paris. I couldn’t find an internet café in Paris. I walked everywhere to find one but I never found one. I just found cafes and restaurants tucked in narrow streets with people on sidewalks sipping coffee and dining.
So to avoid missing the flight back to Amsterdam I headed to the airport quite early just to check my flight. If I miss the plane I would be totally screwed over with immigration and my plan to fly to London the next day would be in serious jeopardy.
The flight was at 1845 and I arrived at 1545 so I waited 1hr before checking in and waited 3hrs in total which I didn’t mind. I’m quite used to waiting for planes, trains and other forms of transport which makes me a very patient individual. Can I just also say that Paris airport is the crappiest airport in the world? It has like 2 shops, 1 news agency outlet, 1 duty free shop both small centre’s of course. Hell, Maroochydore airport is better than this! Paris CDG airport is pathetic.