Monday, July 13, 2015

Je suis arrivée a Paris aujourd'hui! 

The departure from Detroit to Paris was delayed about an hour in order to transport and replace a needed part on the plane our group was due to board.  Interestingly, this repair announcement flipped the irritation a delay usually is into an opportunity to extend the anticipation of touching down (safely) in Paris! 

Getting through Charles de Gaulle Airport passport control went smoothly especially when you consider the large size of our group.   When it was my turn to show my passport I decided to jump into my French that I’ve been practicing in preparation for the first leg of this educational adventure that begins in Paris, moves on to Amsterdam and wraps up in Berlin. 

I loved the metro.  Smooth-tiled archways and dark rumbling tunnels that spit out fast trains resembling the CTA trains in Chicago.  Actually, much of the landscape from CDG to our first metro transfer point was reminiscent of sites seen when taking the Amtrak into Chicago, with graffiti-covered walls along dilapidated industrial buildings. 

Metro Stations at Charles de Gaulle Airport
The air in the metro tunnels was humid and warm, especially when the 50+ of our group lugged our belongings up and down and up and down steps, steps, steps and more steps.  But aswe approached the landing near the train tunnels it became cooler and even breezy as the train pulled to a stop in front of us.

We stepped onto the train from CDG and transferred from Denfert-Rochereau to Pasteur then finally climbing out of the metro tunnels at Volontaires.   There was only one metro mishap for our group:  two students were unable to exit quickly enough at Pasteur and we watched as the metro faded and took them into the next segment of tunnel.  But it’s Paris, so you roll with it and eventually all arrived at our hostel.

Rue de Vaugirard & Rue Borromé
We left all the steps of the metro and came out onto our first Paris Street.  Rue de Vaugirard and the clean, almost sweet aroma of the city hit me.  As we walked the last bit to our hostel, a fragrance coming out of a shop evoked a shadow of a memory in me but before I could pinpoint it I came around the corner onto Rue Borromée and I was completely distracted by the site of the top of the Eiffel Tower looming over the buildings at the end of the street.   We are scheduled to see the Bastille Day fireworks at the Eiffel Tower tomorrow! 

After settling in, freshening up and enjoying a late lunch my marketing roommates and I wandered around a few blocks of our neighborhood.  I found some wonderful cheese!  I wish this picture below could relay the amazing fragrance rolling out of this refrigerated area.   From this delightful find we journeyed further and stopped for my other addiction:  coffee.  Here is my first café allongé.   My usual Starbucks Americano pales….

Another aspect of Paris that I already enjoy is the quiet nature of the people.  All the small venues with street seating and full tables do not create the cacophony you would expect.  They speak quietly to each with a barely audible murmur that creates an intimate and relaxing atmosphere.

All my roommates have crashed from their jet lag.  It’s not even 8 p.m.  I have no choice but to spend time with the bit of cheese I bought.