We arrived in Paris just before 7 on Saturday morning. The sky was overcast, but luckily not raining. It felt like we landed in Joburg and then taxied to the Charles de Gaule terminal. Once in the terminal building, things looked a bit confusing. It is a ompletely round building with a lot of tubes interconnecting floors in the middle of the circle. Luckily it is all well signed, in English, French and German. Until you get the the exit of "Terminal 1", which is a train station, but only signed in French. It took us a minute or two to figure out that this train was only the transport between terminals.
Once at the right terminal, we quickly found the train out to Paris, where we had to change over to another line. The guy who sold me the tickets only circled the where we are, and the final destination station on the map, which is also all French. But luckily we could figure out fairly quickly how the underground system works, and where to change lines.
We arrived at the hotel at 10, only to be told that our room would only be ready at 3 in the afternoon. So our only option was to leave our baggage at the hotel, and start the sight seeing. All three of us a bit grumpy after the little sleep in the plain. At 2 in the morning I was wide awake, my body refusing to sleep in thise cramped conditions.
We had lunch at Planet Hollywood in the Disney village, and then took the train back to Paris.
Following all the signs in French again, I decided to rather go up to street level and walk around a bit instead of changing trains onto the Metro system.
As we came out of the Chatele station, the first landmark we saw was the L'église Saint-Eustache church. What an impressive building, I'll upload some photos when I get home. From there we took another train to the Champs-Élysées, yes I can now pronounce it properly, and walked down the famous cobbled street to the Arc de Triomphe. This is clearly the hangout of the rich on weekends, with all the top shops having a presence and we saw lots of Porches and Ferraris driving along the road.
At this point we were all too tired to continue walking and we hopped back on the train to return to the hotel, with all three of us falling asleep on the train. Luckily you get jolted awake by the door alarms every time before the train pulls off again, so we didn't miss any stations.
We checked into the hotel, and wanted to take a nap before dinner, but the nap turned into a thirteen hour sleep fest. I woke up once at 23:00, it was still light outside, and again at 4:20, can't help that my body is conditioned to the time. And again at 7:30.
When seeing how busy the hotels and Disneyland is on weekends, we decided to go into Paris again, and do Disneyland on Monday. So after a quick breakfast it was us and the train again.
First stop was Notre Dame, an even bigger cathedral with very impressive architecture. The Mass service was on when we arrived, but that did not stop us or any of the hordes of tourists to walk around in the cathedral. You only got moved out of the way when the clergy took their walk out of the service. With the long lines we did not go for the tour of the towers, opting to go wait in line at the Eiffell tower instead.
The tower is a lot bigger that I initially thought. There were long lines from each of the ticket stations at the four pillars, so we chose what looked like the shortest, and started the long wait, taking turns to go to the loo and going to buy food, had a standing lunch in the line, and a mere hour and a half later were in the lift on our way to the top.
With an impressive view from the top of the tower, we spent quite a bit of time there looking for all the famous landmarks. We wanted to stop for a drink on the way down, but could not get ourselves to stand in another line for this.
From the Eiffel tower we went to the Louvre, no I had no intention of walking around there with a five year old, but I did want to see the buildings from the outside.
Once again, we were tired of walking and decided to go back to the Disney Village for dinner.
Lessons learnt so far:
The food in Europe is expensive and not that nice, so far.
If you greet the French in french, you can switch to English & sign language from there to get what you need, and they'll be very friendly about it.
Never buy direct tickets to a place, with a day pass you can get anywhere, and it it cheaper.
Don't convert back into rand, it breaks your heart, and your wallet.
So now I'm sitting here, battling with a French layout keyboard, and not having seen any dark since I left the plane, and today we attempt Disney, while most of you work…I still come out tops 🙂