Yemenity2010's Blog

An Evening in Paris or Actually a Few Hours in Broad Daylight…

Posted in Blog Entry in English by yemenity2010 on 12/01/2015

Paris-streetcrossing1…or Something Happened on the way to the Eiffel Tower.

Paris. Last week (and probably still) a city in mourning after the shocking assassination of almost an entire magazine staff, by extremists later found and killed themselves in a confrontation with the French police. Personally I’ve really only been there once. And it was a brief, somewhat anticlimactic visit, just passing through. I know, probably not the best way to get to know this World Metropolis. But here’s what went down…

Paris-MilySmile21st of June, AD 2014. The beginning of our vacations. My wife and I boarded an Air France plane in Gothenburg around lunchtime and arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris roughly two hours later. We knew we had close to eight hours to spend there before the next flight to Mexico City in the evening. The plan was simply to do something in the magical French capital during that time; especially my wife wanted to have a look at the Eiffel Tower from some strategic location. Although, we were aware that plans do not always work out the way you, well, planned them…

First of all, neither one of us really knows Paris and its geography. But we did make an effort to actually realize the dream of seeing one of the world’s most well-known landmarks. However, everything tends to take time in these instances, doesn’t it? And there’s always something unexpected coming up. We bought tickets to a local train leaving the airport and calculated how much time we would need to get back and forth, with some room for the unexpected, and went on our merry way.

Paris-JL-stationWhat we didn’t know at the time was that some major music festival apparently took place in the city these days, which in turn affected the whole transportation system. Needless to say, the train was crowded and when we reached the northern traffic hub called Gare du Nord, it turned out that we had to get off instead of staying on the same train and get off at a later stop where we supposedly just would have needed to take one other local train for a few stops and be as close to the Tower as we wished. Gare du Nord, by the way, as also quite crowded. We were unsure of exactly which other connection we had to take to fill in the gap, and the information available was slightly confusing, at least for us lost novices in the Romance Capital of the World. Or whatever.

paris-bijouteriImprovisation. Sometimes the second best thing is just to roll with it and catch a glimpse of the place in question, take a look at what’s at hand and soak up a bit of atmosphere. So, what we did was to take a stroll around Gare du Nord and experience the street life of at least a reasonably interesting part of Paris. Basically, everything about the French capital is supposed to have a certain panache, a cosmopolitan character and a special scent you never forget, right?

Well, it had something. But we didn’t get further than that – this time. Getting back to Charles de Gaulle had its share of challenges as well, mainly more confusing information regarding from paris-streetview2which platform the CDG-bound trains really left Gare du Nord, considering the already mentioned music festival seemed to have temporarily altered all the normal schedules. It was hot, crowded and slightly chaotic. But yes, also quite lively and of course it’s a place you should visit, preferably with better planning and more time at your disposal.

We got back to the airport, had some overpriced, bland sandwiches at one of the cafés, while waiting for the next flight. After all, the main purpose of the trip was to get there. My wife’s homeland. The bridge between two continents, two worlds, geographically belonging to North America but culturally associated with what’s generally referred to as Latin America. And we did.

Paris-North-crowdedstreet

More on that, later…

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