So I made it! The plane ride was fine despite the icky, rude people across the aisle and I wouldn’t recommend AirTransat for their service – there’s a reason why they’re cheaper. However, they did what I paid them to do…got me to Paris!
I had decided, on Juliet’s recommendation, to take the Air France shuttle to Porte Maillot and then the city bus to a few blocks from her apartment. After waiting an hour for my luggage, I walked for probably 15 minutes (in the searing heat) and asked several people (all in french – where the heck are the supposed people who switch to english after you politely say ‘bonjour’?) for directions, I finally found the shuttle bus. It said Montparnasse though and not Porte Maillot. I asked the driver if it went to Porte Maillot and he said, “Non! Non Porte Maillot aujourd’hui!” and then a bunch of stuff I couldn’t understand. He pointed down the road a bit. I went there and saw an information booth. I spoke to the woman there, who’s english is as bad as my french. Basically, the Porte Maillot shuttle wasn’t running that day because of either an accident or a strike – not sure, but it was ‘grave’. She said I could take the shuttle outside to the Opera, then the 43 and then the 73 but couldn’t exactly tell me where to get on/off etc. (Update: it was a strike – ‘greve’ not ‘grave’!)
I decided to take a taxi.
The taxi driver was very nice but spoke zero english so we ran out of conversation pretty soon. It was actually quite neat to drive on the highway/freeway. It was relaxing too. After one very expensive taxi ride (exactly what Juliet paid though, so he didn’t rip me off) I was there!
Thank God for Jemma, the conceriege, as I had trouble opening the door – there are three odd locks on Juliet’s door and with the heat, the door has swelled – doesn’t help. She also speaks no english so it took a while to get that across.
I was hot, unbelievably hot but I knew it wasn’t just me as both the taxi driver and Jemma had mentioned the heat too. I now know there was a mini-heat wave – and they’re expecting another one. Ugh.
Anyways, the apartment is small – a studio. Weird things – the bathroom is in two rooms – the toilet and one cupboard on the left of the hallway and the sink, tub, washer and cupboard on the right. Weird. There are metal shutters on the windows that make me feel like I’m being enclosed in a tomb. No screens on anything – haven’t seen a screen yet!
I went for lunch after I got in – was starving! Had a lovely (but overpriced – won’t go back there) salad. Was perfect in the heat. The restaurant was called Hippopotamus (tickled me). Went for a bit of a walk and jet lag hit and needed a nap. Needed help from the neighbor to unlock the door. Thankfully, I have it figured out now! After that, I unpacked, got set up, and finished my book.
It blessedly began to rain and I opened up the windows. Saw a few boys playing in the street. When it began to rain in earnest, they tried to hitchhike rides home (half joking, I suspect). After it slowed down, I went out exploring and looked around the neighborhood. By the time I decided I should try to find the supermarket – it was eight o’clock. I couldn’t find it (need to carry a map with me) and then the boulangerie was closed too! I did find a wee place and got some fruit (Madamoiselle! Tu ne touchez les fruites, s’il vous plait! – I forgot – the french don’t pick their own fruit – the owner does it for you.), bread and nutella. Yum!