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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Paris by Subway, and I don't mean sandwich.

Paris Metro Map
Paris by Subway, and I don't mean sandwiches.

This was to be our final day in Paris for this year.  It was one of the reasons we left Vence early, to spend a couple days here. As I said yesterday, we are staying at the Novotel Hotel at the Charles de Gaulle Airport.  This morning we bought round trip train tickets to the Eiffel Tower (20 Euros/$27 US each). We easily located the RER-Blue line and got on the next train to the city, rode it to the Saint Michel station (Notre Dame) then transferred to the RER-Yellow to the Eiffel Tower. 

The lower level trains are at least 100 feet below.

Just missed this one!

Our train to Saint Michel

We came up from the subway and the top of the Eiffel was right there. After the obligatory photos we found a sidewalk cafe and had coffee and a croissant for breakfast. 

Our walk took us to the Tower and around the south side. There were long lines waiting to board the elevator to the top and even longer to pay to walk up the stairs just to the first level.  We passed on both.

We headed toward the French military school and came upon a parking lot full of 2CV's.  A 2CV is a 60's era Citroen that is a classic today.  It has only 2 cylinders. They built these cars that way because the French government used to tax cars based on the number of cylinders or horsepower. Two cylinders got you low, low taxes.  

From there we wanted to go on to Notre Dame but it was too far to walk. I spotted a Metro station and we bought our subway (Metro) tickets. We checked the map, figured out how to get there and where to get off, Saint Michel again.

Coming out of the station the first thing we saw is the large statue of Saint Michael, the Archangel that dominates the intersection. 

From there we headed toward the "Latin Quarter" where there are a bunch of ethnic restaurants to choose from. Let me see if I remember them all: French, Italian, Greek, Turkey, Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese, Spanish, Provence, and even Mexican. There were no American places, well except for McDonalds and "no", we didn't eat there! :-) 

We spotted a nice French restaurant instead.  The prices were not exorbitant and the food looked pretty good.  MA had pesto pasta and I had Beef Bourguignon. Both were excellent as was the service.

Notre Dame

After lunch we walked around some more until our feet told us it was time to head back to the hotel.  We found the RER-Blue Metro to Charles De Gaulle Airport and thought we were returning to the airport hotel. 

After two stops MA realized that we were on the wrong RER-Blue line. You see this train has two routes that split about five stops before the airport, one going to the right and the other left and that's the one we should have been on...but weren't. 

You have to be careful about boarding Metros and trains. It's always best to look at the map, figure the trains final destination, see if your stop is on the way, then board it. Another tip was if you're going to the airport, look for other folks with suitcases! Anyhow we quickly got off at the next stop and waited for the right RER-Blue line that we should have been on.  About thirty minutes later we were at our hotel door step.  That was our day in Paris. We really had a lot of fun.

Here are some other photos from today:

French restaurant in the Latin Quarter


Pedestrian street in the Latin Qarter

Le Marathon French Specialty Grill

St Michel

Interior of St Severin

We were confident about this train going to the airport, people with luggage.

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