Today was the day to try out my Navigo Découverte (monthly Metro pass) as it is the start of the month, April 1st. I walked to the Pont Marie station and took the Metro to Charles de Gaulle Étoile aka Arc de Triumph. From there I walked back down the Champs-Élysées to the Louvre. Then the Louvre station back to Pont Marie and home.
I looked at the Bistro Romain menu to see if they still had carpaccio all-you-can-eat. They do, but it is now €24. Still, if you want to make a whole meal of carpaccio…
I found and had lunch at L’Alsace. My French teacher grew up in Alsace and recommended trying their regional specialty “fish sauerkraut”. To start I had flammekueche traditionnelle. This doesn’t translate; try a Google search. It is sort of like a pizza with onion, ham, and cheese – but it is really not a pizza at all. Then choucroute de la mer (sauerkraut of the sea) which had cabillaud (a white fish), saumon (salmon), haddock, langoustine. It was all quite good.
And, nobody put a fish on my back. (Un blague – La poisson d’avril.)
Last night was my first restaurant dinner. I walked about a block and a half to Les Fous de L’Île. This translate to The Fools of the Island. That sounded like it was right up my alley.
I did my best Bonsoir upon entering, but I was still given a menu in English. I wonder what gave me away?
I had a glass of Bordeaux (€5) and the (prix fixe) menu (€30). My choices were poitrine de porc (pork belly), gratin de palourdes (clam gratin), and assiette de fromage (cheese plate). All was quite good. Plenty of people coming in for a Thursday evening. Of course, it is a tourist location.
Yesterday I took a circular walk around Île St Louis, across the Seine, and by the St Michel Metro / RER station. I wanted to get my Navigo Découverte, my Metro / RER pass.
Entering the station, I descended two levels to a set of ticket gates and an information / ticket window. I asked for the Navigo Découverte. They got out the package and started my transaction. The physical pass is €5 and a monthly pass for zones 1 to 5, that is, all zones, is €73. I was getting a monthly pass for April, just a couple of days away. I inserted my credit card into their machine and we all waited. And waited. And waited. Nothing. Another came over and he tried resetting the card processor. We watched its little screen saying reloading and counting up to 100%. But, it just then did it again. And again. After about the 35th reloading attempt, they said there were sorry, but I had to go elsewhere.
I went up one level, found the RER station part, and another information / ticket window. Time to try again. I was first warned that there were only a handful of days left in the week and buying a weekly pass did not make sense. I (re-)explained I wanted the monthly pass for the upcoming month. Ah, that was different. Their card processor worked. I got my package.
The package has an identity card that one personalizes with a photo and your written name. Having read up on the card beforehand, I had the correctly sized picture. After sticking the picture on and writing my name, I peeled the instruction page off of a clear sheet of plastic which folder over and sealed to make the identification information permanent.
The pass itself sits against the identification card and both go into a supplied hard plastic holder. The pass’s number shows through a small rectangular hole in the card right above the number on the card. This makes it easy for someone to verify you hard the right pass with the card.
Now tomorrow I can use the Metro as much as I want. That will enable my across-Paris exploring.
I counted going down, in French, and got 99 steps (99 marches). But, I counted going up, in English, and got 98. Need to triangulate to the exact number.
Went to the local “supermarché” or so claims its signage. It is much more like one of the old small general markets I remember from NYC: not wide, but deep with floor to ceiling shelves. Everything from paper goods, to frozen items, to fresh fruit, to wine, etc. Probably not the best price, but only a block away! And, on the receipt, it converts the Euro price to Francs, in case you are not yet used to Euros.
I have arrived and am entering this from the apartment.
The flights were uneventful. The only “issue” was the breakfast that Aer Lingus supplied coming into Dublin. Jan was sure it would be a “full Irish” breakfast, but it was a shrink wrapped muffin with a very small orange juice. During my wait in the Dublin airport, I found the “Refuel Station” where I could get a full Irish breakfast. It was not expensive and it was not very good, but it was an egg, banger, bacon, tomato, potatoes, mushrooms, and toast. On the flight from Dublin to Paris, anything cost money; only “tap water” was free and airplane tap water is highly recommended against due to the non-clean nature of their storage tanks.
Took the RER B from the CDG airport to Paris, St Michel. It is only €10 and it is supposed to be an express. Well, it did only stop at the express stops, but twice it came to an almost-stop / crawl, so any feeling of speed quickly vanished. If you go to Sortie 5 (Parvis Notre Dame) at the St Michel, the escalators (and there are four of them) will take you up to street level right by open plaza in front of Notre Dame. That is, no need to cross the river to get to Île de la Cité.
The apartment’s caretaker, Valerica, was there already as a repairman was coming to fix the cable / Wi-Fi / TV. I had the code for the outer door and the code for the inner door then trudged up to the 5th floor to meet Valerica. Note: The 5th floor is what most Americans would call the 6th floor. I have not counted the steps as yet.
The repairman took quite a while, so I went down and out then a couple of blocks to a bank’s ATM. It is much easier to get local currency these days, there is no exchange fee, and the exchange rate is quite good.
On going to the ATM, I passed a shop with a banner saying “Pain Bio” (organic bread). So I stopped and got a seeded baguette as well as a sandwich of tomato and goat cheese.
The cable / Wi-Fi / TV is now all working and I managed to take a short nap. After this entry I will go out and see if I can collect some necessities for the apartment and then my dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast.
I am entering this while sitting at a power-supplying table at my flight’s gate at Logan.
I arrived early, about two and a half hours in advance. Jan drove me in and that timing allowed her to miss the really bad traffic, but the real reason is that i am both nervous and looking forward to this experiment / journey. So, I’m now through checking in my bag and security. It is time to try to relax a bit.
I should get to Dublin at 05:00 (local time [+5 hours]) and then Paris at 09:30 (local time [+6 hours]). After clearing customs, I will take the RER B train to downtown Paris, the St Michel stop. Then a 15 or so minute walk to my apartment.
I will make a next entry when I get there. Probably something short as I will be quite tired.
Welcome to my blog describing my experiment in living in downtown Paris.