Sunday, December 16, 2007

Paris, again

We arrived in Paris on a lovely and cold day. Terminal 2 at Charles de Gaulle airport is wonderful, there's the RER train that zips you into Paris and the most wonderful is the TGV that speeds ou to all corners of France. I had already bought our tickets online from RailEurope before I left. I found out recently that RailEurope is actually owned by French rail people, SNCF. They mailed me the tickets. We took the TGV to Lyon from Paris Charles de Gaulle and in 2 hours we arrived at Part Dieu, the main train station in Lyon. We were in a daze, with people everywhere. I knew we need to take the metro to Place Bellecour where our hotel is. We went down to the metro but couldn't find a map, it showed only one direction, Charpennes. I have no clue where Charpennes is, so we went back to the information booth at Part Dieu and the nice lade said, change at Saxe-Gambetta. We went back down to the metro to figure out how to use the archaic ticket dispensing machines, finally figured it out and off we went. Phew! We were on our way, that's the beauty of independent travel. One cannot be afraid of asking for help. I'm used to asking for help, I've been trained to, being an independent traveler all my life.
We were to use Part Dieu many times more while in Lyon and subsequent visits were a lot less intimidating. I remember going to the little police station and saying, 'We're lost, can you help us?' The cute French policeman pointed us to 'Accueil'.
We stayed at Place Bellecour, on Victor Hugo, a street with a lot of cute shops which we didn't have money for. A 'Ricksteves' recommendation. There was this restaurant round the corner where we had our first meal in the famed gastronomic capital of France. Next morning it was 'petit dejeuner' in France.
The initial plan was just to stay in Paris for a few days since we're going through Paris but it ballooned into a whole week because there are places in Provence that I desperately want to visit. The boss said, ok and there we were, starting the week in Lyon.

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