Published: May 26th 2009May 24th 2009
A very early start on Friday morning, taxi came at 4 .15 to take us to St Pancras, sat around for ages then waiting to leave on the 5.25am.
I had brought the picnic back pack so we could particpate in the planned Bookcrossing picnics, this excited the Customs officials who pulled to bits and swabbed it for drugs. T and S were carrying it, James and I had already gone through and thisdid make us a little anxious.
Most pleasant way to travel and James and S managed to have a doze.
Arrived at Gare de Nord and couldn't reconcile with the map I had to locate our apartment. However we only walked 5 mins in the wrong direction before a passerby assisted and turned us around. We were lucky our apartment is only 10 minutes from the station and even closer to Gard de L'Est, our local metro.
The apartment is delightful with ample room, clean, and well appointed, down a little alleyway shared by a number of apartments, but the only access is via a pin number , the same security to get into our building.9 Unfortunately twice late at night the piun has failed
and we have had to call out the owner, very annoying)
The street outside is very diverse, many nationalities, numerous restaurants and bars, and buzzing with life. Even better a small supermarket is on the other side of the road. I would recommend this cheap apartment ( 500 Euro for 7 nights for 4 ) to anyone.
Some glitches on the Saturday morning, late last week I received an email advising of an apparently new programme. So after collecting fellow NZ Bookcrosser Kiwi - in - England froam her hotel around the corner, of we went to locate the Parisian Bookcrossers. No luck and a real and total stuff up of a magnitude 10. Finally after 90 minutes of wandering aimlessly and getting really really frustrated we returned to our apartment and sent out frantic messages asking if the MBC had been cancelled.
Embarrassed responses started to flow in from all over France, it seems that the "new programme" was created by one or two BCers only and the programme had not changed at all. We were still in time to join the original programme a giant book release at Butte Chaumont, a large park. We reverted
to plan A purchased our supplies and headed off for the picnic and meet up with the French Bookcrossers.
After a very ( to a kiwi ) prolonged time of chatting we finally wandered through the park and released hundreds of books.
Later we took a very very very long walk through Paris to our restaurant where we had a most enjoyable French meal with the French.
The next morning we travelled out to the wonderful castle and then had a very very very long walk through Bois Vincennes, a boat ride on the Seine and then there was to be more walking and picnicing.
We bailed, we had not had the opportunity to purchase picnic foods, we were bloody sick of walking and it was 35degrees. Managed to find a restaurant open, miraculous as Paris shops seem to all close on a Sunday, we were able to go to the toilet and a have a drink. We hadn't had breakfast due to the late dinner the night before and the non bookcrosser members of the family were ready to riot.
Lessons learnt, make sure you know if there are factions and breakaway groups before embarking on joining activities,
always carry with you organisers phone numbers for emergencies, understand that the French seem to like very,very, very long walks, and they don't stop for refreshments or comfort even if the temp is over 35degrees. When they do stop they are happy them to chat amongst themselves for long periods of time and seem to see no reason to tell others what the F*** is happening and are amazed when one enquires. Some will of course respond charmingly but several seemed to lose their English speaking faculties very easily
There are more photos below