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Published: August 13th 2017
Our last full day in Paris, it is Saturday, it is fine, and we have things to do. First up a lunch date.
We walk to our local railway station and buy a one day rail pass. Today we’ll use it to the max. We have things to do and places to see. We have decided to have lunch somewhere on the Left Bank. There is a cooling breeze so we look for a sheltered restaurant that offers a menu to fit our appetite and wallet. We choose a restaurant that looks across the Seine to Notre Dame. A very friendly waiter assists us to our table and leaves English language menus. A nearby diner lights the first of many cigarettes so we move down wind of him. The waiter returns and realizes we have moved. He understands. We both decide on chicken-filled crepes and a caesar salad on the side. Time for people watching while we wait. Actually the position of the restaurant on a street corner means we are watching tourist buses instead. The meal arrives and we indulge. So delicious. We pay the bill and leave for a Metro journey to La Defense.
La Defense is
Iconic vendors beside the Seine
a very modern high rise part of Paris. We have been here before but thought it would be interesting to revisit the area. On the way we take Metro Line 1. We are at the front window when we realize there is no driver. Help! What a sensation whizzing from station to station on a driverless train while looking out the large front window. Fortunately all lights are green and the opposing trains keep to their side of the tracks. Surely there is someone somewhere who plays these trains like a giant model railway system. There are so many trains moving in both directions we hope the controller is up to the task.
We take Exit 1 at La Defense station and emerge almost under the Cube. Over the years it has lost none of its wow factor. People walking around look like miniatures beside these large modern structures. We look across to a large sculpture of an up-raised thumb and in the foreground is a vegetable garden, a model allotment. We check out a large shopping mall, all the named shops in one place. Shoppers were disappearing to the various car parks weighed down with large numbers of
Back street restaurants
sale items. We left with a plug adapter so we can use our Italian kettle in New Zealand.
Next stop after another Metro trip or two was Galeries Lafayette. Once past security we meandered from floor to floor, shop to shop. This Paris institution is spread over two large department stores. The place is full of shoppers from across the globe buying that special item or two or ... to take home. Hopefully they have a good baggage allowance. We leave with a very nice black belt.
Back on the Metro to Gare du Nord. We need to check out the Left Luggage department for tomorrow’s trip. The station is overflowing with travellers. Deep underground the RER is shifting thousands of people from one side of Paris to the other. The next level up the Metro is shifting more people around Paris. On the ground level the fast TGVs, Eurostars and Thalys trains are moving people across France and other parts of Europe. A truly amazing place. Amongst all this busyness two Kiwi pensioners are forcing their way through the crowds to the Left Luggage somewhere below Platform 3. It all looks straight forward for our visit tomorrow.
La Defense with the vegetables garden
With everything sorted we head into the bowels of the Earth to the RER platform and our trip back to the apartment. We use our left over laundry tokens for a quick wash. There is an assortment of food and drink items to be consumed so tonight’s dinner is sorted. That just leaves the big pack. We have to somehow fit our clothes and new purchases into our bags to bring back home. Easy. First pack the carry-on luggage. Next we pack the “must haves”. Finally if there is any room left over we pack the “would be nice to keep” items. The pile left for the cleaners starts to grow.
We put the lights out for the last time on this trip and attempt to get a good night sleep. It will be the last good sleep for the next three days. Tomorrow we start our long trip home.
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