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Published: August 14th 2017
The banks of the Seine
We’re going home. Hard to believe this day has arrived. What a wonderful trip. We have our last sightseeing visit of Paris before that dreaded long haul flight. The day is fine and just the right temperature for wandering the streets of Paris. But first we have to close our bags and check out. Once the bags are closed we check the weight. Amazing. Both bags are under 20 kgs.
As we close the door of another hotel room for the final time we don’t feel sad, we feel excited about our home coming. We look forward to seeing our garden wake up with the arrival of spring. Dragging wheeled bags over paving is rather laborious but the trip to the railway station doesn’t seem to take that long. Perhaps there is a spring in our step. The friendly gentleman in the ticket office welcomes us. “English?” he asks. “From New Zealand”, we reply. “That’s a long way”. “Are we entitled to a discount then?” we ask. We all smile at each other and talk about the wonderful time we have had in Paris. Because Charles De Gaulle Airport is in Zone 5 it costs a bit more for our
The Eiffel Tower looks over the city
daily ticket than yesterday but at least we can use all the trains we need to. We have a large note to use up anyway.
We are early for the train. We choose the train that is starting its journey from this station and select a seat in the rear carriage. Being 11:26 am on a Sunday morning we hope the train won’t get too crowded. Our bags take up two seat spaces. The trip to Gare du Nord goes quickly and there are only a few other passengers using the carriage. Everything changes when we get to our destination. We battle our way through the crowds waiting for their departure time to their European holiday destinations. We join the long queue at the Left Luggage department. Once our bags go through the first of many security checks we’ll experience today we select a large locker. The only one available has a broken lock. A helpful assistant pulls it apart, retrieves a ticket, writes something on it, and explains we will need an assistant to help us get into the locker on our return. We hope it all works out.
Time to use our all day ticket. We
Cour De Cassation
have about four hours to kill so we choose the area around the Louvre for our sightseeing experience. We have a light lunch and head off towards Pont Neuf. A fellow tourist asks if we can point him in the direction of the Pompidou Centre. We can’t help too much but point him in the direction we think he should take. We later realize our mistake and hope the tourist hasn’t reached the Spanish border before he realizes he has been pointed in the wrong direction. Fortunately we have been going in the right direction and reach Pont Neuf. From this famous bridge we get views of Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, the palaces of the Louvre, and the Seine. The city officials have removed the railings from the Pont Des Arts that have been covered in padlocks and reinstalled them as an attraction on Pont Neuf. Hawkers are busy trying to sell padlocks along with miniatures of the Eiffel Tower and bottled water. It is so relaxing just to stroll across these bridges enjoying world famous sights. River boats are busy taking tourists on their Sunday cruises. So much is happening around us.
It is only a short walk
Rue de Rivoli
to the palaces housing the Louvre Museum. These magnificent buildings are truly the heart of France. If there is to be typical French architecture then this is it. People are busy taking selfies or posing for that special travel picture with the Louvre glass pyramid in the background. There are many opportunities to photo bomb some of these happy holiday snaps but we don’t waste our time. One thought: why does it take some people so much time to take one quick snap?
Wandering along the Rue de Rivoli isn’t all that easy. The arched footpath is lined with souvenir shops and their displays of merchandise spilling out of doorways. Tourists filling all available spaces. Our wander is more of an endurance than a leisurely stroll. Over the road in the Jardin des Tuileries a large fairground is in full swing. Time to return to Gare du Nord and collect our bags.
Back at the Left Luggage we are able to have an assistant open up our locker and there smiling back at us are our bags all ready for their next adventure. Once again we negotiate the crowds waiting for their trains and disappear deep into the
underground for the RER to Charles de Gaulle Airport. The platform is crowded but fortunately they are not going our way. Our train follows and is virtually non stop to the airport. We have plenty of time.
Once at the airport we sort out our travel clothes, use the facilities, and join the long check-in queue. We follow a large group of high school students returning after a French experience. We wonder where they’ll be sitting. About an hour later we front up to the check-in lady. Boarding passes through to Sydney don’t seem to be a problem. We have a feeling we are not sure she knows where in the world Queenstown is. We hope the pilot does. We get our third set of boarding passes – 5B and 6D. Great. Something to sort out in Sydney. And the bags, both well under weight. We could have done more shopping. By now the wheel on one bag is suffering from too many French paved footpaths.
Security is the next stop on this long journey through Terminal 2C. To be prepared for entering New Zealand we have put all food items, or items that might be food, into
our carry on luggage. Whoops we forgot about the sizes of some items. Bells and whistles go off and one item is removed – too big. French Immigration let us out of the country so now we are free to board the plane. We still have some time so a quick McCafe while we wait for boarding. Amazing how so many people can fit into an A380. Finally our zone is ready for boarding. We’re in row 79 surrounded by high school students.
The flight is a little late leaving. It is only about six and a half hours to Dubai and we have plenty of time before the next connection. We can expect a temperature of about 36 degrees when we land. Not a problem, we have an air bridge for disembarking so we won’t notice the heat. Our fellow passengers settle down with their devices and all is quiet. We commend them on their behaviour. None of them tilt their seats so far back they are in our laps. We think we managed a little sleep.
We just settled back after our evening meal and wished the time away. Night time goes quickly when you fly east. As we approached Dubai the sun was rising.
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