May 2017 Kaleidoscope of France Gate1 Tour
This is a tale of jet lag, and I hope I have my French correct. The title is supposed to say “Go to the left, do not go the right”
Our Tour of France adventure began Saturday, May 20th as we departed home at noon for the Knoxville Airport via Uber. We departed TYS at 2:30 for the ATL and a 5:30 departure to Paris. The flight was great. We knew we would be stuck in the center section but we had a spare seat next to us, (the only extra seat on the plane!) which meant we could really stretch out. For me though, there was very little sleep. We arrived at around 7:30 AM, which was 40 minutes earlier than planned, but then we stood about an hour and a half in the customs line. After a few trips to Europe, I am always struck at how little scrutiny we get from the agents – just a passport stamp and we are on our way. Charles de Gaulle Airport was 22 miles from our hotel and traffic was very light this Sunday morning, so it was a quick trip through deserted streets to the Marriott Rive Gauche. We arrived at around 10:00 and found to our delight that our room was ready – hurrah, top floor and a nice room. We spent a few minutes getting unpacked and headed back to the lobby where our tour director, Simèon was on duty. He highlighted the map you see in the picture below so we could get to the Eiffel Tower for a lunch picnic and then board a Seine River cruise that we had booked on our own.
The Paris Metro Line 6 ran just in front of our Hotel and the Glaciere stop was conveniently located about a block away so it should have been a very easy trip, but alas, jet lag began to catch up with us. I stared blankly at the map, “Which way?” toward the “Nation” Station or toward Bir-haikim? I choose Nation, which was on the map à droite (to the right) – It took a few stops for it to dawn on me that this was the wrong way. But no real harm, we could just get off and move to the other side of the platform.
What ensued was a Clark Griswold European Vacation moment, I am thinking of a scene were Clark gets stuck in a revolving door. For me, it was trying to hold the door on the metro as it closed. Marcy was trapped behind a slow-moving passenger and I didn’t want the doors to shut and lose her on the Metro system. The safety standards in France might be less than the States because the door just kept continuing to squeeze me. “So this is how it ends”, I thought. Nevertheless, I managed to push the door open to much loud clarion horn alarming and buzzing and dirty looks and we made to the other platform to travel this time à gauche – to the left.
Stay tuned for our next adventure where we meet up with the pickpocket “Survey Girls” near the Seine River.