From Paris to Bayeaux
Bayeux Travel Blog› entry 3 of 3 › view all entries
The day started a little too early. After dinner last night (a lovely little Fondue place just steps from the hotel), Martha and I headed to Montparnasse neighborhood to see the Moulin Rouge. We got there just as the crowds were headed in for the 11pm show. We found a cafe across the street and took a lot of pictures. Our waiter, Tony, was a BIG flirt so we took some pictures of him too. We met some girls from Georgia who were in Paris for the weekend - they spoke perfect English. After several (too many) glasses of wine, we headed back to the hotel. We met a nice young man from Sri Lanka who lost his father in the tsunami ... he has only been in Paris for two months and looked a little lost. We got back to the hotel and promptly (passed out) fell asleep. The inevitable knock came around 7am-ish? and we got our stuff ready and headed out to grab a cab. (Martha and I misplaced the room key - ok, I misplaced the room key - and we got a tongue-thrashing by the the owner of the hotel - she charged us 27 euro for the damn thing!) Anyway, per true Parisian style, we could not hail a cab to save our lives. After about 30 minutes on the street corner on Blvd St-Michel, a nice Parisian man approached me and asked what we needed - I said a cab and he said "Ah, no. You take Metro." So we did. With the luggage from hell. And stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. Got our Metro tickets and had to navigate our bags through the tiny little turnstiles. I went first with Martha intending to pass me the bags through the turnstiles. Well, Mom went next and couldn't get her bag through & the turnstile decided she was taking too long. So she tried to use her ticket to open the turnstile again and it wouldn't let her. So she kind of shrugged her shoulders, got down on her hands and knees and crawled under the turnstile! Yes, my 72-year old mother crawled through the turnstile ..I was petrified some French police officer was going to yell at us, but nobody cared. After we lugged 7 tons of luggage down several flights of steps, we got to the train and squished on board with all of our stuff. A couple of trains stops later, we were at Chatelet - a major hub and transfer station - where we had to find the train to Gare St Lazare and the train to Caen. We got on the right train - after several more stairs - down, thankfully, not up - and were at Gare St Lazare in no time flat. Fortunately, we found the lift at Gare St Lazare, got all our bags through and found our way to the ticket kiosk, which of course, did not work (more like I couldn't figure it out...). Dad took a little stroll and found the ticket counter (vois la!) and we got our four one-way tickets to Caen, about a two hour train ride from Paris. Getting our 7 tons of luggage on board the train was nothing short of a miracle - we left our big suitcases out by the door - and managed to get the rest of the smaller bags in with the rest of the luggage. Good God. I will pack lighter next time (I swear !) - Martha unfortunately bore the brunt of lifting the suitcases onto the train car, all the while cursing her Cousin Kate under her breath. True to blonde form, I was busy trying to find a good seat...next to the cute guy. (Kidding - I wasn't THAT bad...I did help Martha! Jeesh!)
Two hours later we arrived at Caen - the weather a bit overcast & definitely chillier than Paris. Unloading the luggage was another tremendous feat - Martha nearly falling to the tracks due to the huge gap between the train car and landing. We almost lost her there for a sec. Thankfully the train was not moving. We got the bags off the train and headed towards Hertz, which of course was closed for two hours between noon and two. It was ok because we found a lovely restaurant and sat outside & enjoyed a wonderful lunch. Dad & Mom got the ham sandwich - jambon crudites. Martha and I got the quiche lorraine. Fabulous. We got the car - it's a gorgeous silver Mercedes - I feel like a rock star driving this thing! Before we left Hertz, a couple approached from the train station & he and I got to talking due to the unmistakable Boston Red Sox hat he was wearing. He and his wife were in Paris and had no idea how the Sox were doing - thankfully family & friends have been text messaging & e-mail scores and highlights from the Sox AMAZING sweep of the Angels. I passed along the 3-0 info to the guy - in true Red Sox faithful tradition his next question was "How are the Yanks doing?"...to which I replied, "Indians are up 2-1". Priceless. Standing on a corner in Caen talking to a dude from Boston - his dream trip was to visit Normandy and see the beaches. You gotta love Americans, especially New Englanders. :) (Heard the Pats are 5-0 now - go Pats - beat dem Cowboys!)
So we are now in Bayeaux. I managed to find the only wireless internet access in the city! I am nothing if not resourceful. This wonderful lady at Hotel de Bayeaux let me log on ... at first she said "NO" but then I looked at her desperately and she acquiesced. The French can be funny sometimes ... at first she was adamantly opposed to me using the internet but five minutes later she was sitting next to me on the couch, helping me log on. She's very sweet - sitting in the next room talking to herself (or me) - I can't understand a word she is saying. C'est bon!
Mom, Dad & Martha are at the museum viewing the Tapestrie - it is very famous and very old. We are here a few days so I may sneak in a visit - even though I have been here before. I will probably not see it again so I have an excuse to return to Bayeaux. Tomorrow we are going to see the D-Day beaches - we are all looking forward to seeing them & the museums. It is truly sacred ground - every American should be required to come here! You can already sense the difference from Paris - the pace of Normandy is much much slower and the people are friendlier too. Bayeaux is a quaint town - every window has a flower box and the geraniums are in full bloom. We are looking forward to a lovely visit here & I'll keep you posted. I don't have any new photos to download (upload?) yet because I forgot my USB cable at the hotel. The hotel is nice - but Martha and I don't have a shower!
Go Sox! Go Pats!