Reunion before Reunion

Paris Travel Blog

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Good friends in Paris...

The nine hour flight to Paris was fairly routine.  We arrived a few minutes late, but clearing customs was the easiest ever (waited in line less than a minute and the attendant simply stamped my passport with no questions), getting me out to baggage claim right on schedule.

Jeff’s flight got into Terminal 1 the same time and I was pleased to see his baggage chute right beside mine.  Another pre-trip dilemma resulted in me going abroad with no phone capability, so hooking up with Jeff at Charles De Gaulle Airport was a concern.  But now we’re in the (travel) zone and found one another quite quickly.

I didn't get inside the Louvre, but I got close!
  Off to the tram for Terminal 2.

Tomorrow morning’s flight departs from Terminal 2, so we booked a room in the Sheraton Hotel there.  It made sense to stop at the Sheraton first and stow excess baggage before checking in that evening.  Our good vibe continued when Rudolph texted Jeff to suggest getting together in the Sheraton lobby.  Jeff responded from the lobby indicating what
a swell suggestion that was!

In no time at all, Rudolph and Jacomien appeared for a joyous reunion before Reunion.  It was so much fun to get back together with good friends and after introducing Jeff, we all agreed to get exploring.  A true windfall having Rudolph & Jacomien for our guides, with Rudolph prompting us to score a pair of all-day train passes to scoot about Paris on a rainy Sunday.

Rudolph keeps Jeff dry and offers photography tips...what a tour guide!

After obtaining the passes we rode the train for about half an hour into downtown and exited at the Louvre.  From here we visited our friends’ room at the Hotel du Louvre, excellently positioned just across the street from the massive museum.  In fact, Rudolph opened up the door to their porch so we could really savor the view.

Not submitting to rainy weather, our foursome bravely struck out on foot, cutting across the Louvre - I really had no idea how gargantuan the museum was.  Though a bit muddy, we pressed on and continued our amble down Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.  My itineraries rarely include major cities, so I was thrilled getting to visit these landmarks I probably never would have witnessed otherwise.

A favorite memory from this junket was Rudolph sheltering himself and Jeff from the rain at the Arc de Triomphe while offering composition tips for Jeff’s photography at the same time.

Details of the Arc de Triomphe
  Talk about a full service tour guide!  As for myself, Rudolph (rightfully) chided me for walking across the field of vision of a gaggle of photographers at the Arc – your typical ugly American.  I was careful not to duplicate this faux pax, but later it came in handy while Rudolph was trying to get me in a picture.  “I see you are avoiding my camera,” Rudolph remarked, setting up the retort that I had recently been scolded for being in front of the lens.

After the Arc we sat down for lunch.  I had to laugh at the selections, because I was the only person in our party who didn’t order French fries, lol.  My amusement turned to regret, however, when Rudolph asked the waiter to bring out some mayo.

Jeff at the Arc de Triomphe
  This resurrected fond memories of tasty frites with mayonnaise Kim & I had relished during our visit to  the Netherlands.  I should have joined the crowd!

Paying the bill would be a portent of our time on the island.  When I asked for the tab the waiter said he would return, which confused me.  Here in the US they usually just take your card and scan it, then bring your card back along with a slip to sign.  I was unaware that European (and perhaps elsewhere as well?) credit cards have a chip embedded in them requiring a PIN to be entered to validate the transaction.  Of course this requires the user to have access to the scanning device and effectively replaces the need to sign a receipt.

Next up (and up and up) was the Eiffel Tower.

Memorial flame at the Arc de Triomphe
  We commuted towards the tower on the metro, though if you had ample time and a sunny day, heading there on foot is easily doable.  Time constraints would also prevent us from getting to the top, with long lines telegraphing an excessive wait time.  Regardless, getting to walk around the base of the artistic icon was cool enough for me, and the rain had even stopped.

We had a final destination on the grand tour, and thanks to our tour guide’s forethought there would be no fretting over wait times.  Rudolph had scored advance reservation tickets for Musee d’Orsay!  Here we would abandon Jeff, who bounded off along the Seine to take in Notre Dame.  The balance of our crew would practically waltz inside with hardly any pause and attempt to absorb as much beauty as possible in the few hours available.

The Eiffel was not quite an eyeful in the cloudy weather!
  Clearly not enough to truly
appreciate the wonders here, but I can assure you a little is way better than none.

While Musee d’Orsay is chock full of amazing paintings and sculptures, the structure housing this beauty is a treasure itself.  An enormous former train station, I loved the huge dial clock hanging inside and the nuances of its construction would often catch my attention.  No photography is permitted so you will have to take my word, but Musee d’Orsay is a marvel not to be missed.

Rejoined with Jeff outside the museum at 5:30PM, the gang headed back to the Hotel Louvre.  Here we enlisted Rudolph and Jacomien to help us advise La Gite du Volcan, where we had reserved a room Monday night, that we would arrive quite late due to the flight delay.

The much shorter (and rapidly moving) advance ticket line at Musee d'Orsay
  Creole is spoken on Reunion, and our friends couldn’t quite communicate the essentials (a guy I met locally, who grew up in France and has been to Reunion claims he “can’t understand a damn thing they say”), so Rudolph got in touch with a buddy who has been living in Paris for the last sixteen years to give it a try.  Thanks to the gracious efforts of friends, the result was that we were
to call the gite after touching down tomorrow evening.

We were uncertain what the dilemma was because they had originally expressed to Rudolph that we had to arrive before 7PM, but we suspected they were not aware we had rental wheels and that’s when the last bus drops off in the vicinity.  Tomorrow should be an interesting day.

Concluded the painful phone session with goodbyes to Jacomien, then Rudolph accompanied us back to the train station.

Musee d'Orsay
  He even rode along to ensure we made our final connection back to the Sheraton.  Thanks so much, Rudolph, for a fond reunion and a brilliant introduction to the city you love!


Jeff and I were quite groggy during the final half hour leg back to the hotel, but the Sheraton proved quite comfy.  A brilliant beginning to the grand adventure.

emmllerg says:
Enjoy the places Paris has to offer you
Posted on: Jun 02, 2013
Vikram says:
BTW, LOL @ the title of this blog entry - "Reunion before Reunion". hahaha!
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011
Vikram says:
Orsay is beautiful, but my favourite in that area is that L'Orangerie. One of the most serene places I've seen in my life.
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011
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Good friends in Paris...
Good friends in Paris...
I didnt get inside the Louvre, bu…
I didn't get inside the Louvre, b…
Rudolph keeps Jeff dry and offers …
Rudolph keeps Jeff dry and offers…
Details of the Arc de Triomphe
Details of the Arc de Triomphe
Jeff at the Arc de Triomphe
Jeff at the Arc de Triomphe
Memorial flame at the Arc de Triom…
Memorial flame at the Arc de Trio…
The Eiffel was not quite an eyeful…
The Eiffel was not quite an eyefu…
The much shorter (and rapidly movi…
The much shorter (and rapidly mov…
Musee dOrsay
Musee d'Orsay
Cutting through the Louvre
Cutting through the Louvre
photo by: lasersurge