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May '14

Trip Report: Il Etait Une Fois L’Orient Express, Part Three – Paris

Landed in one piece, pretty much on time. Welcome to Gay Paree. Okay, that’s a bad pun.

Logistics: Landed at Terminal Two which is really about three terminals connected by underground trams…it’s like half a mile to even get to immigration and customs which in the Speed Lane (business Class ticket) is not an issue.

Luckily there is an RER (French Train System) station at Terminal Two (and Terminal 1/3 as well).

The directions I pulled says it’s an easy EU8.70 ticket to the city…turns out it’s EU9.70 ($13) but I still have than much in Euro Change (thanks Julian, and previous trips by me). Then I just have to put up with pushy people while I feed the machine like the slots in Vegas.

A dozen stops on the B-Line to get to the Gare de Nor (North Train Station), walk across the platform to the D-line, go two stops to the Gare de Lyon (Lyon Train Station) and I’m a block from my hotel….at a little after 11AM in the morning. Hello Gare de Lyon…and oddly enough, a food-truck fare in front of it:

That takes care lunch… The Big Apple Hamburger Truck…I wanted the “French” which was goat cheese and caramelized onions (as my bad French told me) but they were out – I had to settle for the “Memphis” which was bacon, cheddar, and BBQ sauce. Not bad, better yet, not over cooked. Luckily I just got the sandwich as the “frites” looked more French than American.

After a walk around the neighborhood just to get the feel I checked in (actually, the burger was after I checked in) I popped into the lobby of the Hotel Terminus Lyon to see if my EU50 single room was ready, fully expecting to just store my luggage (and go get that burger).

To my surprise, the bloody thing was ready and waiting for me at 11:30 in the morning. The view from my 10 square meter room (35 square feet approximately):

And my single bed, and desk…

And the shower in the loo…

Mind you, there are some downsides…the “odd” toilet paper dispenser and its product:

Now how many pieces does that take you to “wipe”? But there is a real cocktail glass on the nightstand.

Went back across the street, got the burger, ate it, and crashed HARD. 6 hours’ worth of hard. I guess I should have slept on the plane.

Got up around 8pm, went searching for food and was amazed that the food trucks were still there – what the hell… Phad Thai (not the best). I just didn’t feel like sitting down solo in one of the many cafes that lined the streets. It felt more natural (for me) to get take out and get some work done. Still a little more planning for tomorrow Exhibition.

Around midnight (after the last post), popped an Ambien and crashed until 7 (even though the wakeup call was for 8). A little more work and then it is was off to the reason for this trip…The Orient Express.

It was a twenty minute walk to the Arab Institute where the Orient Express Exhibition was staged, and the massive Botanical Garden (and Zoo) was on the way, though I didn’t explore much:

It felt like it would have been a day to explore on its own – luckily I found a nice bacon wrap in the rare convenience store as apparently Paris isn’t up before 10.

But I digress… pictures from the Exhibition at the Arab Institute (after one picture of the Institute itself since the building style mixes East and West):

I think it’s Stainless Steel, but again, back to the reason for this trip….

This was from the film, though it never was on the tracks. Yes, that would be steam.

Three cars and a diner are on display – though the diner is only available for EU120 ($165) for the light dinner and EU160 ($220) for the heavy dinner. That’s a little RICH for my budget.

Here are some of the interior shots from the cars – which I’d love to have been on, except for the constant smoking…


If you are a fan of Lalique, here is some of his work on the train:

If you want to see more of my Lalique travels, check out this church on the Isle of Jersey (http://www.glasschurch.org/Glass_church_jersey_glass_church.htm). If you want to see the church from the Piglette & BoBo perspective (another project of mine), check out the PDF of that issue here: http://unclemarkie.com/PDFs/Piglette%20In%20UK.pdf. We (they boys – Piglette and BoBo) had a lot of fun on that trip. But back to Paris!

I did the exhibit hall as well, but everything around the Exhibition was only in French, including the ticket site (thanks Niece Emily for getting my ticket) so that went quick since I couldn’t read the info cards.

Nothing left to do except explore Paris on a spring day…look, it’s Notre Dame just a bit of a walk…

Of course to get there I have to cross that bridge to the left…on of the “locks of love” bridges:

And if you need the detail….

Cropped that might make a nice screen saver or background.

Alas – I didn’t make it into the cathedral… the lines, the lines. For the “tour”:

For just the cathedral:

Mind you from this angle it looks small, but its 45-minutes of zig-zag to get in. However, I’m amused by what I’m assuming s the parson’ house off to the right. I wouldn’t mind living there…

I took the lazy way back to the hotel to pick up my bag (having checked it with the desk before my ramble)…

Started at Gare De Lyon (lower right, 97 in a square), the to the Institute Du Monde Arabe (across the Seine, up river), then further upriver to Notre Dame (256 in square), then to the Bastille Monument (18 in the square), past the Opera Bastille, (also 18) then back to the Hotel Terminus Lyon to pick up my bag and head to the airport hotel.

Time to retrace my steps to the airport, I love the fact that in both directions you just step across the platform at the Gare De Nord to make your connection. What I didn’t realize is that there is actually an EXPRESS train to the airport – it cuts out 12 stops, putting me at the hotel before I expected. One of the reasons I chose this hotel even though it’s twice the cost of the Hotel Terminus Lyon which was EU50 ($68), actually at $145 its more than twice.

Yes, it’s twice the size, from the bed to the shower:

Oddly enough I liked my tiny room a little better – maybe it’s because it had a real drinking glass rather than a fake drinking plastic…which brings us to ice.

Those of you who follow my ice blogs and the weird receptacles that I’ve gotten my requests for ice filled, we have two more entries. Ice run number one, no we don’t have an ice bucket:

Yep, two Imperial Pink glasses filled with cubes. Luckily there is a fridge.

Round number two when the bartender sent me to the restaurant saying his stash was too small… I’m guessing a food prep tray:

That should hold me for the evening.

The up-side to this hotel is that there is food by telephone, though not when I wanted it at 2PM. At 2PM I had to walk to the station (it’s attached to the hotel) and pick up a sandwich at Broiche Doree (they are in every train station). The nice thing about France is that even the convenience store this morning with the bacon salad wrap to the train station sandwich shop – the stuff is three times as good as convenience store food in the US. At the station I got their “Paris Mexico” – if they’d had a sense of humor it would have been a “Paris Texas” as it was basically a shredded chicken sandwich with the addition of avocado.

As for my dinner tonight, being in a “food desert”, here is what room service offered up:

Baby Octopus with Chorizo, side salad and bread. Why can’t US hotels deliver interesting food?

My last two photos are rather random… the view from the Novatel CDG:

Yes, that is the airport in the background…and one of my “tools of the trade” that I picked up in Macau… the “octopus” international power adapter with every USB plug known to mankind:

A great way to make friends on the road when you can charge their devices…and it goes into just one USB that plugs into the international adapter.

Bedtime for Bonzo – got a flight in the morning.

Oh, did I mention the fire alarm going off a midnight?

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