Hi, again. I wanted to reprise the time we spent in Paris, a short 4 days, getting accustomed to the time zone and settling in to the French way of life.
We arrived at Charles de Gaulle via Air France, on a quiet Sunday morning and took the RER B to the Gare du Nord, a short 10 stops from the airport. We were most impressed with Air France – it was very efficient and smooth – once airborne, it was as if you were sitting in your own living room.
This trip, we decided to stay near the Gare du Nord as it is a stop on the RER from the airport and also because it is the train station from which we would depart for the north of France. It’s not the usual touristic area, but it has a lot of good restaurants and bars and is proximate, on foot, to a variety of sites such as Place du Republique, the Canal St. Martin covered market, Rue Maubeuge, the Marais and Galeries Lafayettes.
In fact, it is only a 20 minute walk from 2 spinning clubs which I attended, Dynamo and Kiwill, which had Soulcycle-style classes, but in French. The classes were good but with with the music blaring at ear-piercing volume, it was difficult for me to hear and understand the instructor’s instructions, en francais, of course, except for the occasional “let’s go”.
While waiting for one of the classes to begin, I resolved to canvass the various modes of transportation used by Parisians to get around their beautiful city. These include the obvious cars, metro and taxis, but now include bikes (regular and e-bikes- see the bike below) as well as something called a “trottinette electrique”.
These trottinettes electriques are driven on the roads or on specially designated bike paths reserved for bikes, but strictly speaking, they are not permitted on the roads, sidewalks or bike paths. We witnessed one rider wipe-out on the trottoir in front of us as he skidded on some damp leaves and lost control. Nevertheless, they are hugely popular. See https://www.bienpublic.com/actualite/2019/02/27/trottinette-electrique-attention-aux-failles-de-securite.
Paris is one of the best cities in the world and each time we are there, we marvel at its beauty, diversity, food and drink and culture. We ate out as we did not have cooking or refrigeration facilities, and in spite of my WeightWatchers regime, could not resist a lemon tart and a couple of buttery croissants.
Paris is relatively calm these days as it is the time of the traditional summer vacances. Even our favourite Canal St. Martin covered market was closed. Dommage. Most businesses appear to re-open mid-month as people come back to the city to resume their business and school lives. We will be back in Paris at the beginning of September, so we hope to visit our usual haunts then.
Today, in Boulogne-sur-Mer, we visited the lively Saturday market, held between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., in the town square, full of vegetables, fruits, meat, roasted chicken, jams and honey, but more about that tomorrow, so stay tuned.