Paris Journal 2011 – Barbara Joy Cooley Home: barbarajoycooley.com
Air France flight 695 direct from Miami is the way to go. We rented a Hertz Honda at the BP station on Sanibel and had a lovely drive across the Everglades. We arrived probably an hour and a half earlier than we needed to, but this was a first for us. We’d taken the similar Air France flight in the other direction, from Paris to Miami, in 2009, so that is when we began to scope out this option.
One flight over, and one flight back. Half as much opportunity for mishaps and discomforts. No more connecting flights on our summer sojourn. And seeing the Everglades at least twice a year is not a bad idea at all. It is a unique place – nothing quite like it exists anywhere else on Earth.
But when we arrived in Paris, we found chaos -- first in the form of all the ticket machines for the RER train in the Charles de Gaulle station being shut down for maintenance, resulting in unbelievable long waiting lines for the staffed ticket windows and the one lone machine that was somehow operational.
No way were we going to wait for that. So we climbed up a few levels and found the official taxi stand for that part of the airport.
The charming young driver complimented me on my French after I greeted him and told him our destination. Off we went. More chaos.
The highway that rings Paris had three accidents spread about equi-distantly, resulting in traffic jams all around the city. Our driver contacted his boss to tell him of the situation, and to inform him that he was going to deviate from the standard route.
So we saw a bit of Aubervilliers (a shabby suburb not far from the Stade de France). That was interesting. Then we were back on the Peripherique (ring highway) until we reached the next traffic jam resulting from an accident.
Then our driver deftly exited the highway and went into the 16th arrondissement, which is lovely, going along by the Bois de Boulogne and then the Jardins de Ranelagh.
Down, down we went through the network of 16th arrondissement streets (some with mini traffic jams) until we reached the level of the Seine, which we crossed on the Pont de Grenelle, traversing one of our favorite walking places, the Allée des Cygnes. Voila! The Eiffel Tower!
Then we were in our neighborhood, very familiar turf on the rue Linois, then the even more familiar avenue Émile Zola. Home sweet home-away-from-home.
The driver had to let us out on the corner at the rue du Commerce, which was fine. We had a brief conversation about how difficult the traffic is today, and then said our goodbyes. A few steps farther and we were at the door, entering the door code into the keypad without the slightest hesitation. Up to the 5th floor, and we were home for the summer.
My dad wouldn’t want it any other way. He won’t be reading my journal anymore, because he’s in a better place now. But he will be with me in spirit every day when I write.
Monday, July 4, 2011
This year’s Paris Journal is dedicated to Winfield Wayne White, a.k.a.” Whit,” who died on June 25, 2011, at age 87. I’m so very fortunate that he was my dad. He was also a loyal reader of my journal.
Tom is reading this book, all essays by C. W. Gusewelle that appeared in The Kansas City Star.
I don’t have my camera yet. It is stored away in suitcases that are on the other side of the left bank. More photos later.
Note: For addresses & phone numbers of restaurants in this journal, click here.