Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wednesday 2 January - Coming Home

I have used "Coming Home" in the title but the 17th arrondissement is almost as much home as is Ottawa.  We have become expert "flaneurs" and really enjoy the area.  It can only take five minutes to walk to the Metro but I cannot imagine why anyone would want to do it in such short a time.  There is always something to stop and look at or little scenes to enjoy, a small kid being towed along on his scooter by a parent in a hurry, a couple of dogs waiting anxiously at a food shop for the mistress to come out, somebody selling something different on the street.  This year it was mattresses, furniture and umbrellas, in the past it has been oriental carpets and for several years a man had an incredible display of bras - never realized the women of Paris had such full figures.

One thing is certain is that we will be back because we have already made a reservation for New Year's Eve 2013 at Aux Isles de Marquises.

Mary, Pat and I left the apartment as planned, knowing that the Air Canada flight to Toronto was going to be delayed by 30 minutes.  Better to wait at the airport than in the apartment.  The metro line 2 came as we got to the platform.  Trains were running on a 2 minutes schedule and there was a little delay as we caught up to the train ahead.  We successfully ran the gauntlet of the RER ticket barriers at La Chapelle - only one was out of order this morning.  Knowing that RER line B to the airport goes from platform 43 we went straight there to find an airport train running straight in.  It turned out to be a fast train so we made good time to the airport. In fact we made it to the airport in 45 minutes straight from the apartment passing the now familiar locations - Sacre Coeur, Les Plaines Stade de France, Le Bourget marshalling yard, Aulnay Sous Bois with its tram trains to Bondy and the Exposition Centre.

The airport wasn't that busy and we had an easy walk to the Air Canada check-in.  Being early there were a lot of Air Canada smiling employees to help us.  One young lady insisted on doing all the work with the check in machine (we had checked in yesterday but needed to print boarding passes and Mary's baggage tag - I had just a carry-on).  The service people in Paris, in general, seem to be well trained and very polite.

There was then a long wait for boarding an uneventful flight.  We passed through the immigration formalities quite quickly in Toronto and had an hour or so to wait to board our delayed flight to Ottawa. It had to be de-iced.  The flight to Ottawa was uneventful.  It turned out that several flights arrived in Ottawa at the same time so we had to wait some time for Mary's bag.

OC Transpo was its normal nasty self.  It was well below freezing and there was a warm 97 bus waiting the 13 minutes for departure.  The driver was skulking inside and made us wait some time before we were allowed into the warm.  The trains on RER line B are very old and rattle along alarmingly at times but at least they are clean, run to schedule and provide some decent protection from the weather.  I hate to think what the Ottawa LRT system will be like if it is run by OC Transpo.

This is the last post for this blog.  Entries for 2013 will be made in a new blog

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tuesday 1 January - New Year's Day walk

Bread line rue de Levis

Bread line rue de Levis
 Although nothing else was open two bakers were open and there were long queues at both of them
The sun was shining brightly on Sacre Coeur at Batignolles
We had a long walk along rue Miromesnil largely deserted until we came to the Elysees Palace and the Champs Elysees.  The Champs Elysees was its usual nasty tacky self with lots of silly things for sale to unsuspecting tourists.  The Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries were little better but there was a little more sanity around the Jardins du Palais Royal and the Gallerie Vivienne.
One off style entrance to the Metro at la Comedie Francaise.
We then took the metro back from the Bourse and bought a still warm baguette to help us eat up the spare cheese we have to consume or ditch by first thing tomorrow. Of course Pat broke off the end to eat it on the way in and started raving about it.  It was warm and soft in the inside but crispy on the outside.  We all started eating away and there was scarcely anything left by the time we reached the apartment - a block away.  The Epoisse is fighting to the last. 
We had a galette du roi and Pat won the feve.  Here she is making the almond paste a little moister with the whisky we had to get rid of.