Monday 17 December
Well, the world has not ended (at least not in this neck of the woods) and I have promised another update today, so here we go...
The trip started on Monday, as you may remember, and we drove to the TGV station in Valence where we were to pick up our hire car and to park René's car for the duration of our trip to Paris. As you may remember, we are limited to 350 km from the house if we want to take his car. Something we are not going to agree to again if we will receive a similar request in a future exchange. It makes travelling unnecessarily complicated.
The weather wasn't too bad, just a bit cool, but no rain yet. Other complications, that I won't go into here, made it necessary to make the trip in one day and we had roughly five hours to make it to Bussy-Saint-George before dark, so we took the toll road from Valence to Paris. This first part is the A7 from Marseille to Lyon, the next one is the A6 from Lyon to Paris and together they are called: l'Autoroute du Soleil (Motorway of the Sun) although the sun was hard to find on this occasion... ;-)
|on l'Autoroute du Soleil...|
|a pretty church in the distance|
|Lyon, driving along the Rhône|
|close to Paris the clouds the rain starts...|
|... and the clouds close in|
|the hotel lounge decorated for Christmas|
|Gerrie, moi, and Wim in the hotel lounge|
Next morning after a not too early breakfast we decided to go to Paris first as the weather forecast was for NO rain on Wednesday and we certainly wanted to keep it dry on the day we were going to be at Euro Disney.
|Frank making his choice at the breakfast counter|
|Arc de Triomphe|
|and we talk, talk, talk...|
|Gerrie and Frans|
|The stalls of a Christmas market in the distance|
|A line of school children highly visible to their teachers!|
|Such beauty in simple metal works|
|Walking along the Seine|
|L'Hôtel national des Invalides|
|Le pont Alexandre III|
|Frank and Gerrie taking pictures of Les Invalides...|
|...and Wim taking pictures of the river|
|walking across the bridge|
|One of the larger stalls at the Christmas market|
|A train ride for the children|
The big stores were impressive, from the toilets, to the Christmas decorations, to the roof and the windows with special moving scenes for young and old alike. The toilets were something special, if only for the price: €1.50!!! Have I complained before about the French toilets? Well, forget about my complaints, this was something special. For the €1.50 I got a private cabin(!), the door was opened for me and.... I got a heated seat. How's that for a visit to a toilet in France? I nearly expected somebody to.... no, no, let's not go into further details... :-)
|Moving scenes in the shop windows|
|The Christmas tree at Lafayette|
|The dome at Lafayette|
I think it was at the above arcade that I discovered a dollshouse shop which I just had to visit. Luckily Wim and Gerrie were very patient. Of course we stopped off for coffee somewhere at one of the cafés that we passed and we had dinner at the Halles, which is a huge underground shopping centre near the railway station where we got on the train back to the hotel at Bussy-Saint-Georges. Again we spent a pleasant evening drinking and chatting till it was time to go to bed.
Talking about bed.... It's time for me as well, so further updates tomorrow.