On the Move to Paris and then Le Thoronet

29 Mar

It always makes me anxious when the check-in attendant goes into deep concentration navigating the multitudes of screens on the terminal and stops talking to you completely. And it was for good reason. Her first utterance was ‘the flight has been cancelled’. Oh shit!! After a couple of phone calls, her colleague then pitched to say it was not cancelled but due to air traffic issues it had been re-routed from SFO to Oakland. Inconvenient but we still should be able to get across the SF bay and catch our flight to Paris in the afternoon.

Short story… we made it. Glad to be able to still make our flight but not at all impressed with how it was handled by Alaskan Airlines. The politest thing I could say is that their organizational competence has room for improvement.

Before too long we were onboard the Air France 747 bound for Paris. Seating was OK, service was fine but I was very surprised to find that there were no screens in the seats for a ten hour flight. I wasn’t the only one either – I saw other people pulling at joins in the seat backs trying to liberate a screen. All they had were a scattering of small LCD screens from the ceiling. Hmmm.

Once we had been reunited with our bags at CDG Paris we set off for the train platform which was a bit of a hike. When we got there we couldn’t work out what was going on until we asked an attendant who said there was no train scheduled for this platform today. That meant retracing our steps and transferring to another terminal to get the train from there. I think we landed at 11am or so, left CDG at noon and arrived at our little hotel at about 2pm after changing to the Metro at Gare du Nord (I hate Metro stations with no escalators! – those bags ended up feeling like 50kg each).

On the way to the hotel we also tried, but failed, to collect our pre-paid tickets for the TGV tomorrow at 06h49. After showering and changing we decided to walk to the Gare de Lyon to get the tickets sorted and do some reconnaissance because getting it wrong in the morning would be stressful. With tickets in hand we wandered towards the Bastille Monument and also found some lunch which doubled as dinner because it was now about 5pm.

Gare de Lyon

Bastille Monument

The accommodation was comfortable and the manager booked a taxi to take us to the station in the morning so we had to be outside the doors at 5.45am.

We awoke feeling pretty good and made the station with heaps of time to spare. The train was comfortable and the trip started in darkness. But we were a little confused when the scenery started looking Provençale after about 2 hours. The trip was meant to be 4h38m so what was going to take the rest of the time? What happens is that it downgrades from a TGV to a T! There were a couple of short stops but the line is through built up areas and along the coast from Marseille so it trundles along quite slowly. It still got into St Raphael a little ahead of schedule and then we had an hour to wait for our connection to Les Arcs Draguignan.

We were met at Les Arcs by Dave and Carolyn who were the current house sitters at Les Fadons.
They were only departing for their next assignment on Sunday morning (it was now Thursday afternoon) so we had a delightful couple of days with them. But more on that in the next installment…

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One Response to “On the Move to Paris and then Le Thoronet”

  1. Peter West April 10, 2012 at 03:53 #

    Brian, nice and entertaining commentary. Keep us informed with you experiences. Sadly I am alergic to facebook!

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