Je suis bien content de vous voir. I’m so glad to see you.
The last time I was in Paris was in 2010, six years ago. It was Carl’s first trip to France, and 42 years since I studied with Marcel Dupré when I was a teenager. I can’t believe how things have changed—especially the many moving pedestrian walkways at the airport and the efficiency of baggage pickup. Even the shuttle I had booked was so cutting edge: I got a text message as soon as arrived, telling me where to go after I picked up my luggage. I was instructed to press “submit” when I was standing by Door 34, and in less than 5 minutes, the driver appeared with my name in large letters on his iPad!
Since my GoAhead tour does not begin until Friday night, I found a hotel exactly across the street from the tour’s designated hotel, because it was 80 euros cheaper for the extra night. It reminded me so much of that time 48 years ago when I stayed out too late and was locked out! You see, 48 years ago I stayed in the French equivalent of a YWCA, a hostel for women which had private rooms. There was a sign that the front door would be locked at midnight, but I mostly paid no attention to it. You got it, one night I was partying with friends and completely lost track of the time. I took the Métro back to the hostel only to find the door locked! After about 15 minutes I was able to flag down a taxi, whom I asked to take me to any open hotel. He took me to a tiny hotel, which only had a single walk up stairway to the reception, no lobby. I checked in with no luggage, no pajamas, no toothbrush, nothing! The room was tiny with a bathroom down the hall! I remember it costing the equivalent of about $20.
Last night’s hotel was not quite as Spartan, but it did have the reception on the first floor up, which meant carrying the luggage up one flight. The elevator was just big enough to squeeze in my luggage and myself and no more! The room I was assigned was small with a tiny but updated bathroom en suite, free internet, a TV, hair dryer, and minibar. What else do I need?
At 4:30 am I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed a text from my son and daughter-in-law: Are you okay? I quickly checked the news and learned about the terrorist attack in Nice. My daughter-in-law especially was worried for my safety. I assured them that everything was quiet in Paris. It is indeed sad that these types of violent events occur with more frequency and are becoming commonplace.
With great difficulty because my luggage is getting heavier and fuller, I checked out of the budget hotel and crossed the street, dropping my coat halfway across, which caught underneath the wheels of my suitcase. A woman pedestrian kindly picked it up for me and I continued to cross.
What a difference! The tour’s hotel is definitely in the four star class as you can see as I walked into my room and was greeted with this on the TV.
I learned that there are a number of organ recitals in Paris this weekend, so I look forward to soaking up as much music as I can. Hope I don’t get lost! ☺️
P.S. Today would have been our 39th wedding anniversary.