Place Stanislas - Fontaine de Neptune, Nancy France

Place Stanislas - Fontaine de Neptune, Nancy France

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3 October 2017

Paris Field Report 3 – Day 3

Steps today: 27 761. That’s more like it!

I said yesterday I wanted to get off to an earlier start, I did but it was too early. I was out the door this morning at 7:25 but it was still dark so the walk was not pleasant, it wasn’t until about a quarter to 8 did I start feeling good, I will have to remember that for the rest of the week.

I arrived at Notre Dame just after 8AM, I have no plans to visit it again on this trip – I just waved Hello to it and kept walking.

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My goal was to reach the Café de l’Est to have breakfast and see if the waiter Frank and I had back in 2014 is still there. He fit the Snooty French Waiter stereotype to a tea! We nick-named him Kurt because if his brusque attitude.  Turns out Kurt has a black brother.

I didn’t walk the entire way, I was getting headachy and needed coffee plus walking along busy Sébastopol and Strasbourg Boulevards with the whooshing traffic was making it worse. I gave up about 15 minutes to my goal and bussed it the rest of the way – about 4 stops to the Gare de l’Est and the café is just across the street.

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I wanted a big breakfast in case the day would shape up like yesterday and I only stop for lunch at 4PM!

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After breakfast, I continued on my walk to the Ultimate Destination: The Geode which I dubbed ‘The Parisian Bean’.  The walk there was very nice and I explored a new area of Paris I had never seen before – the La Viellet and Flandres neighbourhoods in the 19th arrondissment.

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The Geode was neat!

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Can you see me? LOL

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After this, I had to make a decision: Do I stick to my plan of vising the Basilique St-Denis next and then the Chateau de Chantilly, or do I reverse the plan? I was worried I was going to run out of time since by then it was already 10:30. I decided I wanted to see the Chateau more, so would do that next and then the Basilica on the way home if I had time.

It was a smart move; I am SO GLAD I did it that way because it took forever to get to the Chateau.  From the Geode, I had to take the metro to the tram that goes to the Basilica but stay on it a few more stops and get off at the St-Denis train station instead where I could take the RER D to Chantilly. St-Denis does NOT feel like the rest of Paris at all, I think I stuck out like a sore thumb – I really didn’t fit in! I also had a hard time understanding the people because the accent is very different, very thick African accents, much heavier than what I am used to hearing in Montreal. When I got to the station I tried buying a ticket to Chantilly from the kiosk but there was nothing available – no Chantilly options. I checked my notes to see if the name of the station was different than what I thought, and cross referenced that with the posted signs for RER D stops; I was spelling it correctly. I gave up on the kiosk and went to the counter to buy a ticket. Here is how the conversation went:

Woman: Bonjour Madame,

Me: Bonjour, un billet pour Chantilly s’il vous plait

Woman: Avec le retour?

Me: Non

Pretty damn simple. She processed the transaction gave me the ticket, I asked her what track, she said #2, I said thanks and went through.

When I got to track 2, I realised something was not right. The trains were heading south and I was going north – I looked at the ticket she sold me and it said PARIS on it. GRRRRR. She obviously misunderstood me; perhaps my Québéquois accent was as hard for her to understand as her African one was to me. In French, Chantilly and Paris rhyme, they both end with the “ee” sound. My mistake was I should have checked the ticket she gave me before rushing off.

Back to the ticket desk I went, but the line up now was much longer. Two young guys were fighting at the front of the line. Yelling, shoving, bullying… I didn’t quite catch the details but it seemed to be something about a line up, cutting in, not waiting, the accent was too strong but the body language was CLEAR. The ticket agents even closed their booths and drew the shades… it was tense! I was uncomfortable but not scared, had it been in the United States he would have whipped out a gun! but as it was, it was just LOUD. Eventually the police showed up and diffused the situation.  I never felt threatened for a second.

Once that was over, and it was my turn at the counter, I explained to the agent that his colleague misunderstood me and sold me a ticket to Paris but it was a ticket to Chantilly I asked for. He asked me when I bought the ticket, I said like 10-15 minutes ago. He said (with an exasperated attitude which I overlooked based on all the drama he just had in his face) that I already punched the ticket so there was nothing he could do.  I didn’t want to press the issue, I asked him to please simply sell me ticket for Chantilly and that’s it.

I got the ticket and set off on my way, but an hour late now because I missed my train in all the chaos.

The Chateau was very nice, I am glad I went. As usual, I whizzed through the inside – I call this style: Gold Mold. I like it, it’s beautiful, but I feel like I’ve seen it all before. Sadly, after the fact I realized I had the camera on the wrong setting for a lot of the pictures. Ah well.

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Once I was done with the inside, I stopped for lunch in the restaurant (it was a little after 2:30, not as bad as yesterday)

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Then I set off to explore the gardens and take more pictures of the Chateau.

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By 4PM, I started heading back to Paris – it was infinitely easier than the ride in! I bought my ticket at 4:56 and the train left at 4:58.

I didn’t feel like I had a very Parisian day today, so I wanted to hang out somewhere touristy when I got back to town and so I went to the Ile Notre Dame to gawk at the Cathedral again.

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Since I had a late lunch I didn’t have the apetite for a full meal and just had a camembert sandwich. Delicious! The weather was so nice out, and I still had about 45 minutes left to spend, so I braved the smokers and sat on a terrace with a drink and a coffee. It was great, only 1 smoker so it really wasn’t bad at all. YEAH!

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I am a little sick of trains now after 2 days of travelling around, so tomorrow my plan is to stay in town.

Here are some more random pictures of my day:

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Good night!

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