Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Who Knew?

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal: Thursday, July 16, 2009

Who knew I would be returning to France so soon? When the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance! Megan (Darcy's best friend) and I have just arrived in Paris after a 10 1/2 hour flight. We were more than ready to get off of that plane! The seats had seemed particularly uncomfortable, and even though it was an overnight flight, neither of us could sleep.

As the plane began to make its final approach, we were treated to a view of the Eiffel Tower. What a lovely beginning to our French vacation! 

It did not take long for us to retrieve our luggage. We easily found the shuttle I had reserved for our ride to the train station. The trip there took about an hour, due to road construction. We hurried to a kiosk to purchase our train tickets, and managed to jump onto the train with two seconds to spare! It was a beautifully warm and sunny day; perfect for travel.

Darcy and Mathieu met us at the train station in Orléans, and it was wonderful to see them both. For the sake of convenience, we had decided to stay at the Ibis Hotel across from the Gare de Orléans. It was a pretty good deal, since I had made non-refundable reservations in advance for a super-low rate. The hotel was quite satisfactory. The rooms were a bit small, but the furnishings were clean and new, and the bathrooms were spacious.

Megan, Darcy, and Mathieu
 at the train station in Orléans, France

Orléans seemed familiar to me; it felt wonderful to be back! The four of us set out immediately for a Chinese restaurant, where we sat outside and enjoyed a very tasty meal while we exchanged news. From there, we walked to Mathieu's apartment to pick up the coffeemaker we were borrowing and to get his car so that we could drive over to the University of Orléans. Darcy needed to return some kitchen items that had been loaned to her, and Mathieu had business there, also. After their business was concluded, we met some friends of theirs for drinks. Marie-Helene is the director of the Sister Cities program, her husband, Jean, is a chiropractor. We all had an enjoyable and interesting visit.

A double-decker carousel at Place Jeanne D'Arc.

For dinner that evening, we were to meet another friend, Arno. Darcy, Megan, and I decided to take the tram back to the hotel to deliver the coffeemaker while Mathieu went to collect Arno and meet us at the restaurant. Our warm, sunny day had given way to cloudy skies, and as we returned to the center of town, a downpour began. We made a mad dash for the restaurant, and discovered how difficult it is to run on wet cobblestones! We arrived soaked to the skin, giggling and shivering. Mathieu and Arno had fared no better. We dried out over a leisurely dinner of fabulous French pizza. It was so much fun to sit with these vibrant young people and laugh the night away.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at The Lodge for a nightcap. I was dreading a noisy bar, but this was actually a quiet place where we could indulge in conversation along with our drinks. By the time we made it back to the hotel, I was exhausted and ready for sleep.

It's good to be back!

Travel Tip: There is no need to obtain Euros in advance of your trip. Simply locate an ATM at the airport, where you will get the best exchange rate, and you're all set!

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