An early start and, amazingly, the 5:00 am dawn was clear and sparkling. We were a bit disappointed to be leaving with such a beautiful clear sky after 2 days of haze but when the chatty door man said it was heading to 40- something degrees we realized that spring time in Paris was preferable.
The flight went as well as 7 hours in a plane can be expected to go and by 2:30 we were heading to pick up our bags, meaning our boxes of assorted pieces of bicycle which, hopefully, could be reconstituted into working machinery again. The boxes arrived in remarkable condition; barely scratched from their encounters with baggage handlers on 3 continents and off we wandered to find a suitable place to rebuild our transport for the next 4 weeks.
Helpful airport staff set us on the right path and turned a kind blind eye to the heap of cardboard we were about to leave beside the airport waste receptacles. Bit-by-bit the familiar shapes of our trusty Bianchis re-emerged from their separate components and within the hour we had 2 working bikes and one pair of really dirty hands. Off on the shuttle train to Terminal 2 of Charles De Gaulle airport we sped and (after checking where to get new boxes for our return flight next month- we figured our old ones wouldn’t still be beside the bins at the arrivals terminal by then) on to a train to Gare De Nord.
Arriving into late afternoon daylight (and running later than we had anticipated) at the station we were helped by a fellow cyclist who decided that rather than try to describe how to get to The Bastille he would take us close enough to ensure that we couldn’t get lost when he left us. Happily we didn’t and after a welcome loosening up of our leg muscles and an exhilarating ride along the Canal St. Martin we saw the Bastille monument rising up from the bustling crowds. Rue du Fauburg was the second exit from the round about and we counted building numbers until 55 appeared above a disheveled doorway. There, waiting patiently for her one hour late guests, was Madam Tournier.
Conscientiously using up most of her English vocabulary she introduced us to our home in Paris for the next week, a delightful loft apartment at the top of the most ancient wooden staircase ever to have escaped an OHS inspection. It was perfect. Outside the street bustled with Parisian atmosphere in full bloom. Inside we had a courtyard view, safe parking for our bikes (we hope) and a piece of Paris to call our own- temporarily, we know!
After a wander along the street as darkness drew in and a great meal at one of the myriad of bistros and cafes, we called it a night. We had made it to Paris!
*Note (2) As much as I like Posterous for it’s easy blogging tools I get really frustrated with it’s stubborn insistence to put photos in a different order to the arrangement I had initially wanted. Therefor, I’m afraid you will undoubtedly be confused at times by the tale I’m telling not actually synchronizing with the order of the photos. I can edit the sequence on a regular computer but I’ve not discovered the secret to Doing so on the iPad so, if you will forgive me, we are all stuck with things a bit wrong. Sorry, again!