Sunday, October 18, 2015

BUS STORY # 467 (Part Two: The Arrival)

Downloaded from Bianoti

Previous posts in this series: Part One (Paris 2015)

The photo at the top of the page is a good view of what our train from the airport -- the RER -- looked like. To see what it looked like the morning we boarded the RER B, see the photo below:

Downloaded from îledeFrance. When the doors open, people move quickly to get a seat! 

It was relatively easy to figure out how we were going to get from Charles de Gaulle airport to our hotel: take the RER B train to the stop for Saint-Michel--Notre-Dame, switch to the Metro line 10, get off at the stop for Cardinal Lemoine, and walk 200 yards.

I will spare you the details of exactly how I figured out which train to take and where to transfer to the Metro and which direction to take and when to get off at the right stop. I will tell you it took a lot of time, but it gave me a very reassuring sense of knowing what to look for and when.

As it turned out, the ride from the airport to the stop by our hotel could not have gone any smoother.

Right after having our passports stamped, I saw a tourist information booth. I had a small cache of French phrases for finding out where we could buy tickets, catch the train, and so forth. (This amused Mrs. B to no end. “What are you going to do if they answer you?” Her point being they would assume I spoke French and therefore answer me in French, and then what would I do?) As it turned out, the young man at the information booth spoke very good English, was happy to be of service, and was able to sell us the train ticket plus two “carnets” -- ten-packs of discounted tickets good for any bus, tram, or metro line in the city. (The cost converted to around $1.33 per ticket.)

We walked to the train station where a young woman asked us in English where we were going, then pointed to one of the waiting trains. We left the station five minutes later.

I had the number of stops to our metro transfer written down, with the names of the station and the one preceding it. As it turned out, the train had an electronic map of the line and all its stations over the three doors of the car. When we began, each stop was lit up from the airport to the end of the line. Our stop was about midway, and we simply watched the lights go out for each station upon arrival. No counting in my head, no struggling to see the name of the stop outside somewhere, no trying to make sense of a garbled announcement. Brilliant!

A regrettably fuzzy detail of the electronic tracking system of the progress of our train from the airport into Paris.  Photo by Busboy.  Below is a much better detail from the blog Travelling With Nikki:

From the blog Travelling With Nikki.  The next stop is Châtalet-Les Halles.

The transfer from the train to the Metro went smoothly. (I should point out that the price for our train ticket included the transfer.) We simply followed the signs to the Metro line and the direction it was going. We caught our line about four minutes later, and got off at the second stop. Our biggest challenge was figuring out which direction to take from our stop to the hotel. It had taken us just over ninety minutes from landing to the hotel’s front door.


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