Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Grand Hotel Paris Impressionism

Since this is Paris, I thought we'd throw in some impressionism. Le Grand Hotel, open.

Wet Streets, Paris


A major fun thing in Paris, assuming you're not trying to drive a car anywhere, is the natural, organic way the city propagated. It wasn't laid out by traffic engineers to maximize vehicular flow. It grew out from around the Seine into neighborhoods that were defined by churches, markets, housing and alleyways. Streets were fit in and paved with stones and later with concrete to accommodate 20th century demand for internal combustion vehicles. You see some pretty amazing juxtapositions of buildings. The angles, the turns, the spaces created are almost never equal. Even for peds this can be a problem because there's no guarantee walking in this town that you'll be able to arrive at your destination walking a relatively straight line. Dead ends abound where newer buildings have been erected in older neighborhoods. There's an area south of St. Merry's Cathedral a little over from Hotel DeVille where you can stand in the middle of several alleys and look in about eight or nine directions and see pathways into that many alleys. If you want to go exploring, you'll need lots of time because there are almost endless options available. A truly unique moment in time for me.
I like the shot that follows, as it looks up a typical miasma of street twists and turns. This is in the Oberkampf area.

Le Grand Hotel in the rain, Paris

Hotel Gabriel balcony, Paris

Paris RATP Bus 350 CDG to Gare de l'Est

The RER B train to downtown (Gare de Nord) is faster but the 350 bus goes farther south to Gare de l'Est and we were staying within walking distance of that station. I also worked a long time in the bus business and wanted to take their version of the Airport-Downtown Express. We bought a book of tickets at the airport visitor counter with Euros I brought with me and used three tickets each (around 2 Euros a ticket - discounted if you buy by the book) to cover the cost of the five zone ride (a ticket covers up to 2 zones). Our carry on bags fit under some of the back elevated seats which was good because the bus filled to capacity + on the way to town. Here's a couple of pics of the 350 bus interior and a shelter near the airport. As you can see, RATP does a pretty good job of placing vital information in their shelters. There is a VMS inside the bus to display information about upcoming stops and locations.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Paris Metro

On our last cruise we sat with interesting people, two of which were Russian expatriate Americans who were children during WWII. They both were moved out of Moscow during the German siege. His name was Gherman. They had a daughter in Paris they visited now and again. I mentioned the Metro and he just laughed. It is not a patch on Moscow he said and shook his head. When not on strike it works pretty well if you like climbing stairs and going through tunnels to connect and dealing with broken turnstiles, etc. After a few days we kept to the surface buses which were slower but easier to board and alight.