After getting our hair done, Montchan and I found another taxi and we headed for the train station where we planned to meet Genilimaa before heading to the rental company to get the keys to our apartment. I was amazed at the traffic in Paris! I thought Utah drivers were bad. In Paris you might see there are two lanes marked on the road (if there are markings at all), yet four lanes are crammed up into the two, not including the motorcycles that roar through between the lanes. It’s insane. I think Paris taxi drivers are some pretty amazing drivers to do what they do. I would be so stressed out if I had to drive in traffic like it. Wow!
We got to Gare du Nord train station, and tried to find the Tourism Office Genilimaa told us was across the street, but we had no luck and got tired of my luggage again, so we found a little café there and sat down to wait. We called Gen who arrived shortly thereafter.
We had a yummy apple tart pastry and some tea until she arrived. When she did, she also had tea then we made our way to the apartment. She was a bundle of energy and was fun to finally meet in person! It really is great to put a face and personality with the blog persona. Another taxi ride to the office, then on to our apartment.
Our apartment was located at 29 Rue Rambuteau, a great area very close to shopping and Metro and the Pompidou Center, which we first thought was a parking garage, humorously enough. We entered the code to open the outer door, which opened into a tiled entryway with mailboxes. It was totally dark until we found the light switch, and we went forward and entered the second code to get through another door. Beyond that was a regular sized door requiring no code which led to a curving, old wooden staircase. It was fortunate that Montchan’s luggage hadn’t arrived, because she helped me schlep the luggage up to the second floor where for the next twenty minutes we tried to get our key to work to no avail. We were laughing and frustrated and swearing, and finally we resorted to sweet-talking and caressing the door in an effort to make the lock open the damn door. Genilimaa had been told the key was tricky by the office where we got the key, so she went back out to the street to phone them and find out the trick to opening it.
SML and Genilimaa trying to get the damn door unlocked
We finally got it open after about twenty minutes, and we entered a cute little apartment that looked to be perfect for our stay. It was so exciting! Upon opening the door, we walked through into a hallway that we could see led past a kitchen area into the living room which had quaint French windows that faced across the alley/street into another building with similar windows facing ours. Just to the left of the entrance door was a bedroom with floor-to-ceiling closet mirrors on the opposite wall, and a king sized bed covered in a white down comforter which immediately reminded me of my bed in Austria which had a similar comforter on it when I lived there. There was a somewhat mildewy smell which came from the bathroom beside the bed, which obviously had leaky problems in the wall beside the toilet. But it appeared clean and cozy and we were very happy. The couches in the living room were red futons, and there was a coffee table and lamps and stools by the counter that divided the kitchen from the living room which fit right in.
The ceilings were high and we were all happy we had chosen to rent the apartment, as it was only 37 Euro per night per person, much cheaper than the hotel which cost over 100 Euro per night per person.
Montchan and I went shopping for clothes (since her luggage hadn’t arrived) while Genilimaa stayed behind to buy breakfast groceries at one of the little markets across the street from our building. Tari was due to arrive around dinnertime, so we had some time. It was awesome to walk the streets of Paris and see the sights first hand vs. on television or in pictures. I loved how we had a grocery store, a deli, a bakery, shops, and restaurants all around us near our apartment…it was so convenient and so fun to step out onto the narrow little street lined with bumper-to-bumper little cars, and look up to see the blooming plants and vines from the quaint and charming windows and know that I was in Paris! The smells were so reminiscent of Vienna and the distant sound of police cars which are so different from those in the states, and the many people walking in all directions in stylish hats and scarves and jackets made me so glad I had done this crazy thing.