“Don’t worry about accommodation in Paris”, my friend promised me. “But, It’s basic” I can do basic, I live in a developing country. “There’s no shower inside.” Oh, you mean a share bathroom? “Not exactly” Is there water? “There’s a sink with hot water.” Oh, I can be creative, no problem. “There’s 11 flights of stairs.” Oh… “Maybe 13” Oh… a garret!, how romantic!
Flying into Paris, was like flying into the pages of a storybook – It’s my first time in Europe, and we descended I could see woodlands, fairy tale houses, and even a circus BigTop (which I was to ride past a few days later). My friend very generously traveled from Luxembourg where he lives, to meet me at the airport, and we headed out for my first French breakfast. We ventured slowly across town, stopping at Montmartre on the way… Then I had my first glimpse at the Eiffel Tower. There was an audible intake of breath. “You’ll be seeing a bit of that” my friend added. We jumped off the bus, and walked towards the Eiffel Tower, stopping outside a very fancy looking apartment building, where my friend proceed to tap in the security code. This is nice… We walked in, and I saw the elevator, and smiled. We then walked past the elevator, and through the servants entrance… Then proceeded to climb 11… or 13 flights of stairs. I had to stop for breath several times. He opened the door to the tiny garret… And then I saw the view! This was not a ‘glimpse’ this was a ‘full frontal’ view of the Eiffel Tower! No other buildings obscuring my vision. Now where’s the champagne, I thought. I had certainly arrived in Paris.
The next couple of days were spent doing a little sight-seeing, buying a bike for my trip, and sorting out a data plan for my phone so I could use Google Maps to guide my way. Unfortunately jet lag had hit me rather badly, and I was wide awake at 4 am, then a zombie for the rest of the day.
Sunday 4 October, I rose early(ish), packed my bike… Which took some time, and some frustration, as I was carrying things for my walk as well… which just didn’t fit on the bike. Several rearrangements and some sailor mouth comments latter, I decide to carry my empty trekking pack on my back, and load everything else onto the bike. I went out for a late breakfast / brunch with my friend, then it was Au Revoir Paris!