Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More Planning for Travels in France

05/02, Wednesday
Boy, this is hard work...planning for a trip to Paris, France! I know! You don't feel sorry for us in the least!

Paris has so many things to see and with distances to cover in between. We think we'll repeat the Fat Tire Bike Tour, as in Barcelona. That was a great way to get around to see some key places, but this time we'll take several days to follow up on the ones that seem most interesting to us.

J&M have provided us with travel guides including Rick Steves'. And, several suggestions of convenient, yet reasonably priced hotels; and, ideas of how to use the Metro system. The Paris Pass seems like a good price-performer for getting into museums without waiting in long lines.

Mom has contacted all of Cousin Jack's friends in Paris (Romain), Ribeauville (Francois), and Vienna (for later, Lukas). Each of them has offered to put us up which is fantastic! Unfortunately, Romain is in Togo working on a film and his room is occupied already for the time we'll be there, so that won't be possible.

05/03, Thursday
Today, Madeleine is making our train arrangements at the station where she can speak French to her favorite clerk who is knowledge and efficient. We have a general plan of dates and towns to visit which will determine the train routes and cost.

First, lunch at a "truckers stop" (Les Routiers), one of many restaurants in France who specialize in quality food at good prices catering to laborers. And, it was good with plenty of food. Not a typical truck stop as in the US, but they do sponsor a local rugby team which is very popular here.

With our stomachs filled to capacity, we all filed into the train station where Madeleine negotiated our major cities and seven trains over three weeks. Mom and I had settled on six of the seven, but Madeleine suggested one more, Rouen, NW of Paris. The train "clerk" was not the one we expected, but she worked out the best routes and prices. Without Madeleine, though, Mom and I would have been totally overwhelmed and probably we would still be there. As it was, it took 30 minutes to complete.

Monsemprom-Libos, where the station is located, is a nice town. J&M lived there for six months when they first moved to France. Madeleine had a hair appointment in a shop there. Mom and I and John all joined in to have our locks trimmed, too. It's the first time we ever had a double date hair cut, as Mom puts it.

Finished the day eating one of John's delicious homemade pizzas and playing a game of Scrabble. Top score: 478 by Madeleine; one word...[f]riendly...worth 98 points.

05/04, Friday, John's Birthday
Today we need to find places to stay in a few towns and rent a car in Colmar for touring the Alsace region near Ribeauville. Hopefully J&M can rent the apartment for a few days while we're absent...we hope so even though it is a lot of work and expense for them to get it ready for new guests.

We're all packed, clothes washed up, apartment cleaned up, and most details are settled for Paris and Colmar. Madeleine cleared up a couple of details for our arrival in Paris...hotel location, metro stops and map. John will take us to the M-L train station at 8:00 tomorrow morning.

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