17 September 2007

Joys and trials of air travel

My sister Joanna arrived Saturday from North Carolina, via Atlanta. All went fairly smoothly. I picked her up at Charles de Gaulle airport, outside Paris, at noon. Just one problem: nowhere to be seen was her friend who was supposed to meet her at the airport in Atlanta and fly to Paris with her. Joanna said she had looked everywhere for Janice but hadn't been able to locate her.

View of rooftops and the towers of Notre Dame
from my room at the Hôtel des Carmes

It turned out that Janice had missed the connection in Atlanta because of bad weather in her area of North Carolina. Her plane was late. She ended up having to spend nearly 24 hours in the Atlanta airport before boarding a Delta flight for Paris the next afternoon. She finally arrived in Paris at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday. But her bags didn't. We are still waiting for those.

Paris was hot and sunny Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday. Joanna and I got checked into our hotel, the Hôtel des Carmes between the Place Maubert and the rue des Ecoles in the Latin Quarter. Then we set out on foot across the center of Paris.

The Rue Montorgeuil wasn't as crowded as
some of the other places we walked through.

I have almost never seen Paris so full of people. There were several major events going on in the city over the weekend: something called the TechnoParade, Les Journées du Patrimoine, and some of the Rugby World Cup hoopla. People were just kind of shuffling along, shoulder to shoulder, past the book stalls along the Seine, on the big square in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, in front of Paris City Hall, up the Rue Beaubourg, and over to Les Halles. It was incredible.

The gilded cupola above Napoleon's tomb at Invalides

We walked up the Rue Montorgueil and then over toward Opéra before getting on the metro. We rode over to the Champs-Elysées and admired the Arc de Triompe in the late afternoon sun. There was some kind of ceremony taking place, with a brass band and some people in a procession carrying flags.

Procession stops traffic at Arc de Triomphe

Afterwards, we walked down to Trocadéro and admired the Tour Eiffel. By the time we had had some dinner at the Café du Champs de Mars and caught the metro back to the Hôtel des Carmes, it was past 10:00 p.m. I was tired out, and I'm sure my jet-lagged sister was too. We had to get up at 5:00 the next morning to drive back out to the airport and try to find Janice.


  1. The weather was dreadful here on Friday morning, so I can understand the flight problem. It's just plain bad luck to have a storm come through on the first leg of an overseas flight. Having to spend the night in Atlanta airport must have been the pits. I hope the luggage comes today...

  2. I enjoy your blog a lot. FYI, the ceremony that you saw at the Arc was the daily re-stoking of the flame held every evening at 6:30. Keep up the good work!

  3. That sounds like my idea of the perfect Paris day except maybe for the crowds


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