Monthly Archives: September 2013

Loving the Trains in Paris

RER at Gare St-LazareRER at Gare St-Lazare 1Looking LostDouble decker RERon a RERAnna on a RER

I can’t help but to share more about my observations and feelings on the RER or metro. I caught the metro every day while in Paris. It was the most important form of transport for us. Every morning before going out, I would pull out the metro map and discussed with hub on which line we should take and changed. There were just so many choices that we could make. Sometimes, we bickered insisting that ours were the shortest way. Sometimes, we blamed ourselves when we realized that we had taken the wrong route. After two days of trial and errors, we decided to ask the information counter before we confirmed our routes.

Metro tickets are at €1.70 per trip. If taken together with RER, it will be wiser to buy from the information counter as the staff will combine the ticket price. As compared to Singapore, the price of the ticket does not account for distance. One ticket allows me to travel to any station at any distance. So even if I plan a longer route, I will only waste my precious time.

The interior of each station is unique to make me slow down my every walk and to see more.  There were different interior designs for each station. It’s like an art gallery! Some days, I would see workers in coveralls holding rolls and rolls of posters, changing the big posters in stations with scraper and pail. At times, there would be street musicians playing in the underground. This sight is quite common in Singapore but to see a group of eight musicians playing and promoting their music with different kinds of big instruments is somehow rare.  🙂 Stations hardly have escalators too. Every day, we had to walk many flights of stairs to reach and out of the metro. A lot of training on our calves. 🙂 Vending machines for snacks and drinks can be found before boarding the metro so which means food is allowed but the metro remains clean.

The metro is not as long as Singapore’s MRT and they have cabins that do not allow passengers to pass through. The doors are not automated for older metro. Passengers have to push a button or lever to open the doors in order to alight or board. An ingenious idea is the lever chairs near the doors (like our olden days’ cinema chairs). When the metro is not crowded, passengers tend to push down the chairs to rest. There is a rule on the metro that these chairs should not be seated if the metro is crowded.

As the metro passed by many stations, graffiti can be seen almost on every walls in the tunnels, all beautifully drawn. At times, sudden blast of music could be heard in the metro, someone personified as Michael Jackson dancing to his hits or just an old man playing on his button accordion. At the end of their performances, they would go around to collect gratuities.

RER is somehow not as exciting as metro in Paris but a good time to enjoy the scenery. Maybe it travels a longer distance and further out of Paris. Pictures above were all taken in a RER on my way to Disneyland Paris. We took the wrong route and got stranded in Gare St-Lazare, one of the main stations. In the end, we had to seek help from the Metro information counter to direct us the shortest way to reach our destination. It was my first time on a double-decker train. Train was pretty empty and clean. 🙂 Since a long journey, we camwhored!

We are on the RER

Train system in Paris is so complicated and definitely needs time for further investigation. Put aside the inter-twining routes and fifteen color-coded lines, I think I am in love with the train systems in Paris with so much to see and feel.

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Filed under My thoughts, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized

Hi Paris

Arriving at Paris CDG airport on a Friday morning. It was my first time travelling alone and setting foot on a country that I had never been. No cars and with no intention to take a taxi to my hotel, I scampered together with other travelers to the long waiting queue of the lifts. Holding tight to the luggage and making my way to the train station, my heart palpitated as I wondered if I would lose my way in Paris.

There were three types of trains that I would need to take. The CDGVAL shuttle train to RER station, the RER then a Metro from CDG airport to Montmartre where my stay would be.

journey

CDGVAL is easily identified as major signboards are located along the way. Not knowing where to head to, I just followed the crowd. RER is one of the train services, from lines from A to E, travelling further out or into Paris. I took the RER B line to reach Gare du Nord (aka Paris Nord) to switch to a Metro. Comfort of escalators were gone once I reached Gare du Nord station. I had to lug my luggage up and down numerous flights of stairs starting from there to the place I stayed. A Metro, with 15 lines (complicated but coded with different colours) connected all over Paris, was the next transportation I took. I boarded Line 2 (blue) train, from La Chapelle to Pigalle. Walk from Gare du Nord was a short 10 minutes with an underground connecting. Maybe it was in the morning, I kinda of eased a little when I saw many people in the underground.

Journey to Pigalle was quite fast. Stops from station to station was pretty short but crowded. Only saddened by the rain when I reached my location, thinking how on earth was I able to carry a 17kg luggage up the flight of stairs and holding an umbrella. Stranded, I waited together with others at the end of the stairs but decided to just cover myself with my scarf as I did not feel really safe alone. On my way up, some offered help but I declined, for fear that they might be pickpockets (being warned by many about pickpockets in Paris).

I will be sharing my Paris in snippets of locations instead of days as there are quite a number of pictures. 🙂 So I will start off with food on my first day since I did not visit much places while waiting for my hubby to arrive in Paris in late afternoon. Of course, the jet lag played a part and knocked out in hotel.

BreakfastRaspberry tart

Had a little snack at a café opposite the Metro after placing luggage in the hotel. An awesome raspberry tart with fruits melting in my mouth. A hot chocolate to soothe my cold body after being in the rain.

Price: about €5.00 for a set

Location: La Brioche Dorée, 16 boulevard Clichy, 75018 Paris

Tel: 01 46 06 18 16

Dinner1Dinner2Dinner3My Dinner

Shopped a little at Avenue des Champs Elysees and popped by La Maison del’ Aubrac recommended by a Sales Assistant from Montblanc. Upon hearing that we were from Singapore, his eyes sparkled. He started to reminisce the days he did his internship in Singapore and how he enjoyed his stay. 🙂

Food was fantastic at Aubrac especially love the succulent Veal Skewer and Zucchini. Hub had the Roast Chicken with Herb and Fig while his colleague had the Sirloin Steak and potatoes. All receiving good comments. Bistro alike ambience where soft music is played and lightings. A good place to eat and chat comfortably. Perks, there is wifi connection in the restaurant. 🙂

Price: about €30 per person (including a glass of wine)

Location: La Maison del’ Aubrac, 37, rue Marbeuf, 75008, Paris

Tel: 0033 (0)1 43 59 05 14

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