Getting to Paris from Sydney
A quick review of the flights.
Sydney to Johannesburg: 14 hrs. On time. Qantas business. Lounge good. Airport check-in, and security went smoothly. On board 747 excellent lie flat beds upstairs with 2, 2 configuration. Food excellent, service excellent.
Johannesburg-Heathrow: 11.5hrs. On Time. South African business: lounge: good. Transfer between gates went smoothly. On board A320 with good lie flat beds in 2,2 configuration. Food average. Service good.
Heathrow-Orley: 1 hour 20m. British airways economy. Delayed 1 hour. Had to pass through immigration (20min), collect bags, then transfer, from T1 to T5, using a greet and meet transfer taxi (20min), then re-check in (10min). All went smoothly. airline boarding OK. Seating 31″ pitch and service OK. Food: poor.
Observation: Orly airport is a dream compared to Charles de Gaule. Time taken after touch down to collecting baggage about 20 min.
This will be our fourth 5 week stay in Paris. The last was September two years ago. (See Paris twitter 1-4).
My objective is to improve on the photos I took previously, considering that France has strict publication rules for portraits. (note my top photos are not published on this website as they are reserved for my book). My wife’s objective is to improve her French and try and get a Parisian accent.
We will stay on the left bank near Pont des Arts in the same one bedroom apartment on Rue Mazarine, a short distance from the cafes and activity of Le Buci. From here there are many interesting areas of Paris within walking distance.
Our intention is to eat breakfast and a very light dinner at our apartment and have our main meal at lunch at different restaurants with a formule midi in the range €14 to €55.
First Days in France
Overnight at Rue Mazarine apartment, Paris.
Mont St Michel
Went for 4 nights to Mont St Michel in Normandy for Easter celebrations, and the peak tides when the sea surrounds the island.
Took the 10.04 TGV from Montparnasse to Mont St Michel via Rennes (2 hrs) connecting with Keolis Bus (1hr:20min) that stopped at bus stop 100m from the entrance to the Mont. Arrived around 15:00 and stayed at hotel Mouton Blanc.
Had a room on 3rd floor up 41 steps. En-suite room was small, clean, had high ceilings with exposed beams and a king size bed, all good. Note: like most hotels, a considerable number of rooms are located in different parts of the village. Check when booking. Incidentally check-in was very late at 1600.
I enjoyed my stay on the island although it was jam-packed with groups during the day, but at night the streets would empty of people and fill with an atmoshphere of the past.
It was very cold during the day, with a 15Km wind, and mainly overcast. The weather forecast indicated it felt like -6C. On two mornings, there was blue sky, but by midday it clouded over, although there was one gorgeous sunset.
There were a few surprises
1) There were no major Easter ceremonies or spectacles. There was a small mass in the church and Abbey and a tiny Easter procession (30 persons) that enacted the stations of the cross, along a route away from the throngs jamming the main streets. This in a place that was to be the centre of Christian pilgrimage!
2)Another factor was the large and extensive construction works on the new bridge. These constructions limited pedestrians to the causeway, so I was not able to get onto the fields that provide the classical reflecting image, although the wind rippled the water surface, so there was no reflection anyway.
Food was very average at most places, and very expensive. I did enjoy, the flamed Grand Marnier crepes and the apple Normandy dessert, which had caramelized apples intermixed with creme brulee.
In regard to accommodation, I much prefer to stay on the island rather than on the mainland at La Caserne and use the shuttle bus which still required a 400m walk each way to the Mont entrance. I noticed that early in the morning and in the early evening at peak tides, and when the streets were empty there were remarkably few visitors who stayed outside the walls at La Caserne. A detailed overview report on Mont St Michel is provided on this website at Mont St Michel .
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