So, the evening my husband and I went back to Paris, I received a text from my college girlfriends saying that their flight had been canceled and they had been put on a plane two days later! Incredible!! They had called their travel agent (don’t ever travel without a travel agent in these crazy times!!), and he had worked his magic and got them on a plane that left two hours earlier than their original flight…as long as they could get to the airport immediately! They did. Then they would fly from Greenville, SC to Charlotte, NC to London (Heathrow) to Paris! They finally arrived in Paris at Charles de Gaulle airport at three-thirty in the afternoon, rather than the original nine-thirty in the morning. I guess six hours late is better than two days late!
I, however, having spent the entire day at the airport, now knew everything about the airport (go ahead, quiz me), as well as getting to know all of the security agents. They actually clapped when I finally came walking out of arrivals with my college girlfriends! What really shocked me was the fact that CDG airport was so closed down. Of the three terminals, there was only one active (Terminal 1), the other two were closed completely. And, in Terminal One, half of the airline gates were closed. One security agent told me that there had not been a flight on Turkish Air in almost two years. I was gobsmacked. Yes, that is one of my favorite words.
Anyway, once I had gathered them and their luggage, we jumped on the RER from the airport to the center of Paris – my favorite way to get from the airport. However, my girlfriends did not find it as enjoyable as I did. Perhaps, it is because they were short on sleep. Or, perhaps, it was because they had over-packed…in a big way. I had told them: one checked bag, not too big, and one carry-on that was big enough to hold your purse. They, however, assumed that was just a suggestion, and had two checked bags each, and two large carry-on bags each. One does not travel like a Parisian with that much luggage. They needed “people” or staff, but alas, they had neither.
Once we arrived in the center of Paris, we hoofed it through the metro to the Montparnasse train station. I already had our tickets ready, so I quickly picked up sandwiches to eat on the train. At that point I had a mutiny on my hands. They did not want to get on another mode of transportation. I told them we either boarded the train or slept in the train station. They needed a few minutes to think about it. Oh, and did I mention the fact that we had to have our French Health Pass checked at each junction. No? Well, we did, and since one of my girlfriends never got hers, they kept checking her COVID test results. Yeah, not really fun.
Finally, we were on the TGV train, settled in our awesome seats with the table between us, and eating sandwiches. Everyone felt better after ham and butter sandwiches, water to drink, and a bite of chocolate. We watched the scenery pass by as we barreled south to Angers. Once there, we collected the car from the car park, where I had left it two days before on my way to Paris with my husband. (I’m no dummy, I would never drive in Paris.) And we were off to our lovely house in the Loire Valley. We pulled in just before dark, so they were able to see the outside, but would have to wait for the next day to really take it in.
I had cooked supper two days before, thank goodness, so I heated everything up and we dug in. Even though we had done nothing but sit around for almost two days, we were all famished. Pasta with a rustic tomato sauce, salad, and bread never tasted so good. As soon as the last dish was done, we crashed. Determined to not miss a moment of our time together in France, we vowed to get up early the next day.
Well, come back next time and see how that went…