07-04 First Steps in Paris (Friday, July 4, 2014)

What is the point of describing your latest adventures abroad?  It is different language, different money and different people and traditions. But most importantly, it is different brain cell that have to do all the processing for you, and that what makes this experience so unusual and so different.


Thursday, July 3 – Depart from Boston to Paris

Friday, July 4 – First steps in Paris




Thursday, July 3 2014


Airport Exchange Rates in Boston
I’ve looked at the buy and sell rates at the Airport. With current rate of around $1.36 per one Euro, they are making a killing on innocent victims, who wish to get rid of their money quickly

Last day at work – Last preparations and thoughts

My paper Notebook is wrapped.  Flight check-in is done.  I ordered taxi for 7PM.  Now I need to get out from work at a reasonable time (2PM), arrive home around 4PM, cut the grass, deposit checks, reconcile trades and call the neighbors.
Here at work, I still need to send me expenses and my hours. Plus, I need to set up an “Out-of-Office notification” everywhere.
Fourth-of-July celebration in Boston was moved a day early


Vacation Calendar 2014-07-07 MO

We are in Logan airport (Boston)

This is our first hours on the road.  We just emerged (21:21)  from taxi to get to our plane to Paris.
21:54 Our flight is delayed for 2 hours.  It means, we will leave London (our connection) 3 hours later.  We did not check-in any bags.  We only have hang luggage.  My roller is 25 lb, and Lira’s roller is 28 lb.  it is 86°F outside, but  Lira is changing into warmer clothes to be comfortable in the plane.  If everything stands, we will arrive in Paris at 4PM.

Flight through the night

[24 vs. 0] *
*[nights left vs. nights spent]

14:15 – Could not find a pouch for my laptop at the hotel
16:00 Arrived from WL
16:15 Andrey stopped by to pick his forgotten SONY phone
16:30 Cut the grass , reconcile the Trades
17:05 Deposit monthly and expense checks at SSS
Call our neighbors.  Shawn picked up the phone.  His parents are out, but he will look at the house in our absence.
17:30 I learned that our flight is delayed for 2 hours.  I immediately moved our taxi from 19:00 to 21:00
Weather in Boston is extremely almost unbearably hot.  In addition, some kind of a storm is approaching Massachusetts.  All the festivities (including the fireworks) were moved for July 4 to today – July 3.  How would that affect traffic on the way to the airport?
21:00 – 21:21 Veterans Taxi to Logan
21:54 We are at the gate – Lira is changing to a warm clothes – I am writing my first vacation notes here at Logan .  Our arrival to Paris is now moved from 13:30 to 16:00 on Friday, July 4.
Our plane is a very large one – 9 seats in a row.  This plane has entertainment system in front of each seat. They provide earplugs, eye covers and even sock for the passenger’s comfort.  This is British Airlines.


Friday, July 4 2014


07-04 06;38 EST - 11;38 GMT - Heathrow

07-04 16;34 Train tickets
First use of a credit card without a chip in it. Credit card worked, but it was more of a miracle. On all other attempts (in these kiosks) we had to use a card with built-in chip


[23 vs. 1]  Night in the sky – Six hour transition from EST to Paris time


Arrive to London around 10:30 London Time.

07-04 11:12 GMT Flight to Paris at 13:45

It is 12:30 Paris time and 6:30 am EST.  We noticed 2-hour time difference between London and Paris.
Long security procedures.  Just enough time to get to our small British Airline plane at 13:45
Flight duration from London to Paris is about 50 minutes

16:00 Landing in Paris

16:30 Tickets to Paris – first use of my MC – €19.80


16:39 – 17:18 Board the train to Paris – Arrive to Gare du Nord

17:28 Found where to buy tickets.  Out credit cards here do not work.   I just have enough change (€3.40) from our previous trip to buy 2 metro rides.
17:18 Start very slow metro saga through a rush hour Paris

07-04 16;39 train trip from de Gaulle to Paris18:00 France vs. Germany soccer game has started in Brazil

18:12 Arrived to our check-in destination – get the keys from the safe.  Germany is already leading 1:0

19:19 Arrive to our apartment on 26 Rue de Lappe near Bastille
Noisy, hot.  Where is our Internet password?  Lira cannot figure out how to work TV, but the apartment is great.
20:20 Our first walk on the street of Paris
Discover a nice canal off La Seine river (Canal Saint-Martin), lots of Parisian on the grass, picnicking, relaxing
21:46 My bankcard is working! – test €300 withdrawal at BNP Paribass ATM machine.

 Actual Notes taken at 3 am in Paris (July 05)

[SAT July 5 03:29 AM = 21:29 EST on July 4]
We landed in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 16:00.
At 16:42, we jumped on a train to Paris.
Around 17:18, we arrived to Gere du Nord.
Here Master card stopped working and instead of 10 trips (13,70) we bought just 2 single trips for €3.40. It is interesting, but I had only 3.50 in change from our previous trip in 2012.
Around 18:12, we arrived to 1 Rue Bouchardon, where we extracted keys from our apartment from a safe deposit box.
We arrived in our apartment (26 Rue de Lappe) around 7 PM. It is located on a super lively street near Bastille.
Lira warmed up food that we brought with us from US. It was great!

 zzzzzDSCN2523 07-04 21;32 Parisians rests on the stones
Paris – Friday – Canal Saint-Martin.  Parisians are
picnicking  a lot right on the pavement stones. . .
I mean –  a LOT!  And they manage somehow without
coal  and without fire.   Just food and wine?  Hard to tell.

Then we walked local streets from 9 to 10:15 PM. I was able to withdraw €300 from my US account. One more potential problem – solved.
Weather in Paris – not hot and not sunny – perfect.

07-04 21:43 brasserie Les Grandes Marches 07-04 21:50 Metro Bastille
Only here at Windsor Locks, CT I’ve learned that
this mysterious  and cute building is a restaurant.
To the right Bastille opera.
We are in Paris. Entrance to metro Bastille.  It is 10PM in Paris.

Wi-Fi – I found a password as a sticker right on a router box – now we are connected!
ATM – my debit card works here even without a chip
Apartment location – on a very noisy street. Noise with people at the bars, not with cars.

Here is the first really exciting plus a bit scary story from our first night in Paris.  As it is early evening in Boston, I promptly woke up as 3 AM Paris time and started writing my notes.  I noticed that I have a new phone message from out local Boston area code 617.  After a quick Internet search on this phone number, I realized it is a call from our neighbors, whom we just notified that leaving for 3 weeks, and if possible to keep an eye on our house.

Mass Hurricane Scare

I couldn’t remember, how to check my messages without spending precious phone minutes ($1.29 per each complete and incomplete minute).  I started to do a guess work on what could be a reason for a call.  Weather.com readily provided me with a reason:  Hurricane Arthur blasting Massachusetts on this holiday – July 4.  Right on the front page, right in the header.  Impossible to miss.  I though – that is it – probable tree fell down on the house and it started a fire and the whole neighborhood is gone.  I thought what if we now would have to return immediately just at the beginning of out vacation.  What if we suddenly lost both our home and our “once-every-two-years” vacation?

[22:07 EST = 04:07 Paris – July 5] So I mustered courage and called over Skype our neighbors.  It is now 10 PM July 4 in America, and 4 AM in Paris.   Who doesn’t like to receive an unexpected call after 10 PM at home.  But the hone call just cleared a little bit of a confusion. Our neighbors son Shawn picked up the phone. “I received a voice mail, and I am really worried?” – “What is the message about?” – “I do not know.  Something happened to the house?” – “No. Noting, Lots of rain.  But nothing happened.  Nothing at all. We do not even recall calling you?”

[22:13 EST – 04:13 Paris – July 5] Now I decided turn off my cell phone and call my own  number over Skype.  I remembered that if you punch # during outgoing message, system will prompt you to enter your voice-mail password.  It did.  I guessed what my voice-mail password should be, and voila, I was able to listen to the latest and only voice-mail.  It turned out that Susan – the friendliest and most precious of neighbors just called to let us know that she noticed our call from the recent callers list, and calling us back to see if we needed anything.  Wow!  Such a perfect end to such a worrisome hour.  After that I was able to go back to sleep, and we slept well all the way to 11 AM Paris time.




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Navigate through the List

  1. 07-04 First Steps in Paris (Friday, July 4, 2014) (2014/07/04)
  2. 07-05 Paris - View from a sharp angle (July 5-6, 2014) (2014/07/05)
  3. 07-07 Paris - Père Lachaise and Saint Denis (July 7-8, 2014) (2014/07/07)
  4. 07-09 From Paris to Beaugency [bo:zhensi:] (Wednesday, July 09, 2014) (2014/07/09)
  5. 07-10 Beaugency to Uzerche (Thursday, July 10, 2014) (2014/07/10)
  6. 07-11 Uzerche to Montignac and to Sarlat (Friday, July 11, 2014) (2014/07/11)
  7. 07-12 Sarlat, Rocamadour, Figeac and Bouziès (Saturday, July 12, 2014) (2014/07/12)
  8. 07-13 From Bouziès to Albi (Sunday, July 13 2014) (2014/07/13)
  9. 07-14 From Albi to Toulouse and to Auch (Monday, July 14 2014) (2014/07/14)
  10. 07-15 From Auch to Lupiac (birthplace of D'Artagnan) to Tabres (2014/07/15)
  11. 07-16 From Tabres into Spain and Pyrenees (2014/07/16)
  12. 07-17 Reaching for the highest point in Pyrenees (2014/07/17)
  13. 07-18 Monastery in Yesa, Navarra (Spain) (2014/07/18)
  14. 07-19 Back to France - Busy Biarritz (2014/07/19)
  15. 07-20 SUN - Bordeaux - city with large squares (2014/07/20)

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