Paris 2004 - the short version

A couple exerpts from my journal:

Paris top ten: The Eiffel Tower (hey, it's the engineer in me). Baguettes. Crepes. The visit to Tribeca, which destroyed my view of French cuisine as "boring." Notre Dame, St. Severin (I have a weakness for big Gothic churches with spectacular stained glass). Getting pictures for the Carte Orange (see below). Seeing Rodin's "Gates of Hell" again. Being able to say I've been to the Louvre and seen the Mona Lisa. The Metro elevated rail line. The accelerated walkway (most walkways go 3 km/h, this one goes 9 km/h, and getting on and off it is as good as an amusement park ride). Shopping at the Monoprix (we bought most of our meals at their grocery store). The Arc de Triomphe.

We decided the one week "Carte Orange" was our best option for getting around the city on the Metro. A Metro ticket seller who professed to speak no English told us yesterday "no tourists!" and tried to indicate we had to take the more expensive (€27 for five days) "Paris Visites" pass. But this morning we got instructions from the very helpful guy at the hotel, and went to the Monoprix to get our pictures taken in the photo machine (very reminiscent of "Amelie"). A guy who was repairing the soda machine next to it reached in and got me into the on-screen English menu. For €4 I got a set of four passport photos, and Barbara did the same. Then she asked the repair man "Parlez-vous Anglais?" He gave an answer we're getting very used to: "un peu" ("a little"). But rather than asking in English, she made scissors with her fingers. We mentioned the Carte Orange, and he whipped out a multi-tool with scissors and very carefully trimmed one of each of our pictures very small, just the head. And he left each one just barely attached by a corner. Since we had no idea what size of photo we needed or any way to cut them apart, it was a really kind act that ... well, renewed my faith in humanity. Then to the local Metro station ("La Motte Picquet Grenelle") where I managed to ask for "une Carte Orange, une semaine, trois zones." Actually, I think I did the last bit with three fingers. So we got the passes for €20. You write your name on it, stick your small picture on it, then fold the clear sticky plastic sheet over. With this there's a fancier-than-usual (orange, white, and holographic strip) ticket. As in San Francisco, you feed the ticket in, it returns it and lets you through.

Fans of the movie "Amelie" may appreciate this image, which I needed to get a Carte Orange in Paris:

Photo machine image

And the ticket itself:

Metro Carte Orange ticket

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