“Paris is always a good idea.” ~ Audrey Hepburn
Our son Casey and his fiancée Megan became our second set of visitors to France. The trip was to celebrate Casey’s graduation with his Chemical Engineering degree, his hiring as an engineer with the State of Nevada’s Chemical Accident Prevention Program, and his engagement to Megan. So many important milestones to celebrate, but we were mainly looking forward to seeing Casey and meeting Megan for the first time. Tracy had extensively pre-planned the trip in the attempt to try to visit everywhere Casey and Megan wanted to visit. Tracy had the reservations made and confirmations organized to minimize the stress of traveling. Tracy and I subscribed to the “Fast and Light” school of travel with lightweight backpacks and making use of discount travel options as much as possible.
We left Carcassonne the day prior to Casey and Megan’s departure from the US to be able to meet them in Paris. We took the SNCF train to Montpellier and transferred to the Ouigo TGV high-speed train to Paris. We love the economy of the Ouigo where we can often get a trans-France train trip for as little as €10.
The Ouigo rolled into the Gare de Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy train station outside of Disneyland-Paris and caught the RER A (Réseau Express Régional) regional train into Paris proper where we used the Paris Métro system to picked up the key and settle into our apartment in the Belleville neighborhood of the 19th arrondissement.
The next morning Tracy and I walked about the Île de la Cité and Latin Quarter visiting the Panthéon to see the photo project that we took part in Carcassonne and hoping to spot our photos in the display used to disguise the scaffolds used to refurbish the monument. (Carcassonne – Au Panthéon Photo Project) Then it was off to Aéroport de Paris-Orly to wait for Casey and Megan’s arrival. It was our first time at the Orly Airport so we took the RER B line early in order to figure out international arrivals.
We were excited to see that Casey and Megan arrived without any problems. We skipped the baggage claim area since they both joined us in our “Fast and Light” method of having a single backpack each for luggage and we were off to the RER for the ride to Paris talking all the way. We headed back to the Île de la Cité
We “barnstormed” Paris trying to visit as many sites as we could squeeze in. Megan had her first experiences with a subway with the very busy, but useful Paris Métro. She was the only one of us not to be reversed and turned-around using the street and subway map. We visited Notre-Dame de Paris (a must for Casey who is a major fan of Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), explored the Renaissance and Egyptian sections the Louvre Museum, walked the Avenue des Champs–Élysées from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, Casey and Megan added a “Love Lock” to the Pont des Arts bridge, and enjoyed a chautauqua-type tour of the Eiffel Tower visiting the historic military radio room in the foundation and getting an “insider’s” view of the elevator system with a view paris from above the second level’s Restaurant le Jules Verne.
Next venue on our itinerary: Marseille. A first for all of us.