This morning we were up early - but not as early as previous travel days - 6:30am is manageable.
We have taxis booked to take us to the TGV train station so we can catch the TGV fast train to Paris - 1st class.
Aix-en-Provence has been great, and the 3 nights we have had here have been really relaxing - even Archie let us sleep in until 8am on on occasion, which was a welcome treat.
Our Taxi's pull up to our apartment, and we divide into two groups to head for the TGV station - Laura, Archie and I in the BMW, the others in the Mercedes. The Taxi's in France (at least in Aix) are significantly better than those back home in Melbourne.
The TVG ride was very pleasant. We were on the top deck which provided us we a slightly better view of the country side than earlier train rides where we had opted for the bottom deck on account of the numerous large and heavey suitcases. This time however, as our seats were pre-booked, we managed to lug the cases up the stairway to the top deck.
Being first on the train has advantages in being able to stow your bags with plenty of room. It also has disadvantages - as more people get on the train their bags pile on top of yours. Fortunately Paris is the end of the line - so there was no rush to dig through the pile of baggage to claim our bags and get of - we simply wait for everyone else to move out then simply follow.
Stepping off the train you immediately feel like you’re in Paris - something is just different. Walking out of the station confirms it. The typical Parisian architecture surrounds you. We have arrived in Paris.
We head for the Taxi rank and queue with everyone else. The Taxi rank attendant spots Laura pushing Archie in his pram and pulls us out of the line and arranges a special large Taxi for our group. There are definitely advantages to travelling with young children - I'm not sure we would get (or expect) this type of service back home in Australia - kid or no kid... you all line up and wait.
A breif taxi ride gets us to the reception office of the apartments where we will be staying. We drop our bags there, as the apartment is not quite available and head across the road for some lunch.
After lunch we head back to the reception office and go through the run-down of the apparent and the head off for the brief 500m walk around the corner and up the street to find where we will call home for the next 3 nights.
We arrive to a large solid door. Laura enters the code and we enter into a courtyard area. Here we wait to be met by one of the young ladies who manage the apartments. She takes us through a second security door and then up to the 3rd floor and shows us into the apartment.
There is a small elevator, which we will use for our bags. The elevator has a 2 person maximum - but I am confident it is almost impossible to exceed limit given the dimensions of the lift are only 1 meter deep by 50cm wide. The bags make it up safely.
The apartment is old but refurbished and contains a number of modern amenities - but not air-conditioning and minimum overnight temperatures of around 21-22c... only a single fan. I am sure we will survive - the windows are all open and there is a nice breeze flowing through.
The streets around our apartment are beautiful and typically Parisian (could they be anything else in Paris?). There are cafes and little eateries scattered all about our neighbourhood. We are all looking forward to the next few days.
This evening we took a short walk from the appartment out onto the nearby Rue de Rivoli - a very main street which leads up toward the Louvre. We then detoured in toward the Seine river, and across to see Notre Dame.
We didn't make it to the Lourve tonight - it was too hot to be out walking too far (34c), and it was already 6:30pm, so time to find some dinner for Archie (and the rest of us).
We headed back toward our apartment and settled into La Favourite - a local cafe which had been recommeded to us. The meals and drinks were all very nice - including my Whiskey Sour.
Anyway - we have a biggish day planned for tomorrow. Up early to try and get it all done before it gets too hot - and then back to the apartment and shade (or a local bar) to wait out the heat of the day. No wonder the Parisians all leave Paris at this time of year - its stinking hot.