Thursday, 25 June 2015

A Rough Start in Paris

The packed train from the airport to town around noon
We arrived in Paris this morning only to find taxis blocked roads to Paris and Marseille airports.

Looking up at L'Arc de Triomphe
Airport staff were sympathetic, but could only help us with directions. The only way out was by train. With luggage in hand we had to go up and down, down a long hallway and then down some escalators to see tons of people waiting in line just to buy train tickets to town from ticket machines -- no one manned tickets sales desks.

It took us almost an hour to get to where the ticket booths were, and then almost another hour just to get the 10-euro tickets. We managed to climb aboard the train which left shortly after we got on.

Then we had to change trains twice just to get to our hotel.

When we finally arrived, the hotel staff strangely weren't that helpful with our luggage, shrugging their shoulders with hardly any sympathy -- is this a French thing?

To further rub it in, they said that what took us four hours to get there should have only taken 45 minutes by taxi...

It's 8.30pm and still bright at the Eiffel Tower
The taxi drivers are on strike because they are angry at online taxi service Uber for taking away their business.

Some incidents got really violent, with smashed windows, overturned cars and burned tires. Even rocker Courtney Love was caught in the unrest in her car leaving the airport. She tweeted that she was terrified, her car was ambushed and the driver taken hostage. Needless to say she was not impressed with French authorities in dealing with the situation...

So far it's a one-day strike, but who knows if it will last longer...

In any event, we finally settled into our hotel and freshened up. We grabbed a bit to eat before heading to L'Arc de Triomphe, followed by a stroll down Champs Elysees, took some pictures of the Tuileries, then had dinner before going to the Eiffel Tower.

Looking straight up the Eiffel Tower
I had good fun two years ago paying 5 euros to walk up the Eiffel Tower (the line for the elevator was too long). The stairs weren't that bad and had a fantastic view of the city. This time though, with parents in tow, we took a few snaps before heading home to rest our feet and get over our jetlag.

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