Paris, je t'aime.
Trip Start May 17, 2010
27Trip End Jul 17, 2010
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I left Quimper at 6:31am and arrived in Paris, gare Montparnasse at 11:10am. That was the easiest train ride I've had thus far. It was quick and painless and I slept through the majority. When I got to Montparnasse, I realized I had no idea how to find my hotel, Léonard de Vinci 2. I walked around lost for quite a bit thinking that I'd be lucky enough to run into it.
Silly Angela the naïve optimist.
As luck would have it, it is also in excess of 80ºF here and I chose today to wear jeans. Good call on my part
Good day indeed.
I gave up and resigned to stopping into a nearby hotel to ask for directions. Drenched in sweat, the receptionist looked at me with pity. I told her my dilemma and she pulled out a map to help me look for the elusive Rue de Mademoiselle. After a bit of searching, we found it, and she made a copy and highlighted the route for me. I thanked her profusely and turned around to leave when she warned me, "It's almost 2 miles away.". I thanked her again and thought nothing of it without realizing I had already set myself up for failure.
It is ridiculously hot outside.
I trudged through the relentless heat and followed my map. I walked... and walked... and walked some more. Along the way I caught a nice glimpse of la Tour Eiffel, so I snapped a few pics and trudged on. 30 minutes and a sweat soaked Angela later, I finally found the hotel and checked in. 3 flights up a spiral staircase later, I reached my room and opened the door.
Here goes nothing.
I felt like Anne Frank hiding out in an attic, that's how tiny my space was. I couldn't even walk into the room without having to duck because of the rafters over my bed. I was pouring sweat, and I realized that there was no air conditioning in the hotel. My one "window" was on the ceiling and would only let in more heat. The bed was dirty and the comforter looked as if it hadn't been touched in centuries. I wanted to cry. Dizzy with heat exhaustion, I couldn't fathom trying to sleep in such a room. I could barely bring myself to sit on the bed and look in the bathroom. After debating with the help of my mom over what the best course of action was, I decided to pay and leave. There was simply no way I could stay when there was no metro station nearby, and it was a half hour from the train station. After changing into some shorts, I packed my not yet unpacked things and left.
Back to the same hotel where I had asked for directions. I struggled to walk the 30 minute walk back and became even dizzier. A man stopped and asked me if I knew where to find his son's university. I told him no, that I was just a tourist, and a dying one at that. He thanked me anyway and I kept walking when all of a sudden he called after me
I continued the rest of the arduous walk and FINALLY made it back to the first hotel, Hôtel Terminus Montparnasse. The same receptionist seemed surprised to see me and I re-explained my saga. I asked if there was vacancy, and she said yes and hurried to get my info and room key. I wanted to hug this woman. I went to coffin sized elevator and ascended to the first floor. I inserted the card key into the slot and crossed my fingers.
My nightmare of a start has ended. The room was small, but spacious with every modern convenience and a minibar. I threw myself onto the bed and sighed with content. I will never again forget the goodness of air conditioning. I set the AC to a cool 20ºC and continued to give thanks for my good fortune. This hotel is right across the street from Galeries Lafayette, and a mere 4 minute walk to my train station. I can finally relax a bit... but right now I think I'm going to try and go to Galeries Lafayette so I can check out les soldes. I'll update with pics later because I forgot my USB cable in Quimper.
p.s. - I lied. This was not a short entry at all :)