Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oct 14, Part 2 - Paris: RER train from the airport to Notre Dame

We were now en route to Paris on the RER train, riding comfortably with our luggage at our feet toward one of the most exciting cities in the world, and probably the most beautiful big city. Anticipation begins to turn into excitement. I knew from previous trips that this part of Paris (and from this view) was mostly ugly, with a few gems thrown in along the way. The train ran underground, then at the surface. We'd wondered what the colors would be like - would it look and feel like fall? Early? Late? The colors were so far green and gold, with some red, but not too much - a lot like our colors at home this time of year.

The colors of industry and graffiti.

One of the architectural delights and more graffiti. The industrial outskirts of Paris have swallowed up entire country villages.

Fellow passengers on their way to work. I thought this woman was very beautiful and also very typical of the French women we would see - neat, stylish, sedate, and with her hair pulled into a low ponytail that was so typical.

Another village view - and more train-side graffiti.

Gigantic slummy-looking apartment complexes also reared their bodies out of the industrial wasteland as seen from the tracks.

Lines leading into one of Paris's four huge train stations - Gare du Nord, where all trains leave for points north.

I think this was the Chatelet-Les Halles metro stop. I love this picture of the woman on the platform wearing her native dress even in the European city of Paris. It's so exotic. You never know what styles, colors, and cultures you will see here. It's all part of a tapestry that seems to enthral everyone. Or almost everyone. I didn't appreciate Paris so much the first time I was there. I don't know what I expected, but it delivered something entirely different. I had to come to love the city on my own - and maybe that's true for each one of us.

And here we are. Coming out is easy, you just follow the "Sortie" (exit) signs. We are here, literally in the heart of Paris. What an entrance to the city, you can't beat it (see next post - Oct 14, Part 3).

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