Thursday, July 30, 2015. After the scorching heat of Madrid and the Mediterranean, it was pleasant to get off the train in Gare de Lyon and feel quite cool. Between the air conditioned train and the air of Paris, today was the first day that I did not sweat through my shirt. Good thing, too, because I’m running low on shirts that can be used more than once. One thing I did learn in the heat was that my beard is not uncomfortable. I had been afraid it would be hot and scratchy. It turned out not to be any more than the rest of my body.
The French train service redeemed itself on this trip from Nice to Paris. Not only were the cars air conditioned, modern and in good condition, they even had accommodation for a profoundly handicapped man in a wheel chair. And, strange to say, a conductor actually came to scan our tickets. Because the first part of the trip retraced our infamous ride to Nice from Marseille, I was able to see the coast between Cannes and Marseille that I’d missed while standing in the aisle the first time. One beautiful seascape and shore scene after another.
At Marseille the train turned north towards Paris without stopping in Marseille. Anne Mei had requested that we see the countryside and not just stay in the cities. So far between Carlos’ driving and our trains, she has experienced a wide variety—from the sere hills of Spain to the woods and farms of Provence to the increasingly lush farmlands as we approached Paris.
We arrived in Paris shortly before four in the afternoon. After checking in to our hotel, we headed out to the nearest Eleven Paris store. Anne Mei had discovered them during our trip to London in 2013. There are none in the U.S. We walked down towards the Sorbonne where Anne Mei bought a plain grey sweatshirt. It took the salesman a while to stop trying to interest her in the latest Kanye or supermodel-themed apparel. There are two other Eleven Paris stores not too far from our hotel and I am told we’re going to see if they have more items fitting Anne Mei’s taste and with more of the simple, striking designs we saw in London.
Some time and some distance spent looking for a place to eat, after which we walked back to Place de la Concorde. The setting sun was shining directly into our eyes when we tried to look down Champs Elysées. That visit will have to wait for tomorrow.