Following our eight-day tour of the Holy Land, Llew and I spent a week in France together using Rail Europe train passes. After his departure to the US, I continued to stay on in Paris. Here is an account of the week we passed together and the time I spent alone in France.
November 27, Sunday: Tel Aviv-Paris
We arrived in Paris from Tel Aviv at exactly 6.00 pm—our touchdown was made special by the fact that at each hour, on the hour, the Eiffel Tower glitters with thousands of lights that flicker for a whole five minutes. Imagine being greeted by this sight when we arrived! It was incredible. We could also see the Place de L’Etoile very clearly marked by the series of roads that branch out from the Arc de Triomphe. It was such a fabulous welcome to France and we were absolutely thrilled.
We went through Immigration , got hold of our baggage and made our way to the train station to catch the train to the city. We arrived at Gare du Nord on the RER (B) train and changed there to the Metro to get ourselves to Gare St. Lazare from where we boarded the 8.42 pm train to Normandy by activating our eight-day unlimited train travel tickets called Rail Europe that we had purchased in the USA. Our destination was Lison where our friend Jacques was awaiting our arrival—despite the late hour (it was 10.42 pm. by the time we reached him). Another 15 minutes of a drive to his little village of Quibou brought us to his sprawling farm called Hotel Cocagne where we had a lovely welcome from his wife Florence who we were delighted to see again after four years. (We had last met in Paris when I was staying there for a summer).
As Llew was starving (we had found no time to grab a sandwich and there was no bar car on our train), we did not refuse Florence’s offer of a quick bite. We settled down with good French bread and some roast beef with cheese and an apple cake for dessert over a glass of red wine. It was a fine entry to the kind of meals I would eat for the next couple of weeks. We did not waste too much time staying awake as our hosts needed to call it a day—and so within an hour of our arrival in Normandy, we went straight off to sleep in the lovely room that they had prepared for us.