We left Heidelberg on a gray overcast morning. No rain today. The local (RegionalBahn) to Mannheim was mostly on time, the good news being that the ICE we’re taking to Paris leaves on the same track on which we arrive.

ICE, ICE, Baby!

ICE (Intercity Express) trains require a seat reservation, so you just need to look at the train composition board to see which section along the track corresponds with your coach number so you are hopefully standing close to where the train will stop. That’s the theory. The reality is it cuts down on the distance you have to dash to get to your coach.

This is a 3 hr 14 minute trip to Paris EST (East).

I’ve saved some music and TV shows on Plex for offline time.

Though there’s limited Wifi on the train, I’m tethered to my Google-Fi phone.

Keeping an eye out for news on the unrest in Paris.

Arrived in Paris gare de l’Est, we bought une carnet (book of 10 Metro tickets) as I’m down to just a few. There’s no sign of any disturbances here, but walking down rue de la Paix, you can see some signs of decorations dumped over and trashed. And, though I knew it beforehand, there are other protesters (contractors protesting a new French law) camped out in front of the hotel. 😐 A little negotiating with reception gets us a room a little closer to what we will settle for, if not what we wanted. Our room was not ready , but the hotel comped us in the bar while we waited. Yup, the newly remodeled room has a robopotty. I’d rather have a heated bath towel rack than a warm place to sit down.

By the time we’d left the hotel at 4pm, the protesters were gone, having put in their hard half-day of work of protests.

We walked down towards Place Vendôme which was decorated very nicely.

Place Vendôme
Louis Vuitton ‘s Christmas tree covers the entire building; Place Vendôme.

Unfortunately, due to the riots, LV has to put protective screens over every display window.
Then on to the Tuileries. The bareness of the trees has a beauty of its own, with the summer’s spent leaves being swept along the ground by the wind. There are a few people strolling through the gardens or seated in the sloping green chairs around the large parterre d’eau. The amusement rides and games on the rue de Rivoli side of the gardens aren’t very busy. We wonder what André Le Nôtre would think of amusement rides in his park?

Rue de Castiglione

From the park, we walked over to Ladurée for a macaron, not a macaroon.


and then down rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré to see some of the store decorations, especially the “Mothership”.

So far as I can tell from the news reports, most of the violence and protests/riots have happened during the weekend. While we don’t care about the stores on Champs Elysee, we would like to see the Christmas lights and markets. We’ll see what tomorrow looks like.

It appears the government buckled and made concessions to the protesters, temporarily suspending the increase in gasoline taxes and rise in energy costs. France has long had a problem with affording the hefty costs of their social programs, while still stimulating business growth and employment. Macron was elected on his plans to reshape the economy, which is a massive undertaking. The people who voted for him and the programs in concept, have difficulty accepting the costs of that transformation when comes to a personal level. We should soon see whether the protesters are mollified by the government’s actions – hopefully after we leave.

One thought on “Paris

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