Landing in Paris

Posted on May 30, 2010 in category

We touched down at Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris at 7.00 a.m. after a 13 hour flight from Singapore. During the two flights from Sydney I met some fascinating people: Yugan, a Russian marine engineer who loves to read about Celtic-Ukranian history between changing 3 tonne pistons in cargo ships; Gilbert, a French-African big corporate businessman whose family is presently living in Dubai whilst Gilbert travels the world but whose intention is to eventually settle in Canada (work that one out) and finally a young Chinese Singaporean flight attendant named Jackson who may take up teaching and volunteered to take us around Singapore on our return from France.



The Parisian customs officers seem to take Sunday very seriously- Jesus rested on the Sabbath and so do they- the queue was sooooooooooo looooooooong. One hour later we eventually cleared Customs. Promptly, Wendy and I headed for the fast train (called the TGV) to France’s second biggest city, Lyon. However, before we boarded the train (a 2 hour wait this time) we forced ourselves to eat or ‘manger’ some French pastry and our first ‘cafe creme’. ‘Magnifique’ to say the least!


Travelling through the French countryside to Lyon, I couldn’t help noticing the absence of barbed wire fencing; instead, rows and rows of green hedges interspersed with copses of either healthy pines or beech-like trees. Mixed farming was the norm with paddocks of cereal crops, grazing sheep and Charolais (white) beef cattle. Picturesque!

Louis XIV

Rain greeted us at Lyon-Perrache Station. Nothing that a taxi couldn’t beat. The taxi driver educated us on the pitfalls of arriving in Lyon on a Sunday and the advantages of a ‘bouchon’ restaurant over its more expensive rival, the ‘brasserie’. The popularity of the former has led to traffic jams in Lyon being called ‘bouchons’ too. Also the taxi driver informed us that most locals on a Sunday flee the city for the surrounding countryside for its restaurants leaving Lyon in the cuisine doldrums.
The highlights of our late afternoon ‘promenade’ of Lyon were: Place Bellecour with its grand, centrally-placed equestrian statue of Louis XIV, the Eglise St.-Nizier, a 13th. Century architectural masterpiece built with marble ‘borrowed’ from the Gallo-Roman sites of Lyon and just enjoying the views along the Saone-Rhone Rivers.


Eglise St.-Nizier

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