Ryan Air. Lauda. Wizz Air. The three discount airlines we have flown throughout Europe. What can I say? They weren’t bad. They weren’t great. They were cheap and transported us to where we needed to be. For our flight from Nice to Paris, it seemed as if we were living in the lap of luxury, as we flew on the French airline, Air France. Walking up to an electronic kiosk, we easily printed our boarding passes and luggage tags, then proceeded to the desk, where we scanned our stickers and placed our suitcases on the conveyor to be checked all the way to our destination. No long lines, and in spite of the technology, a comforting number of Air France employees at the ready to assist. We all agreed it was a peaceful start to our short day of travel.
Our flight was uneventful, our baggage was delivered safely and the taxis were easily found. Traffic into the city was very slow-going as more citizens are defaulting to cars, due to the impact of current strikes. Nevertheless, we arrived to our tiny apartment with some daylight still left and were greeted by Chito who explained the ins-and-outs and left us with a warning to be aware of the Romanian pickpockets on the trains. Settling in, we arranged and unpacked to the best of our ability and the kids took over the bedroom, while the adults get the futon in the kitchen/dining/laundry/bedroom.
As much as I love the the neighbourhoods around Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower, the prices were just too steep for a one week stay at the end of two months of travel. So, finding the lowest price rental, in a safe and interesting area, that accommodated six people brought us to our first foray into the 13th district. Our apartment sandwiched between the charming Buttes Aux Cailles neighbourhood and Chinatown gives us not only delicious ethnic food options, but access to delicious pastries and croissants as well.
Sunday morning was spent exploring the neighbourhood, sampling croissants and playing at the Parc de Choisy. Not exactly the Luxembourg Gardens or Tuileries, it is unlikely to hear English spoken and see toddling ex-pats, but the locals were jogging, training, playing, laughing, living life as they always do, and we were happy to join. Our kids enjoyed the castle-themed playground and then migrated to the more advanced climbing obstacles with nearby fitness equipment for adults. Once the chill reached our bones and the feats of physicality were met, we found a warm and friendly Cambodian restaurant to enjoy lunch and then head home to rest up for our big event tonight.