We were very blessed that Melissa has an aunt that works for an airline. She got us on a standby list to Paris, and saved us loads of money on the flight. The flight wasn’t completely booked so, when we got to the airport to check our seats we even got bumped to first class! I always wondered why the first class people were so eager to get on the plane first. I think maybe it’s because they give you free champagne before the plane taxis; I think I had four. The seats were huge and folded out into beds, long enough even for me to fit in. We were served a meal with appetizers and desert, and by the time the flight attendants were cleaning up 3 hours of flight already flew by.
I don’t know if it was nervousness or the time of the flight but neither Melissa or I were able to sleep. I did some reading, Melissa finally watched Frozen, then we were served a breakfast meal and landed in Paris at 7:50AM local time (12:50AM central time).
We found our bags, and did some reorganizing in the airport to pack the two laptop bags into the big suitcases. Then we had to try walking around with all our luggage. It wasn’t so bad at the start; the backpack was heavy, but at least the suitcases stacked ok and rolled well. We walked right through customs (without even a glance at our luggage), and started looking for the train to Gare de Lyon, the train station near the hotel we had booked.
We found out we’d have to make one transfer between subway lines to get there, then we bought our train tickets for 9 Euros a piece. It seemed a little high and in hindsight I wonder if it wouldn’t have just been easier to take a taxi. It was an ordeal going around the station and finding the right platform. The suitcases were ok on the flat floor but difficult on escalators. If I didn’t line it up just right on a step I would have to awkwardly hold all it’s weight to keep it from tumbling down. The first time I got to the top I thought I could roll it off. Nope. The people behind me didn’t appreciate that the escalator kept moving without the suitcase moving, and I had to quickly lift it off.
The first train, from the airport to Gare du Nord, was nearly empty with plenty of room for sitting with our luggage. The second train, however, was packed with standing room only. Even so, there was a guy playing a saxophone (badly) right in front of the door. We struggled to contain our laughter as we watched Parisians struggling to file past us, our luggage, and the saxophonist as he played the Benny Hill theme song. Fortunately it wasn’t that long of a ride.
We managed to drag everything off the train at Gare de Lyon, find the exit, and start walking. We then turned on google maps to find the hotel. Unfortunately we walked about a block in the wrong direction. After we turned around and were just about back to where we started, Melissa stopped because her suitcase suddenly became very hard to pull. We turned it over and saw one of the wheels got crooked and wouldn’t turn. We switched up what we were carrying, Melissa took the gray suitcase that still rolled, and both carry-ons. I took just the big green suitcase with the bad wheel. I tried carrying it with one arm by the handle, but I could only go maybe 50ft like that before I need a rest. I found the best grip by bearhugging it, even then I still had to take numerous breaks. The hotel was only about 3 blocks away, and when we got there we saw there was a much better exit from the train station we should have taken.
It was now about 10AM, two hours after we had landed, our room wasn’t ready, but we were able to store our bags at the hotel. We decided to take a walk while we waited and we made it all the way to Notre Dame cathedral (1.5miles away). We then took a metro back to Gare de Lyon, exited through the correct exit and checked into our hotel around 1PM. We were exhausted. We both took showers, then collapsed in bed until about 6PM. We woke up still tired and decided to stay in the hotel and figure out the next day.