Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Paris – Day 2 – 3/30/18

Larry and I woke early and went down to the dining room for breakfast. Service started at seven o’clock. When we arrived at about seven-thirty, a few others were there ahead of us. We found a table for four, and then set about filling our plates.

What a delightful selection to choose from. The first station had scrambled eggs, sausage (the European variety of boiled, not smoked, sausage I don’t like), bacon (near-raw like we saw in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand—not a favorite), tiny crepes, lots of toppings like cheese, tzatziki, and several others, but no syrup. Since I didn’t use any of these, I don’t remember all the choices.

Another area held several varieties of bread (brioche, sliced for toast, baguettes, rolls, croissants, etc.), sweet rolls (chocolate croissants, filled pastries, etc.), jams, butter, etc. In another area, we found fresh fruit salad, prunes, a variety of cereals, yogurt, granola, etc.) The beverage bar contained several varieties of juice, water (with and without fizz), and whole fruit. The wait staff served hot beverages: our choice of several varieties of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Breakfast was included in the price of the room and was delicious.

As I returned to our table, another couple approached heading for the food service area. “American?” I asked. The gal laughed. “How did you know?” I chuckled. “I think we all have a sort of befuddled look.” She smiled, nodded, and went on her way with her husband.

We savored our meal while waiting for the Schwencks to come down. When they hadn’t arrived by about eight forty-five, I called their room. Twice. No answer. We continued to wait, but they still didn’t arrive.

We people-watched and savored our coffee while we waited. Many of those we saw appeared to be business people. Several families also ate breakfast in the dining room. We watched one little boy, who flirted with all the wait staff. What a cutie. Another family arrived with two little girls. They were adorable.

Finally, Larry went up to the Schwencks’ room and knocked. Bernie was still getting ready. He asked if they had heard the phone. Bob had his hearing aids out, so he hadn’t heard. Bernie said she heard something, but she couldn’t identify what it was. They arrived in the dining room about nine-twenty, finally got their meal, and began to eat.

I decided to find out if the hotel would hold our bags until the afternoon when we would be able to check into the timeshare. They were happy to do so and pointed out that they were doing it for another group at the time I asked.

As I turned to return to the dining room, I saw the other Americans, Kathy and Ron. Turns out they were from North Carolina. They had spent a week in India visiting their daughter, who was there on a mission. They decided to stop for a few days in France before heading home. They had arrived the day before, were on their way to Nice, and then back to the US. We had a nice chat, and I returned to the table.

The dining room staff were lovely and friendly. They went out of their way to take care of everyone. One of the men, in particular, joked with us each time he came by. Everyone at the hotel was more than accommodating. Many thanks to Julie at AAA for the selection of Hotel Le Littre. We loved everything about it. The Schwencks had a corner room, so it had an additional sitting area. Ours was large and more than adequate.

We went back to our rooms, packed, and took the bags down to the lobby to be put into storage. When we walked out in front, Bob spotted a steeple in the distance. We had time before we would leave, so we decided to take a walk.

A few blocks from the hotel, we spotted a street market. What fun. Lots of different vendors with beautiful produce, fish, meat, cheese, olives, plus scarves, fabric, jewelry, and a variety of other items. We had a terrific time just walking along and looking at everything.

Bernie spotted a lovely scarf with swallows on it. I liked it but continued on down the row. We started back, but I decided I needed the scarf. So, I headed back and bought it. I plan to wear it when we speak about San Juan Capistrano, for which the swallow is the symbol since they return to the mission every St. Joseph’s Day. A special scarf and a wonderful souvenir from the trip.

Halfway to the distant steeple, we grew weary, but Bob was determined to get there. Exhausted after our forced march, we finally arrived. Turns out it was the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, about a mile and a half from the hotel. Bob was thrilled to be in his first church in Paris.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the post office, and I bought a couple of stamps. We also stopped for lunch at Le Saint Placide. I had onion soup. Larry had eggs with mayonnaise. Bob and Bernie share a croque monsieur. We had eaten the same sandwich the evening before, and Bob really enjoyed it. The one the night before was served open-faced. This had two slices of bread, more like a sandwich. They decided it was good, but the one we’d had for dinner was better.

We returned to the hotel, retrieved our bags, and asked the desk clerk to call us a cab. It arrived in just a couple of minutes, and we were off to the timeshare, Aparthotel Adagio Paris XV.

When we arrived, we discovered the only way to get the outside doors to open was with a numeric code, which we didn’t have. Bob pushed the button near the keypad. Someone answered, but then we heard nothing more. We grew cold standing outside. Bob pushed the button a couple more times. Finally, someone answered. Bob told the person on the other end we were checking in. They asked for his name, and he told them. No further response. After about ten minutes of standing in the cold, another guest spotted us and opened the door from the inside. I hate to think about how long it would have taken the staff to open it.

Several other parties were waiting to check in, too. So, we sat down and waited. And waited. (Welcome to Paris, where waiting seems to be the normal state.)

When it was finally our turn, Bob showed the clerk our reservation confirmation paperwork. I have to say, I had a great deal of respect for the folks who worked here because, while we waited, a group from Italy and another from Germany checked in. The poor clerks had to be able to communicate with people from quite a few countries. (Most weren’t English-speaking.)

The reservation said we were to be in unit #611, but we were assigned unit #520. Bob had spent a great deal of time on the phone with the timeshare exchange people. They assured him he would get a two-bedroom unit. When we arrived at unit #520, we discovered it was a one-bedroom unit with a sitting room containing a convertible sofa. He went to the desk and tried to explain the issue but was told he had a two-room unit as opposed to a studio. For them, this was considered a two-bedroom unit. After all, there were two beds. Well, three because the sofa made into two twin beds.

It took all of us, including the engineer, about fifteen minutes to figure out how to convert the sofa. The process was convoluted and not at all user-friendly. The paperwork stated we’d find a manual with instructions for everything in the unit. There wasn’t one. When we asked about it later, the gal at the desk said no such thing existed. The bed was just our first challenge.

Storage became another. Each of us had only one small carry-on suitcase and a second small carry-on bag. However, with the bed out, there was nowhere to put our bags. (And we had no intention of trying to assemble and reassemble the darn thing every day. It stayed out.) The bedroom had a closet, but the doors wouldn’t open. The bedding for the sofa was stored inside. We had to force the doors enough to squeeze out the pillows and duvets.

When we turned on the TV, we discovered none of the six English channels (out of about sixty—as one would expect) worked. Neither did the Spanish-language ones. We called and reported both the stuck doors and the TV issue to the desk clerk. She said their maintenance man had left for the day, but that he would take care of these items in the morning.

We decided to go to the store for a few items (like coffee) and to stop on the way back for dinner since, with the bed pulled out, there was nowhere to eat in the unit. The “table” was about two-feet wide and just long enough to squeeze two chairs on the side. It butted up against the kitchenette wall, and there was nowhere to move it to accommodate the four of us. The desk in the bedroom had a third chair, but no fourth was in evidence. (When the closet doors were finally fixed, we discovered a folding one in the closet. Still, the unit did not have enough room to deploy the bed as well as pull the table from the wall.)

Bob and Larry had located the store a few blocks away earlier when Bob realized he’d need an extension cord in order to plug in his CPAP machine. After we bought our coffee, we stopped at Dolce Vita restaurant for dinner. Since it was a pizza place, each couple ordered the four-cheese pizza. Not great, but adequate for our needs.

We returned to the room exhausted from our long day and long walk earlier. Fortunately, the toilet had its own room. The tub and sink were in another. This was a good setup since one person could shower while another used the facilities.

About ten o’clock, we settled in for the night.

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