Monday, May 7, 2018

France – Day 9 – 4/6/2018

After breakfast, we prepared to move on to the next phase of the trip. On our way back upstairs, we asked the clerk to order us a taxi. Shortly after we returned to the lobby, the cab arrived.

Larry checked us out of the timeshare while the rest of us took our luggage outside. The clerk at the desk seemed utterly flustered and confused. She first looked at our bill and said there were no charges. However, he reminded her about the room tax and the charges for breakfast. She looked again and nodded. Larry handed her his credit card, and she ran it. After we drove away, he discovered we had been undercharged. Given all the issues we’d had, he did not feel compelled to return and insist they adjust the bill—especially since he had to remind them about the additional charges in the first place.

As  he joined us in the taxi, he'd handed the driver the voucher for the Hertz car. It showed the address of the office. The driver nodded as though he knew where he was going, but he obviously didn’t understand much English.

We drove to the other side of town. The driver parked and got out, so we followed, but we saw no hint of a sign for Hertz. We asked where the office was. He pointed across the street and indicated we go upstairs. We figured he knew where the office was. After all, he had the address.

So we dragged our bags across the street and up the escalator to the train station. On the second floor, we still saw no signs for Hertz, but we did see signs for car rentals. We followed the directions down the station platform, up another escalator, across another walkway, and up another escalator.

At the top, we looked around. We saw signs for Avis and Eurocar, but not for Hertz. We went to one of the desks and asked about Hertz. The person indicated we should wait until he got someone who spoke English. He returned with a young woman. She looked at the address and frowned. Then she indicated we should go to the far end of the station and then go downstairs and outside. (Did I mention this was quite a large station?)

So, we hiked down to the end of the station and found another set of escalators. Then we took our bags to the bottom floor. We walked outside, looked around, and still saw no sigh of Hertz.

We went back into the station to reconnoiter. As we talked about what to do, a nice young woman, whose job seemed to be to provide assistance, approached us. Through her limited English and our limited French, we finally conveyed our problem.

She studied the address. Then she walked us outside, pointed down the street, and indicated we should cross, go to the traffic light, and then go around the corner. “Five minutes.” She smiled and nodded.

We were to hear “five minutes” quite a few times during our trip. We weren’t sure whether it was just a stock answer or whether it might have been used to represent whatever the real measure of time or distance might be. Sometimes, it actually took five minutes. Most times, it took longer. This was one of those times.

So, we walked down to the light (in the opposite direction from where we were supposed to go), crossed the street, and walked the two long blocks to the corner with the signal.

We turned left, as directed. We went one block. No sign of Hertz. So, we went another block and then another. Finally, Larry pointed. “There it is.” I had to look hard to see the Hertz logo on the side of the building another block away and across another street. 

We finally reached the office—an empty office. No sign of anyone anywhere around. We walked around a couple of times before Larry spotted a sign on the door. It gave detailed directions to where the office had moved—five minutes away. He took a photo so we could follow the directions.

Then we started out again. This time, at least, we felt we knew where we were supposed to go.

We finally located the building the directions described. We entered and took the elevator down. We finally located the Hertz desk, about an hour and a half after we arrived at the first station. We were worn out, and we hadn’t even left town.

We had reserved a Peugeot SUV, but they didn’t have any. Instead, we were given a Citroën C8 Eurovan. Quite a nice vehicle, actually. 

Before we left home, Larry had started having nightmares about driving in Paris. We had seen how crazy the drivers were, and he felt intimidated before he ever got behind the wheel. He decided to add Bob as a second driver. Good decision.

So, we loaded up all our bags and headed out of the building. We followed the Exit signs and drove up one aisle and down another and then into the next building. After our convoluted route to locate the place, we felt as though we were doomed to spend the entire day wandering around. After driving around and around and around, we finally emerged onto the street.

The traffic seemed intimidating, but once we were out of the city, the trip got easier. We followed the built-in GPS (converted for English) without any issues.

At last, we arrived in Geverny, hungry and tired.

Next blog: Day 9 continued: Le Rouge Gorge and the Monet Museum in Giverny


  1. Replies
    1. We can laugh at this now, but at the time, it was most frustrating!

  2. People often forget to record these frustrating realities of travel...

    1. We have rented cars all over the world without incident. Our travel agent at AAA booked the car. She would have had no idea about the office move since it happened a couple of weeks before we arrived, and we made the reservations in January. Fortunately, when we get far enough away, we cna laugh about i.