Saturday, July 16, 2011

Our Last Evening in Paris

After all of the walking and sightseeing, we were ready to sit down, rest, and fill our tummies.  We strolled through Bastille, the neighborhood where our hotel was located, and found this little cafe.  

This appetizer was to die for.  It was Beef Carpaccio with Parmesan, served with fresh French bread.  

Yum...I could eat every bite of that again.  Right now.

The food was so good, even Jamie couldn't stop talking about it. :) 

After dinner, we walked around for a little while, and then we decided to go back to our hotel.  We couldn't wait to be reunited with our luggage, and nothing sounded better than a shower and clean clothes.  

Around 8:00, when we arrived at the hotel, we immediately stopped by the front desk to see if our luggage was there, or up in our room.  

"Bonsoir, sir.  Do you happen to know if our luggage is here or up in our room."

(Enter apologetic face and broken English) "Oh, ma'am, I know you were expecting that luggage, but nothing came for you today."

"What???  Are you sure?  What are those bags over there?"

"These are not yours ma'am, I am sorry."

Jamie, in the same state of denial, insisted that our bags might have been left upstairs in our room, before the said clerk came on shift.  So we journeyed upstairs--holding on to every last bit of hope.

No luggage. 

We went back downstairs.  

"Can you please call the airport and find out where our bags could possibly be?  See, we are leaving for Germany tomorrow morning at 7:00, so it's crucial that we get our bags tonight."

"Umm, ma'am, I am sorry but I think the airport might have closed (looking at clock).  Well no, I will try, but I can not promise you that they will answer; they have very short staff on Sundays."

"Please, just try." 

While he was on the phone, Jamie muttered, "I knew that we'd never see our luggage again." 

"Well then why did we check it?" I asked, in a frustrated tone.  

Paris was losing its romance. 

We could tell that the clerk wasn't giving the search his 100%, and soon he just hung up the phone and shrugged his shoulders.  "Sorry, I could not get anyone to answer the phone."  

At this point, Jamie took charge, looked at me with his most serious face, and asked, "Do you ever want to see your luggage again?"

"Of course I do," I exclaimed.  

"Then we have to go to the airport," he said, matter-of-factly.

What a brilliant idea.  Why hadn't I thought of that?  We quickly went into action-mode, pulled out our map of the Metro, and asked the clerk to advise us on the best way to get there.

He advised us all right.  He advised us not to go. 

"Oh, you will never make it...the airport closes at 10:00 this evening and it takes at least one hour to reach the airport by Metro....then the last Metro comes back at 11:00 and that will be hard for you to get home..."

Cutting him off, I said "Please, just tell us."  Of course we won't make it if we operate in your speed of choice: SLOW motion. 

Grabbing the map, we set off.  We left behind anything that might weigh us down, including my camera.  Excitement was high and adrenaline was running.  So much for our relaxing evening.  

Surprise of the vacation: our metro tickets didn't work.  And no one was manning the ticket counter, so we hopped over and on...thankful that we didn't have babies, strollers, a dog, or arthritis.

Jamie, on a roll, told me that we needed to tell the agents at the airport that we knew our luggage was there, even though we hadn't confirmed anything--online or over the phone.  This was our last chance to have clean clothes and, according to Jamie, ever see our luggage again.  

We weren't sure which of the two airport stops to take, but we looked around and made our best guess based on the people getting off at each stop.  We then ran through the airport, past people turning off this machine and locking that door, frantically searching for someone that could help us. 

Finally, we reached the Delta counter and began the process of getting our luggage.  Jamie's plan was a good one, because the clerk acted like she could not find the luggage, and she kept making dramatic faces so that we wouldn't get our hopes up.  We calmly reassured her that we would not leave the airport until our luggage was found.  

With a relieved expression, she told us that the luggage had been found and that it would be coming through, on the conveyor belt, in 10 to 15 minutes.  She then clocked out for the night and waved good-bye to us.  Shocked, and fighting feelings of betrayal, we waited.  Our options were limited.

20 minutes later, as we were making small-talk with the security guards, the conveyor belt started up.  We finally had our luggage!  We were jumping for joy and screaming with excitement.  Jamie, looking at his watch, cut our celebration short; time was ticking and we had to catch the last Metro of the night.  We said goodbye to the guards and started running the long distance back to the the subway stop--dragging and twisting our suitcases behind us. 

When we arrived at the gate to get onto the Metro, we panicked when we realized that, again, our tickets weren't working.  There was no one at the ticket counter.  We even made a lot of noise, trying to rally some nearby security guard that might be able to help us.  Jamie began fumbling with the ticket kiosk, but all instructions were in French.  We weren't sure which ticket to buy, so we stood there, like tourists, sounding out each one of the French words, hoping that we might make out a familiar sound...or something.  And in the middle of our Madlib decoding, we heard the final Metro of the night--screeching to a halt.  

I, in a surge of panic, screamed, "Jamie, we have to get on that thing!"  

He glancing around at the four cameras mounted on the wall, asked, "Do you see those cameras?"

"Yes, I see those cameras," I exclaimed, throwing my suitcase over the barriers and setting off the security alarms.  "I hope that someone comes, maybe then they can help us!"

But the airport remained deserted.  And after hoisting ourselves over the six-foot-tall barrier, we made it onto the Metro.  And we made it back to our hotel. 

And outside of our hotel stood the clerk, the one who said we would never make it, smoking a cigarette.  And we rolled up with our suitcases and just smiled. 


  1. Please continue your journal of this trip. I WANT MORE!!!! But, 1. Please and thank you. Liz

  2. I am an idiot and behind the times. Please forgive my previous message. I will catch up. Thank you...LIZ

  3. You guys must have been crazy! That is a great story of a stranger in Paris! You have to make a movie of your next adventure! lol Rich

  4. Liz, you make me laugh and I miss you! Thanks for reading. And yes, unfortunately you have to read from the bottom up to get everything in order. Stay tuned for Germany and Amsterdam! Love you!

    Rich, it was such a crazy time, and we were exhausted, but it was so much fun. Thanks for reading! We love and miss you guys!!!