It was a 13-hour flight to Paris from Guangzhou but I felt ready for whatever was in store for that day. (Yes, that’s how excited I was to be in France!) We landed in Charles de Gaulle Airport. It was a good thing the Schneider Electric already organized transfers from the airport to the hotel in Reuil-Malmaison.
• There is no harm in trying to ask if you feel that you are starting to get lost in the big airport. But where people are headed is generally the exit.
• Sortie is the French for exit. This comes in handy also when you try to get around the city via the metro train.
The first bunch of people we got to meet were the team from India (Ujjwala Godavarthi and Abhishek Mishra) and from China (Yu Wufei). They were apparently on the same flight from Bangalore, India. In our effort to keep track of every moment we took a series of photos using my camera (which I propped up on a tripod) during our ride to the hotel.
We finally arrived in our hotel, Novotel which was located in Rueil-Malmaison (somewhere in the suburbs of France but quite near the city central). Since the rooms weren’t ready yet, we just deposited our luggage. We rode the RER A and headed to La Défense to grab some lunch.
• Have a map with you or at least now how to read the maps in the stations.
• When you buy a ticket (billet), it will be obvious that you are a tourist because you are speaking English. But at least try to speak French. They would appreciate it! (Seriously!) Even a “Bonjour!” at the start of the sentence would make a difference.
• Be polite and say, please (S’il vous plaît!) and thank you (Merci!) .
La Défense is a business district located near Paris. It was the nearest place where we could actually buy stuff we needed, have our money changed and grab some lunch. When you get off at La Défense station, you can exit and arrive at a mall called Quatre Temps.
• If you are looking for a money changer, you wont find any inside Quatre Temps. You have to go our and go to a different building called CNIT. There is a money changer located at the ground floor.
• If you are looking for electronic stuff like an adapter for your devices, you can also find a store called FNAC inside CNIT.
Since we had to take the RER again and head back to Rueil-Malmaison, we decided to go back to Quatre Temps. We had our lunch in Quatre Temps at a place called Bla bla bar. I am not kidding the restaurant was really called bla bla :))) I had a seafood sandwhich which I wasn’t able to finish. The serving was just too big. After lunch, we headed back to the hotel.
And oh! I got to take a photo with French guys in their French outfit! 🙂