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Learn from my mistakes - Part IV - Paris 2003


After over 24 hours in the air we finally touched down at Paris-CDG Airport on a cold November morning. As we followed a group of Canadian exchange students through immigration into the baggage hall I felt my migraine ebb slightly. We had arrived!

As we watched everyone else pick up the luggage from the carousel I heard a garbled message over the PA system which included a list of names, one of which sounded like mine. At this point I knew what was going to happen next - you see, I am the unofficial Queen of Delayed Luggage. I have lost my bags in at least 3 continents and I can practically fill in a lost luggage claim form in my sleep. Sure enough we were informed that our bags had not made it on to the flight in Heathrow (not surprising given that we had only just made it on to the flight ourselves). British Airways would arrange for our bags to be on the next available flight and would courier them to our hotel (they don't always offer to do this - if it happens to you, insist that it is their fault and they should get your bags to you!). One saving grace was that we had decided not to pack our winter coats in our bags and had carried them on to the plane, so at least we would be warm.

Now, I had arranged for a limousine transfer to our hotel over the Internet and had prepaid a 50 Euro fee. We had done this before in London and it beats trying to catch public transport or getting a cab when you are exhausted and have kids in tow. The only problem was that we had been delayed inside with our baggage problem and when we walked out into the arrivals hall I couldn't locate our driver. There were plenty of other drivers waiting , just not ours. Eventually my husband found a bank teller, got some local currency and purchased a phone card so we could ring the hire company. The receptionist said that the driver was on his way and asked where to meet us - I looked up at sign above the baggage hall door and said "two". And so we waited, and waited - becoming increasingly frustrated and terse with each other. After about half an hour we decided to cut our losses and walked outside the terminal towards the taxi queue. It was then that I noticed that there were numbers above each door and those number didn't correspond to the numbers inside the terminal. So we walked to door two and there was our driver - waiting patiently beside a brand new Mercedes with a sign. I was so relieved to see him and finally be on our way to our hotel.

By now it was lunch time and the traffic in Paris was building up for the afternoon peak hour - so we slowly crawled our way into the city. Loll was extremely tired and cranky and hungry (not having eaten much on the plane) and started demanding McDonalds. Here we were in one of the gastronomical capitals of the world and all he wanted was some chicken nuggets!

After negotiating the Parisian streets our driver eventually pulled up outside our hotel. I had chosen it from an Internet site but was blown away by the location - right on the Seine opposite L'Isle de la Cité and Pont Neuf. It is an apart'hotel which means they are serviced apartments. We were offered an apartment in the marsard roof (old attic) which, although smaller, had a view over the Seine. Things were looking up!

Once in our apartment, my husband went off in search of McDonalds for our very tired and hungry four year old. I went through our cabin bags only to realise that although I had put in an extra shirt for myself I had forgotten to do so for Loll. But now that we were in the hotel he was happy as he could watch cartoons (albeit in French or German) and play on the floor:

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