We had bought our train tickets from the girl with the brown eyes a few days ago, and booked on the train to leave Paris St Lazare at 10:10. This was a different station to the one we arrived into Paris a few days ago, seems like a week.
It’s always good to get to the station half an hour early – 9:30.
Best route was two Metro trains, changing at the big Republique station, and we needed to allow for the crush of passengers, us with packs, and the chance we would get separated by carriage or train.
To reduce the complexity, we walked the 1.9km from the apartment to Republique Metro. This was a good move, as although we got onto the train via separate doors and separate carriages, could we get OFF again? We all stood in the doorway area to give us the best chance. The first few stations had a few more people get on, then the next a lot got off. All was going to be okay!
Maybe not. The next station was packed and ten more squeezed onto my section, how I don’t know. I wasn’t far from the door, 1.5m maybe. Let’s hope a few people wanted to get off at the next stop at st Augustin with me and my packs and me would get carried along. Nope. St Augustin was packed too, I was the only one leaving. I had lost sight of Cass at one end of the carriage, Chris and Jacob were at the other. Kerry was I. Another carriage.
After lots of loud Pardon, Excuse Me, and a bit of pushing, the family all spilled out from their crushes, complete with packs and dignity, through the mass on the platform and to the back wall, which had become our custom so we could gather our bearings before heading off. This was a more joyful and relieved reunion than ever before, and the decision to only do this once was well and truly justified. Fortunately the walk from Marie’s apartment was all down hill, so made it a lot easier. Jacob’s not well so too much strain could have made it a lot worse.
A short walk on the surface brought us to the St Lazare station with it’s 27 platforms 50 minutes after leaving. Before we left Marie’s 1 person apartment, we’d got the sheets washed and dried at the Lavarie across the road, fed and watered the cat whose life consisted of living within the apartment, perhaps 30sqm.
Our train was listed on the board, but with no platform. With about 15 min to go it came up on the display and a couple from Melbourne explained we had to validate the ticket prior to entry. This was written in French on the the ticket, but not obvious anywhere for us. Saved by the Melbourniers, and by the girl with the brown eyes who had booked us allocated seats (not what we were used to with the Eurail pass) we found our way to our nice seats on the train and are currently traveling backwards to Caen where we will pick up the hire car for our next big adventure.