Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Paris Day 6 : La Defense Mall Complex - Tuesday

Second day at the mall in a row? It's really day 1.5 since L hasn't seen it. It's a big mall, with really 3 McDonald's when you count the one in the connected train station, as opposed to the 2 previously reported. So it's like saying you spent another day at the Smithsonian (of shopping).

Okay, I'll quit arguing - we are slowly throwing off the tourist identity and, metro passes aside, we are resuming our suburban lives. We are arted out, tourist churched out, running for the trained out, stair climbed out.

We started later, with time to walk to the local bakery and get very fresh bread for breakfast. We went to McDonald's (1st floor, the big one, as opposed to the ones on floor 2 and floor -2). It's terrible to do in a country with so many gastronomic delights, but those delights are expensive. The wifi didn't work until I discovered a free zone on the second floor landing. Then we went to the English with French subtitles version of "Up." It's called Le Haut. I found inquiring about "Leh Howt" didn't register with the cashier because it's pronounced like wow but with an L in front of it. Again, most letters seem to be ignored. I can't try pronouncing it right without seeming to parody the language.

The movie is very sweet and entertaining and shows kinship between people in a convincing and profound way. As a cartoon, it rates higher emotionally than most live action movies.

It costs €10 because they don't distinguish between a matinee or night showing. It's 40% off if you buy a pack of 5 tickets, so we'll be back.

We found a supermarket in the mall, Auchan. It is much bigger than the market in Mantes-Jolie. It has more prepared foods, handy when you are tired of cooking after several weeks in kitchens equipped very differently from each other and from ours. We filled one reusable bag. Then we felt the problem of hauling the heavy bag. The metro/RER is at the other end of the big mall. Sitting or standing for a few minutes on the train isn't so bad. It's the stairs, the many, many stairs. Some stations have escalators and some of those work. Very few stations have elevators. At the transfer from the RER to the metro at Auber, there are escelators, under repair. The only alternative was 100 stairs going up. We looked around hoping for alternatives (maybe helium balloons like in the movie). We found none, so up we went.

Besides the normal up and down in and out of the station, there are many ups and downs as you pass over other train lines. I have spent some time putting together a train-walking-airport bus plan to get to the airport. There are just too many stairs to make the airport train option, with a couple of transfers, work with 70 lbs of luggage each. We'll walk down one set of stairs from the train station (25 tracks but no elevators) to the street level, walk a half mile to the Roisssy bus, and go straight to the airport.

I can understand the lack of elevators on some levels. With hundreds of stations, making everyone accessible is difficult. An unaccompanied mother with a stroller must ask a stranger to assist her in climbing the stairs, a need obvious enough that you don't have to understand her French request. However, this is an exception. I haven't witnessed anyone struggling with heavy luggage ask for help^. As one guidebook put it: in tourist areas, anyone offering help is going ask for money or try to scam you.

On the way home, the bus driver questioned us today,"Vatoya?" Maybe another way to pronounce Vetheuil. I guess they know we're not one of the regulars and are worried we're heading in the wrong direction.

^The assumption is that stealing babies is less likely than stealing luggage.

No comments:

Post a Comment