Now, it is time for the family to learn some French. We have Rosetta Stone French on our laptop, but we have not been practicing. It is time to dust the software off and get to it. We plan to make France our base for the next 5 months or so.
We started the day in our rented apartment in Camden Town in London, walked 10 minutes to the St. Pancras station, took the Eurostar train through the Chunnel, and
voila!…had dinner in our rented Paris apartment. We are staying in the Belleville district on the northeast side, just inside the ring road of Paris. Tomorrow, we will take the metro into the town center and see some sights. We are going to leave the museums and other tourist pay attractions for a future visit.
We are really here to pick up a Renault that we have leased for 5 months. We made a last-minute decision to get a car for the rest of of Europe leg of the trip. In England it became pretty obvious that trying to move with all our bags on trains and buses, then renting a car for a week or so to do day trips was just going to be too cumbersome. We did move pretty well through London, on the Eurostar train, then to our apartment in Paris, but to do that every time we moved…not. And the car will allow us to collect a little more stuff. Gigi has purchased some art supplies that don’t fit in our bags, for instance. Good to have, as she is enjoying painting and she can give the boys art lessons. Also, we can now bring supplies like olive oil and laundry detergent with us when we move.
Renault offers a lease program on new cars, it apparently lets them resell the relatively new cars without having to include a new-car-tax in the sale. Cars can be leased from 21 to 175 days. We are getting a brand new Kangoo, which is somewhere around the size of our old Honda CRV, I think. The gas mileage will be something like 45 mpg, however. It is a manual drive diesel engine. This engine type will probably be the future of American cars, too, since the bailed out automakers agreed to increase fleet mpg dramatically.
Paris already feels different from London. We don’t know anyone in this city. In London, we were having a great time staying with old friends. Now, looking out the window of our 8th floor apartment, this city has a much different feel. London is so flat, without many vistas due to the buildings being so tightly packed and very uniform in height - either two-story row houses or four-story blocks of apartments.
Here in Paris, we can see several different apartment blocks, some low rise, some higher, nothing very uniform in the way the buildings were built. We can see into the apartments. It is a nice evening and people have their windows open. A bit of voyerism and imagining who these Parisiennes are and what they do with their lives.