We finally get to Paris and have to pick up our luggage. If you know me at all I do NOT travel light. Just one of my many shortcomings. Mr. G. is never really too happy about having to pick up my heavy bags all of the time, but as I’ve said before he’s a really good boy. We make our way through Charles de Gaulle airport trying to fight the hoards through to immigration and to the baggage pick-up. It’s hotter than hades and we are both sweating like pigs. Beads of sweat are trickling down my back and into my poor Jimmy Choo boots (that have seen better days anyway).
It’s taking way too long to get to immigration and to baggage, my feet hurt, and I’m tired as heck. We finally get to immigration and we go through with just a snarl and a stamp. Next on to baggage pick-up and we end up having to wait for the bags so grab a free cart. Oh yeah, I remember I’m in the land of free where the government pays for everything. At the moment I’m happy about not having to pull out a credit card and fight a broken cart out of the tethered cart pile. Mr. G. spots our bags and rushes to get them. He picks up all three heavy bags and piles them high on top of the cart – along with our carry-on bags. Two good scores! Bags made it and no immigration problems. Hot dog.
We find the Hertz car rental and thank God it’s on site at the airport. We’re feeling pretty good about things so far, which was our big mistake. Getting to the Hertz car rental desk Mr. G says, “My name is NOT up on the board which is NOT a good sign.” I feel Mr. G’s agitation begin to mount. He parks me at the bolted down hard plastic chairs to watch the bags and walks up to the desk. He says to the clerk, in English, “I have a reservation, but I don’t see my name up on the board.” The clerk takes his time to muddle through paperwork and says, “I don’t see you here.” Mr. G., “But I have a reservation and reserved a Mercedes.” Clerk, “We have no more Mercedes left. We gave away the last one.” Mr. G, “I have a reservation though. See here is my paperwork that shows I have a reservation.” The next thing I hear is Mr. G yelling for me to come over to help deal with this problem like Ozzy Osbourne calling for SHARON! I come over to find out what is going on and to my surprise I access the most embarrassing and foul French that has been lying in language purgatory for over 20 years.
After two hours we drive away in a Mercedes and are off to a little suburban town, called Palaiseau, outside of Paris to get a quick bite and spend the night before heading to Brest the next morning. We get to our hotel in Palaiseau and I can tell right away that it’s one of those strange French hotels. We try to find a place to park and the gravel parking lot is totally full and it’s been raining. There is no way to pull up in front of the hotel to unload our bags even. It’s late and we’re tired from a long journey marred by our wonderful Hertz experience. We finally find a place to squeeze into in the pothole gravel parking lot. We decide to leave the bags in the car and go check in and then grab a bit in the hotel restaurant first. We walk through the parking lot and through strange walkways filled with weird props like an actual Swiss ski gondola and a life-size carved wooden Vespa. Out front they have grass hut type umbrella tables. This hotel seems confused and is pretending to be some sort of ski chalet crossed with a tiki hut.
We try to find the hotel front desk, but there doesn’t seem to be one. I finally walk into the busy restaurant and find the little front desk in there amongst people drinking at the bar. What looks like the head waitress comes up to us and I tell her that we need to check in. She checks us in quickly and I ask if there is a porter to help us with the bags. She says that there is not, but she can help us later. Sigh…. We are shown to our room, which is up three flights of narrow stairs. Mr. G is NOT going to be happy about getting these bags up these stairs. I get that “I told you not to pack so much” look.
The room is just as bizarre as the rest of the hotel. There is a dollhouse size sauna that smells like B.O. and the room looks like a ski lodge room. We quickly close the room door and head down to the restaurant. We are both starving. We’re shown to a table in the front and I keep wondering what that smell is. I ask Mr. G if he smells something and he thinks for a moment. He says, “yes, it smells like someone has boiled disgusting vinegar for hours.” Yup, that’s the smell alright. This place served mostly crepes and quite frankly I just wasn’t in the mood for crepes. Mr. G and I ordered steak, salad and Lyonnais style potatoes. The only thing edible was the potatoes. We “finished” and had “World Class” touted ice creams that were just ok.
After finishing dinner we still needed to get or bags out of the car. Poor Mr. G was super tired so we both make the trek out to the gravel parking lot. We got the bags out of the car and I began to wheel mine on the gravel, which didn’t work too well and started to annoy tired Mr. G. He said, “let me just carry them one by one.” He managed to get one into the hotel and wrestled it up the stairs. By this time the waitress was done with customers and was smoking under one of the tiki huts. She was super nice to get up and help with the rest of the bags. Finally all of the bags were in the room.
Next important thing to do was to make sure the Internet connection worked. I think that you can guess that it didn’t work at all. No surprise there. Oh well. The next thing to do was to take a quick bath because I just felt plain gross. After getting out of the bath I was not going into the stinky toy sauna so just dried myself with the tiny bath towel. Tried to dry my hair and remembered how bad France’s hair dryers are. Threw my pajamas on and fell into bed. Slept ok, woke up and drank some instant coffee that was provided in the room along with an electric kettle. Actually, the coffee wasn’t too bad.
Got the bags back into the car and left the bizarre hotel. Headed toward Chartres, on the way to Brest, looking for a proper cup of coffee and a pain au chocolate.