Well I have managed to get through my first day in Paris. I used the RER train to get from the airport into Paris and then throughout the day and night used the metro 8 more times!!!
I lost count how many times I got lost and I even got hugely lost twice at Gare du Nord station. Mind you it's a huge station, multi floored which has the RER trains, metros, TGV and the high speed trains connecting Paris to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, etc. ( I'm blaming my disorientation on jet lag!)
I made an error of judgement in booking my photo tour with the professional photographer too close to arrival time, and in the end was an hour late. In hindsight I shouldn't have planned anything for that first day after spending a total of 31.5 hours travelling!
But I did manage to spend 3 1/2 hours with Nadia, and hugely valued her understanding and patience. The biggest thing I learnt from her is that anyone can take reasonably satisfactory photographs, but what is more important is creating something a bit different , something which evokes emotion and fond memories, something which is able to portray the photographer as well ( plus she also taught me tons on the practical aspects).i need to heed her advice, as we were waiting at a metro station, she politely pointed out this huge poster hanging up of one of her photographs, which had been selected to promote France tourism!
The first day was basically one of those days, where if anything could go wrong, it did! I managed to find the apartment where I was staying, but I couldn't get the Internet to work with my new French SIM card, so didn't know how to contact the apartment owner. Miraculously I met a lady who knew her and let me in to the apartment block and gave me instructions. The reason this is miraculous is that the lady only knew two people in the whole apartment block, and Carole was one of them!
I had a shower and then set off to meet the group for the night ride through Paris. They immediately spotted my leadership potential and made me the leaders 'arse man', which meant I was the person bringing up the rear to make sure they don't leave anyone behind! Which was a little disappointing because she did actually have a nice arse ;-s . it did mean I got to wear a jacket like the leader wore and not the fluoro ones like everyone else, and I must have looked the part because some tourists from Finland stopped me to ask directions! I got given a free t shirt afterwards, so that was nice. It was very interesting riding a bike in Paris! The drivers, motorcyclists and cyclist do seem to be all insane ;-) it was a great outing and nicely ended with drinking red wine on the seine cruise. Catching the metro home at 11pm wasn't as bad as I thought, but yes I did get lost again!