The engines rev up on the Air Canada flight. Nanou is stored beneath the seat in front of me, a blanket over my legs and her carrier, masking the fact that although her carrier is within the airline specs, the new plane has a fixed object at the front of the seat, not allowing me to push her completely under. We are at the window and our companions are two young women; one hoping to make her connection at CDG, and the other flying home to SW France. The plane has been de-iced and we are speeding down the runway. Much later a flight attendant comes to me, knowing I have a pet in the cabin, and asks if I know the rules. I say, of course, she will remain in her carrier throughout the flight. The flight attendant smiles and moves on.
I have downloaded a post that shows photos of how to navigate through CDG, and to ticketing and the RER. Nanou and I wait patiently for my one bag, and just as we were about to give up, another young man and I shout “Yes!” as the last two bags roll out. The checkpoints are then relatively easy. I let Nanou out of her carrier and the officer I expected to thoroughly check her papers, smiled, remarked how cute she was and waved us through without even looking at the paperwork. We got our tickets and boarded the RER to Paris with one change at St. Michel to a line going to the Musee D’Orsay. The stations now have more escalators, making it much easier to travel.
Coming out of the Musee D’Orsay, the light was beautiful and bright across the Seine. We strolled along familiar streets to our friends’ home where we would spend the night. By now Nanou realizes that things are different and stays close to me for comfort. It was wonderful seeing my friends and sat up late catching up before an early morning rise to take a train from Gar de Lyon to our final destination—Nice.
The five and one-half hour train ride sped through fields and on the edges of towns along the way. Our companion across the table, was a handsome Frenchman, with a laptop, phone, and wearing a wedding band. We exchanged pleasantries, and he sent me some information (albeit in French) for a book I will be researching while I am here.
Our landlady meets us at the front door to Place Wilson and shows us to what will be our home for the next three months. We stow our bags and head out to see if we can find a store and a boulangerie, and to acquaint Nanou with the small park facing our building.
We rise early in the morning and head for the market in Old Town picking up vegetables and fruits, and stopping when a lady exclaims in French—Where did you buy your shoes? Paris? Galleries Lafayette? I thanked her and said, “No, Canada.” We were invited to have a coffee with a few of her friends, at a café on the Cours Salyea, which began our introduction to the ex-pat community of Nice.