To Paris, in the Middle of Disturbance

To Paris, in the Middle of Disturbance

[ Dec.2018 ] We went to Paris to see the ballet in early December.

Paris and all over France have been troubled every Saturday by the demonstration of the “Yellow Vest Movement”, the anti-government movement, since the middle of November.

We knew already the day before travelling that the ballet at Palais Garnier had been postponed.

However, we had another ballet booked for Sunday, as well as meeting with our friends in Paris and another friend who had moved from London to France because of Brexit.

This time, we flew there instead of taking train.

One thing that surprised me at the Charles de Gaulle Airport was that some of the information at the baggage claim area was written only in French and Chinese and not in English.

From the airport, we decided to take a bus because I remembered that there was a bus that goes straight to the Opera area, where we had booked a hotel.

We tried to buy the bus ticket from the vending machine, but the credit card function was broken and it did not accept €50 notes.

We had to buy unnecessary chocolate to break the €50.

I imagine that living in Paris is not easy.

At the bus stop, this time the information was written in French, English and Japanese and not Chinese.

That could be because most Chinese tourists are still in groups, but more and more Japanese tourists are now travelling independently, so the bus users are more likely to be Japanese.

As expected, the people who got on this bus were mostly Japanese.

The journey was supposed to take about one hour, but because of the heavy traffic and the trouble of the bus itself, it took as long as two hours.

On the way, we went through the Banlieue area, which is famous for having many poor immigrants living there currently.

We saw a row of immigrants sitting on the low wall facing the motorway, which was rather disturbing.  

In fact, later, our friend told me that there were recent reports of incidents where, during traffic jams on the motorway, people broke car windows and snatched bags from the laps of the passengers.

They say that the train journey between the airport and the centre is not safe either.

Anyway, we finally arrived at the Paris Opera area and we walked to the hotel.

In the cold rain, we saw some people working on nailing a board on to the shop walls.

They were preparing for the “Yellow Vest” demonstration scheduled the next day.

Our hotel this time was Hotel France D’Antin Opera.

The good news for me was that the receptionist spoke very good Japanese.

Apparently, he lived in Japan for two years and said “My wife is Japanese” in Japanese.

The hotel rooms in Paris are often as small as a prison cell and this one, too, had small rooms.

The bathroom was as tiny as the bath unit in Japanese business hotels but all the necessary thing were there and it was well designed for users.

After a short rest, we looked for a restaurant.

When we asked the receptionist to recommend a good French restaurant, he looked for some restaurant cards on the desk, saying “I know good Japanese restaurants, but not French”.

He finally found a card and we went to that restaurant, which was called Bistro Regent.

It was a restaurant with the cheap set menu and the clientele were the sort of people who look for a cheap deal.

However, the atmosphere was not bad and the waitress let us taste three kinds of wine before we ordered one of them.

We ate Entrecote steak for two, which was good.

They served a huge amount of French fries and green salad in the big metal bowl.