Paris, France

We spent Easter 2004 in Paris. The Pierre et Vacances Hotel in Val de Marne was a bit inconveniently situated and rather far from the center, but it was close to Disneyland and almost part of a nice shopping mall. We had a lovely apartment with two rooms and a kitchen, and although the view was not very pleasing we were contented with it. Besides, the public transport ran smoothly most of the time so that it took us less than 30 minutes to reach the center. Except on the first day.

The Croatia Airlines plane landed in the morning so we headed straight for the hotel to check in. We never spend a lot of time in the room, so we immediately got on an RER train and soon we were on top of the Eiffel Tower. Actually, it took us more to reach the lift than to get there from Val de Marne, such were the lines of people, eager to see all the landmarks of Paris from its summit. My son wanted an Eiffel Tower souvenir so we bought one from a street seller. What a ripoff! Later we found those of better quality for half the price.

Anyway, on our way back to the hotel we heard about a bomb call and all the trains and subways stopped running. Luckily, it was a hoax, but it was terrifying, especially because all the announcements were made in French only. However, the Parisians were kind and sympathetic and willing to translate and explain everything. It took us three hours to get to the hotel. Over the next few days we could see more police officers with guns and dogs than would be usual, and although this made us feel slightly uncomfortable it also made us feel safer.
Apart from that the whole stay in Paris was terrific.

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