The Jardin des Tuileries is most famous in my mind for being the location where Tommy Ton (and many others, for that matter) shoots every Paris fashion week. For that it was rather “must-see” if you will, despite the cold cold weather. I didn’t see anyone famous or particularly well dressed even, but it was pretty. French gardens, as opposed to Chinese gardens or English gardens, are very obviously focused on symmetry – this is nothing new to anyone who has some awareness of world gardens, but that person is not I, so I thought I’d share my observation. This was apparent especially in the Luxembourg gardens, where they’d trimmed the trees to look like box hedges on stilts.
As I write this I’m sitting in a very romantic and typically Parisian spot, McDonald’s, waiting for my train. I have a Eurail pass, but no one at Eurail told me that I’d need to buy a supplementary “booking reservation” for all high-speed trains, so when I arrived at the station this morning there was an episode of sorts. It went something like this:
I went to board second class. “No, you need to get a seat reservation,” said the train man, “you have to go to the front of the train and get it from the ticket manager.” So I imagined I would walk up to some benevolent train-figure and he would say “Ah! A Eurail pass! I know you paid hundreds of dollars for that and there were no stipulations of this nature mentioned on the site, so here is a seat reservation just for you without complication.” But instead I asked the wrong man first, then turned back around and found the right man and told him I needed a seat reservation. He said, “No, you have to buy a full-price ticket.” I said “No, this is a Eurail pass I already bought my ticket I don’t need another one you’re wrong,” and he said “No,” and I said “Yes,” but with gusto, so he said “Be quiet right now or I will call the police!” (And tell them what, I want to board your train? “With gusto,” keep in mind, does not mean I was yelling – or even swearing! I think this is a French thing. If I’d been in China this would have gone a lot differently.) So I shot him a look that said “You are an angry little dwarf man,” and went to the ticket counter where indeed, I was right, I did not have to buy a full price ticket, but I was wrong, there was a booking reservation and it did cost me money. I got really lucky then, apparently, on the train coming into Paris – not only did I not pay for a supplement for the high-speed train, but no one even bothered to check my pass! Very lucky, indeed.
It’s snowing rather hard and France is not a country that’s particularly well prepared for snow, so I hope that my train isn’t canceled in the end. I will be…frustrated.
I rather need to be in Amsterdam tonight, as I’m supposed to meet a friend there that I haven’t seen in over a year…but she’s having delays too! Europe. Quel horreur!