Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday 3 May - Tramways and other stuff.

Bill and I took the metro to La Defence and came up to ground level to see this amazing structure.  While there, we received  the finger.
The T2 tramway from La Defence to Porte de Versailles is built on railway right of way and uses five-section trams.  A smartly dressed good looking young woman forced the ran for the tram and forced the door popen as the driver was about to leave.  He opened the door to the passenger compartment and told her in n o uncertain terms not to force the doors back.  She replied in a small voice "Pardon."
The newly opened extension from Issy, Val de Seine to Porte de Versailles tunnels under the railway and then finishes up close to the Exposition Centre at Porte de Versailles.
At Porte de Versailles
At Porte de Versailles
We took the opportunity to get a cafe au lait at a cafe across from the tram stop and then we took the T3 tram to Porte d'Ivry.  This uses seven unit trams and is well established down grass median strips.  The trams operate the traffic signals so they receive priority.  We were only stopped once at lights and that was where the tram had to cross the right hand lane.
Porte de Versailles
Track Inspection at Porte d'Ivry
At Porte d'Ivry

 Click above to see all my pictures of Paris Tramways
There followed an interval in a model shop near the Quai de la Gare - exquisite models, many of them and very high prices.  We then walked to the Gare d'Austerlitz and had a sandwich watching the lack of action.  Most of the trains here are loco hauled using traditional coaches.  This must be the lowest used terminal in Paris.  There were some items of interest, however:
We saw the Spanish Talgo depart.
A face only a mother could love.
Two faces only a mother could love
Supervisors use Segways to get around
There is a set sequence to getting a train away.  Intending passengers wait by the Waiting Room until the train is posted and the gate given.  There is then a mad rush for the platform and everybody mills around the Composteurs - the yellow machines that are used to validate their tickets.  Then the fun begins as they find the way to their car and seat.  They are assisted by SNCF staff in grey and maroon uniforms, with flat hats which have a narrow stripe.  The platform departure information is taken down about two minutes before the train is due to depart in order to confuse late comers and the whistling starts.  This way the train leaves on time then the supervisor arrives on his Segway to verify this, then all the station staff, maroon and gray as well as those in fluorescent yellow and green, all shake hands congratulating themselves for a job well done.  The station then falls into a somnolent state until the next spell of activity some twenty minutes hence.

A quick look in the Jardin des Plantes revealed a colorful display of poppies and then it was to another model shop close to the Sentier metro station.
On the way in from Villiers Bill bought three macarons.  The assistant was correct yesterday in saying that the mille feuilles were the best in Paris - she corrected herself saying that they were the best in the world but the macarons were also very good.

For dinner this evening we went to Le Relais de Venise.  There was a long line up when the doors opened at 1900.  We were shoehorned into a table and we had the salade by 1910.  There is only one main course (no menu) so the only choice is how the meat is done and the wine.  Bill and Mary had vacharin for desert, ice cream, coffee and vanilla, layered between merinque and topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.  The whole is eight inches tall.  It is impossible to get into it without toppling it on its side.

Madame helped us leave.  She gave Bill directions on where to stand and then angled the table out so we could get out.

We walked home to work down the meal.

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