Many hours were spent planning our trip to France. We were flying United Airlines from Atlanta to Chicago then connecting with another flight to Paris. The savings on the special fare made up for the studio downtown Paris I had rented for the last week of our stay. We were leaving Atlanta on Tuesday 26 April to return home on May 19th. On Sunday April 24th I sent an email to the studio’s owner to fix a meeting time. On Monday they replied that the studio was no longer available. So a day prior to our leaving, Easter Monday which is a holiday in France, I had to spend hours trying to find another studio instead of packing our suitcases! But I found one and by 3 am Tuesday morning our suitcases were packed. We arrived at the Atlanta airport in plenty of time but unfortunately, because of bad storms and tornadoes up north, we deplaned in Chicago at 5:40 pm. We rushed to the other terminal hoping to reach our connecting flight in time which was to depart at 6:00 PM.
Click on collage to enlarge, then click on each pictureWe had time to catch our Air France flight to Paris so I tried to find some wedding souvenir at the airport shop. The choice was very limited as they were sold out of many items. I did buy some tea though.
We arrived at the gate at 5:55 PM, the aircraft was still there but the door was closed – I am sure our seats had been given away. We watched as the plane backed off the ramp and slowly rolled away – without us. It was a terrible feeling.
There was a flight going to London at 9:00 PM we were told, then once in London we could connect to another flight to Paris. This is what we did. The plane had many groups of happy tourists on board flying to London to watch The Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on Friday 29th, but this was not a detour we had anticipated. The 8 ½ hour flight went smoothly and as we approached Heathrow Airport the weather looked fine from my aircraft window.
When we arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, around 1:00 PM on Wednesday 27th, our luggage did not show up. We made a report then took the train to the little town – about 1 hour from Paris – where my cousins live. The next day we had to go back to Paris to make arrangements for the studio with the owners. We brushed our traveling clothes and went back to Paris – we had no report on our luggage. The new studio was in the Marais area of Paris which I know well since my mother had a flat there for several years. The studio looked OK but had no computer access. The owners invited us to their flat so I could send a quick email to our daughters. I enjoyed taking pictures of the view from their 5th floor apartment. We could even see the top of Notre Dame de Paris from their window.
By Friday 29th we were quite tired and happy to stay home with our cousins and watch TV. My cousin had prepared a special meal to celebrate – I thought it was for our arrival… no, it was to accompany the viewing of The Wedding on TV. We started with my cousin’s special cocktail.
Watching The Wedding had not been in my prepared plans, but then the detour to London had not been planned either. I decided to take many pictures since the television format in France is quite fine and pictures usually look pretty good. In 1942 the US decided to use the NTSC format (National Television Standards Committee) which has 525 lines of resolution. At that time this was good enough for black and white transmission. Europe, Australia and part of Asia selected the competing format called PAL, or Phase Alternating Line. This system was created after the advent of color broadcasting. It has 625 lines of resolution which give better picture quality and color signals truer to the original image. This is the reason that European videos cannot be seen on US televisions.
The pictures were very clear. We saw the ceremony better than if we had been sitting in Westminster Abbey really.
Actually while sipping my cocktail I now realize that I took over 250 pictures – way too many.
Below is a small selection.
Click on collage then click on each picture for better viewing
My cousin told me that Prince Albert of Monaco (the son of the former Grace Kelly) is to wed his South African swimmer girl-friend, Charlene Wittstock, this summer. Here they are below arriving at the Abbey.
I took another sip to wish them both good luck.
Then it was back to the pictures…
I caught “the kiss”
and English high fashion
Now it was time to call Air France to see if they had located our luggage – it had been 3 days already. They had located them… but in Los Angeles.
They finally arrived the following day, Saturday. This was not the end of our adventures though. Now I have to look at all my pictures and will talk about the rest of this trip in the coming weeks.