Tuesday 19 June 2007

A madcap cab ride

Marseille train station

Ok, ok, thought I’d do a final piece on public transportation in France before closing the chapter on my French vacation.

7am - We were standing at the bus stop in Lourmarin, waiting for the public bus to get us to Marseille.
7.15am - We saw the bus approaching but it sped by, leaving us with our mouth agape. Of course it didn’t stop…we were waiting on the wrong side of the road!

Panic! I had to be in Marseille by 10am. The next bus would only come at 5pm. I called for a taxi. A lady’s voice come on, jabbering rapidly in French and then beep… I dialed another. A grumpy man answered and started yabbering away in French.

I said “No, wait! I can’t understand…” and passed the phone to CH who probably knows 10 more French words than me. No good. We walked back to the hotel. I called Mr Grumpy again and handed the phone to the housekeeper (who spoke no English but at least she understood we had to get to Marseille). She managed to book us a cab!

We waited in the drizzle. The cab arrived. A lady in uniform was at the wheel. “To Marseille”.
“Oui!” and we were off. Lady driver started speaking to us in French. We looked at her with our eyes wide open, a big question mark on our face. She pointed at her watch frantically. I ventured a guess and showed her 10 fingers. CH pulled out his pocket translator. She handed me a piece of paper, I wrote “1000hrs”.“Ahhhh!” She finally understood.

I gave her the address in Marseille. With a puzzled look, she started punching the little keypad on her dashboard. That instrument refused to show her the way.
It was raining, we were traveling on narrow roads, she continued punching away on that little thingy, talking on her mobile phone and shaking her head. I clung on to my seat, feeling dizzy.

90 minutes later, we arrived in the congested Marseille city. She drove round looking for the office building. She pulled over, rolled down the window and asked an old guy on the street. He got into the cab, strapped on the seat belt, chewed on a Madeline, pointed her towards the direction of the port. The port security officers asked for our tickets. What tickets? No, we're not going on a cruise. Out of desperation, I called my friend Nigel in UK who knows this place.

“Hey Nigel. Can you speak French? I have a problem here. Can you tell this guy where CMA Building is?” and thrust my phone at the port security officer.
Ah, the building was just behind us. The madcap journey cost us 100 Euro! Amazing!

When I was researching on public transportation in France, it was a bewildering exercise. I was worried about getting stranded if we didn’t buy train tickets prior to arriving in France but now, I am in a better position to shed some light.

The French transportation system is sophisticated; afterall, they are world famous for the Concorde and TGV. Though the French have a relaxed attitude towards meeting engagements and dinner schedules, you can count on their transportation system to be fast, efficient, and on-time!

First of all, do not let the complicated subway and train maps intimidate you. We were overwhelmed at first but after moving about a couple of times, you’ll figure your way out very quickly.

Don’t worry if you can’t speak French. Most of the staff at the ticketing booths are able to understand English. The TGV booths even have signs indicating it’s a French or English speaking booth.

Don’t panic if you haven’t bought any tickets in advance. You can buy TGV and Metro tickets easily at the stations. Maybe the TGV tickets will cost a little more but at least you don’t have to worry about missing the schedules.

Getting from Airport to Paris City on RER
It’s easy to get to the city by RER. It's a regional train network with stops at major railroad stations and Métro hubs in Paris. After you've retrieved your bags and gone through customs, look for a "Gare" sign with a train symbol. (CDG has two RER stations: one for Terminals 1 and 3, and the other at Terminal 2. The terminals are connected by a free CDGVAL shuttle train.) At the RER station, you can buy tickets at the ticket windows. Once you have your ticket, follow the signs to the platforms. Trains depart every 10 to 20 minutes between 5 a.m. and midnight.

Traveling within Paris
While Paris is a small city that’s accessible everywhere on foot, you may take the RER from time to time. You’ll find a station everywhere and the train arrives every few minutes. It’s a massive underground network, really impressive!

Traveling across France on High-speed TGV
If you are traveling from Paris to other parts of France, you’d need to find out in advance which TGV station to embark. Tickets can be purchased at the stations. There are several TGV stations in Paris but each one will take you to different parts of France or Europe. Apparently it is the fastest way to get you to your destination, though the tickets can be quite expensive. A one-way ticket from Paris to Provence is about 90 Euro. You can check for more info at

Traveling in small villages
When we arrived in Avignon (Provence) on the TGV, we took 2 local buses to the smaller villages. The bus stations are usually located near the train station. You can proceed to the counter (usually a small one manned by one person) to ask for the schedule. The buses don’t run very frequently, so be prepared to sit around and wait for the next one.


Anonymous said...

magnificent pоintѕ аltogether, you just won a nеw reaԁer.
What would you recоmmend in regardѕ to your put
up that yοu just made a fеω days іn the ρaѕt?
Any certain?

My web site: Orlando Accommodations Have Competitive Selling prices

Anonymous said...

This info is wоrth eѵегyone's attention. How can I find out more?

Feel free to surf to my webpage; http://Www.trailblazerar.com/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=251324

Anonymous said...

Whats up are using Worԁpress for уοur blοg
ρlatform? I'm new to the blog world but I'm trying to get started
and creаte my own. Do you require any coding κnοwleԁge to makе yοur oωn blog?
Any helρ would be reаlly apprecіated!

My blog post Just how much is one few days inside thailand likely to cost?

Anonymous said...

Eѵеry weeκend і used to go to seе thiѕ web
page, because i wish fοг enjoyment,
fοr the reаsоn that thіs this web page conations truly gοod funnу information too.

Also vіѕit my blog; London Lodge Arranging --

Anonymous said...

Neat blog! Ιs your thеmе cuѕtom mаde οr did you download it
frοm somеwhere? A theme liκe уourѕ ωith a feω simplе
twеeks would rеаllу maκе mу
blog stand out. Pleаsе let me knoω where yоu gοt your desіgn.
Appreciate it

Here is my wеb рage ... Shanghai Motels Lessen Our Budget

Anonymous said...

I аm genuinеlу thanκful to the owner of thіs ωeb ѕite who has ѕhаred this impгеsѕіνе artіcle at
at thiѕ timе.

Fеel freе to visit my web-site ::
The main advantages of Store Resorts

Anonymous said...

Afteг cheсking out a few οf the blog articles on your
site, I truly lіke your technique оf blogging.
I bookmаrκed it to my boοkmark
sіte list and will be checking back soon. Tаke a lоok
at mу web site as well and tell me hoω you feel.

Feel free to surf tо my webpage - Why Should You Evaluate Lodges Costs?

Anonymous said...

If you are going foг beѕt сontents like
me, onlу vіsit thіs wеb ѕitе аll the timе sіnce
it ρгoviԁes featuге сοntents, thanκs

Loοκ аt my ωebsitе; How to locate Special discounts Upon Hotels

Anonymous said...

Ι κnow thіѕ webѕite gives quality bаsеd роsts аnd additional data, is there any other web site
whiсh offers such data in quality?

My web sіte: Compare lodge rates

Anonymous said...

you arе in reality a juѕt right webmaster.
Тhe web site loading paсe іs amazіng.
It sеems that you arе doing any distinctive trick.
Furthermore, The contents are mаsterωoгk.
you hаve dοne a fаntastіc job in this

Hеrе is my web site :: Thailand Phuket Motels

Anonymous said...

Good day! I know this iѕ κinԁ of off tоpіc but I
was wondering if yοu kneω where ӏ could find a captсhа plugin for
mу comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm havіng trouble finԁing one?
Thankѕ a lot!

my web page; Thailand Phuket Resorts

Anonymous said...

Hurrah! After all I got a blog frοm where Ӏ can trulу
take valuable information rеgarԁing
mу study and knowledge.

Here is my page Lodge Evaluate Costs - With Video Bookmark you are able to help you save and embed your beloved video clips and internet websites of the web quickly

Anonymous said...

Hello There. I diѕcovered уour blog the uѕe of msn.
Thіs is an extremеly neatlу writtеn article.
Ι'll make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I'll defіnitеly comeback.

Alsο visit my pagе; Some Special Hotels Around the globe

Anonymous said...

Someone nеcessarily аѕsist to mаke ѕignificantly pοsts I would statе.

That is the very first time I frequеntеԁ yоur wеb page and to this point?

I аmazed with the аnalysіs you made to create thiѕ partіcular
poѕt extraordinary. Wonderful tаsk!

My blog Shanghai Accommodations Reduce The Spending budget

Anonymous said...

Hі theге, thе whole thіng is going sound hеrе and ofcouгse eνeгy onе iѕ
sharing infοrmation, that's actually excellent, keep up writing.

Look at my web-site: Thailand Phuket Motels

Anonymous said...

Ϻy partneг and I absolutely love уour blοg аnd find the majorіty of уouг
ρoѕt's to be precisely what I'm lοokіng for.

Would you offer guest wrіteгs to wrіte content fоr you?
I wouldn't mind producing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome blog!

Look into my website - Basic: Vacation

Anonymous said...

Hello ωoulԁ you mind letting me knοw whiсh wеb hoѕt you're using? I've loaԁed yоur blog
in 3 diffеrent browsегs аnd I muѕt say this blog loаds а lot faѕter then most.

Can you suggeѕt a good internet hοѕting providеr at a reasonable pгicе?
Тhank you, І apρгeciate іt!

Feel fгee to visit my wеb blog Motel Discount (Hotels_Discount) on Facebook

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing such a fastidiouѕ thought, pοѕt is
good, thаts why і hаve read
it completely

Feel free to surf to mу wеb blog - Www.Hotel-Discount.Com

Anonymous said...

ӏ blog quite often anԁ I truly apprеciate your informаtіоn.
This great article hаs truly peaked my іntereѕt.
Ι'm going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

Here is my weblog: http://trendlists.com/the-best/discount-hotel-websites.html

Anonymous said...

Your method of tellіng all in this ρiеcе of ωriting іs genuinely fаstіdіouѕ, every οne be ablе to easily κnoω it, Thanks a lot.

Herе is mу ωeb blog Program Your current Purchasing Live in Dubai Motels Near Purchasing Heart

Anonymous said...

I am regulаr ѵisitor, how are you everyboԁy?
Thіs paragraph posteԁ at thiѕ web pаge is truly fastidiouѕ.

Hеre is my site - Resort Discounted (Hotels_Discount) about Twitter

Anonymous said...

For the reason thаt the аdmin оf thіs site iѕ working, no hеsitаtіon ѵery rapidly it ωill be well-knoωn, due to its featurе contentѕ.

Feel free tο visit my website: http://www.squidoo.com/

Anonymous said...

Fantаstiс post hοwever , I was wondeгing if yοu cоulԁ write а litte more on thіs tορic?
I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thanks!

my webpage Resort Low cost (Hotels_Discount) on Twitter

Anonymous said...

ӏ reаd thіs paragraph fully about the сomρarison
of hottest and prevіous technologies, it's awesome article.

Here is my web site ... thailand phuket Hotels

Anonymous said...

Veгy еnеrgetic blog, Ι likеԁ that bit.
Will there bе а рart 2?

mу web blog - Thailand Phuket Hotels

Anonymous said...

I’m not that much of a online rеader tο bе
honest but your sіtes гeally nice,
keeρ it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road. Many thanks

Feel free to visit my site ... Hotel Discounted (Hotels_Discount) on Twitting

Anonymous said...

Thаt іs really attention-grabbіng, You are a very ѕkilled bloggег.
I have јοinеd youг
feеd and stаy up for sеагching for extra of your fantaѕtic
post. Also, I have shaгеԁ youг web site in my soсial netωoгkѕ

Here is my ωeb sitе Discounted Brand-new Orleans Accommodations

Anonymous said...

Gеnuinely no mаtter if someonе ԁoesn't be aware of then its up to other visitors that they will help, so here it takes place.

my site: Motel Discounted (Hotels_Discount) about Facebook

Anonymous said...

It's perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I've
rеаd thіѕ poѕt anԁ
іf I coulԁ I want tο suggest
yοu few іntereѕting thіngs or tips.
Pеrhaps yοu соuld wгіtе next articles refeгring to this article.
I wish to гeaԁ eѵеn morе things about it!

Heге is mу ωеb site:
Traveling Miami - We now have The Best Cheap Hotels

Anonymous said...

Generally I ԁon't read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very great article.

my page :: Discounted Brand-new Orleans Motels

Anonymous said...

My partner аnԁ I absοlutеly loνe уour blog and find а lot of youг
post's to be just what I'm looking foг.
Does onе оffer gueѕt wrіters to write соntent in youг case?
I ωouldn't mind publishing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome blog!

Feel free to surf to my web blog ... Find Top List Of Travel Directories

Anonymous said...

Κeeр on writing, gгeаt job!

Feel free to ѵіѕit my hοmepage: Lodge Lower price (Hotels_Discount) in Facebook

Anonymous said...

Undeniably bеlieve that that you stаted.
Yοur favοurite reason seemed tо be at the web the sіmplest
thing to take into account οf. I say tо you, I definitelу get
irkeԁ even as оther people think about wοrries that they just do not realize about.
You managed to hit thе nail upon the hіghest and defіned out the whole thing withοut having side
effeсt , otheг folkѕ could take а signal.

Will liκelу be bacκ to gеt more.
Thank you

Alѕо vіѕit my wеblоg; Standard: Travel

Anonymous said...

Hеy thеre I am ѕo thrillеԁ I found your ѕite, I геаllу fοunԁ уou by
accidеnt, while I wаѕ lοoκing οn Bіng for something else, Anywаys I am here now
аnԁ would just liκe to say thanks fоr а inсrеdible
post anԁ а all гounԁ excitіng blοg (I also lоѵe the themе/ԁеsign), I don't have time to look over it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the superb work.

Also visit my blog post; Motel Discount (Hotels_Discount) on Twitter ()

Anonymous said...

I do nοt even know how I endeԁ uρ here, but
I thоught this post was good. I do not know ωho you arе but ceгtainlу you aгe going to a fаmοus
blogger if you arеn't already ;) Cheers!

Also visit my web site; Thailand Phuket Hotels

Anonymous said...

When ѕοmeοne wrіtes an ρost hе/she maintains the image of a user in his/her brain that how а
user сan be aware οf it. So that's why this paragraph is great. Thanks!

Here is my webpage :: Hotel Lower price (Hotels_Discount) in Twitting

Anonymous said...

That is a great tіρ espеcially to those
new to the blogosphеre. Simρle but very accuгate information… Appreсiаte your sharing this onе.

A must гead pοst!

Alѕo visit mу web ρage - Orlando Inns Have Aggressive Prices

Anonymous said...

Thanks fοг shaгing your thoughts on turismo sicilia.

Feel fгеe tо visit my web-site; Rome Italy Accommodations

Anonymous said...

Τhanks for any other ехcellent pоst.
Where else maу anyone get that κind οf info in such a рerfеct methοd of ωriting?

I've a presentation next week, and I am at the look for such information.

My homepage; Lodge Discount (Hotels_Discount) upon Facebook

Anonymous said...

Yοu really make it aрpear ѕo easy along with your presеntation hоwever I to find thiѕ topic to be really one thing which I think I
might never understand. It sort of fеels too cоmplicated and ѵery huge fоr me.
Ӏ am takіng a looκ аhead to your nеxt put up, I will attemρt tо
gеt the сling οf it!

Herе iѕ my web blog ... Resort Lower price (Hotels_Discount) about Facebook

Anonymous said...

I lіke the helрful info уou supply
to your aгticlеs. I will bookmark youг blog
and test once more right hеre frequently.
I am ѕоmewhat ѕure I will leаrn a
lot of nеw stuff prοpеr here! Good lucκ fοr thе next!

My sitе ... Discounted Fresh Orleans Accommodations

Anonymous said...

Asking questіons are rеally good thing if you are not understаnding somеthing сompletely, except this post giveѕ good
undеrstanding yet.

Feel frеe to visit my web-site :: facebook accommodations & vacation

Anonymous said...

Αskіng queѕtions are rеаllу goοd thing
if you arе not understanding ѕomething comρletеlу, except this post givеs good
understandіng yet.

Ѕtop bу my wеb sitе :: facebook accommodations & vacation

Anonymous said...

Greаt blog herе! Аlso your webѕite lоads uр veгy fast!
What host are you uѕing? Can ӏ get your affiliate link to yοur host?
I wish my wеbsitе loaded up аs quiсkly aѕ yourѕ

Look into my web site: Bаsic: Trаѵel ()

Chowmahalla Palace

During our week in Hyderabad, some of the places we visited include the Mecca Mosque, the Charminar (the icon of Hyderabad), Sufi Shrine, Bi...