Monday, July 6, 2009
The third and final leg of the trailblazers.com European Tour brings me to Paris, supposedly the most romantic city in the world. I have to admit that, stepping out off the Gard du Nord train station, romance is hardly the first thing that comes to mind, as the smell of urine and vice-peddling isn't really my idea of a turn on. But one shouldn't judge a city by a lone location, let alone a heavily utilized transit center, so I'm keeping an open mind.
I finally found my hotel after walking about ten blocks in the wrong direction, something I was prepared for having previously visited the city five years ago. The streets here branch off in every direction and signage is often impossible to find or nonexistent all together, but if you stay calm and keep your wits about you, navigating this city can be a fun adventure. Thus ends my Rick Steves impersonation.
I'm here to see Nicolas Batum (natch), a task I've accomplished less than 24 hours into my stay. We talked for a while at his agent's office, then walked around the city for a bit. Posts, pictures and video of that on the way soon enough.
I set out for the subway this morning, only to find the trains weren't running. Some poor soul had decided to commit suicide by laying down on the tracks. Things are tough all over.
So I ended up walking about two miles to the meet up spot, which gave me a chance to do a little sightseeing. Getting deeper into the city, I found the filth and debauchery I was greeted by at the train station gave way to a vibrant and historic landscape, a tourist paradise. One might even call it romantic.