The train ride from Venice Italy to Paris France is 8 hours long with a 20 minute train transfer in Milan Italy. The only way to get to the train station in Venice, other than walking, is by water taxi. Riding in the canals was a fun experience, as was the train ride to Milan. But once in Milan, all the train seats faced forward, which must have confused everyone for no one could find their right seat or car. For about 20 minutes in our car it was musical chairs. Different languages were trying to settle seating disputes. Once we crossed the French border, the French National police asked everyone for their passports. At the next station stop, about 6 people were taken off the train…and taken somewhere.
We arrived late in Paris, and the next day headed for Roland Garros with a day pass we got from the 2010 Roland Garros website. We settled into Court Three and watched our first French Open match. We stayed all day at Court Three and did not roam around the grounds because the tennis was too exciting. We picked up the ground pass while in Barcelona. In Nice, we discovered that by repeatedly accessing the Viagogo website it is possible to purchase returned French Open tickets at face value. Some new tickets would show up periodically at random times. If you were fast enough, you could click the “buy option” before someone else did and snag tickets for days at Roland Garros. Tickets came and went in a matter of seconds. We got lucky enough for four additional days of reserved seats, 2 in Langlen and 2 in Chatrier. Chatrier seats 15,000 and Lenglen 10,000. All good viewing, no nose bleed sections. An interesting note about exiting the stadiums is that ushers issue you an re-entry ticket that must be shown to re-enter the stadium. Many people leaving for the day will give their re-entry ticket to the first person who asks in the waiting crowd.
The two highlights of this year’s tournament were that Roger Federer, for the first time in 23 grand slam tournaments, did not reach the semifinals and an Italian, a women, won a grand slam tournament for the first time ever. Click here for a report, of one of her matches we saw on her way to her French Open victory along with the Federer loss. Nadal’s victory brings him one win away from tying Borg’s French Open victories.
At the same time as Roland Garros, World Cup fever was rampant in the city, which I think took over all the outdoor TV viewing in the city. We were unable to find any outdoor viewing other than at Roland Garros. The viewing area there has limited space and seating. We decided we were spoiled by the Australian Open Federation Square experience.
We spent 26 days in Paris, and could have spent more to fully explore the city. We spent 3 entire days trying to see most of the Louvre and more was definitely needed to fully appreciate everything it has to offer. Paris has many museums to visit, way too many to go to all of them. We made trips to the Orsay, the Pompidou, and the Orange. Paris is a city that has attracted many famous artists for many centuries and Parisians are proud of this fact. Our favorite museum was the Dali.
The city is a fairly new-looking city with wide roadways and sidewalks with almost every restaurant having tables or chairs on the sidewalk, and there are many. Every block also seems to have a Patisserie where the best baked goods ever can be found. There is not a better baguette anywhere in the world.
There are numerous well known landmarks in the city that we did not want to miss like the Eiffel tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and Sacre Couer to name a few. Everywhere you go there are beautiful parks. One we walked through almost everyday was the Tuileries Garden, that is the entrance to the Louvre. A great walk is from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Élysées to the Louvre.
Needless to say Paris itself was a bonus besides going to Roland Garros. The 26 days went fast and we were off to London next to see if we could secure tickets for Wimbledon. We were not having luck in finding tickets… so far.