with Teena Hughes

Day 04 : buying a cellphone in Paris

June 9, 2008 No Comments

Didn’t update the blog today as my right hand/wrist is giving me lots of grief and I just have to rest it. Update: After almost a day of rest, I’ll type just a wee bit and update my Monday :-) It was a fabulously sunny day and quite warm after 2 days of chilly overcast weather. I headed out to the Metro and went 5 stops to Pigalle, and thought I’d walked to Barbes-Rochechouart.

It didn’t look far on the map … Just to be sure, I stopped a postman and asked and he assured me I should not walk, but should take the metro or the bus. OK – so I got the bus and I really could have walked :-) My carnet of 10 tickets is almost finished, I might buy a weekly ticket.

Metro/bus tickets are 1.50 euro each. A carnet of 10 is 11.00 euro.

Metro/bus tickets have to be kept until departing the metro or bus, as you can be stopped at any time and asked to show your ticket, and sometimes in the metro you need your ticket to exit the automatic doors. I got off the bus at Barbes-Rochechouart, and it brought back many memories. When I lived in Paris in the early 80s, I’d been told about the great fabric stores so took the metro across Paris and landed here. I thought I’d gone to a foreign country! Everyone was wearing long floaty clothing, men and women, and I was a naiive young thang way back when :-) It was very exotic, and my sister’s constant letter sign-off of, “Watch out for white slave traders!” kept popping into my head.

I’m older and wiser today and thoroughly enjoy all the different modes of clothing which makes for a truly delightful fabric district. As I crossed the street, a big yellow sign caught my eye – SFR – ahhhh this was the mobile phone company Gabrielle had recommended! So in I ventured, and half an hour later walked out with my own French phone, a pay-as-you-go, with SMS and my very own French cellphone number.

I spent the morning moseying around the fabric stores, ducking down little narrow cobblestone streets, finding tiny weeny haberdashery stores and basically having a great time. As I rounded a corner I saw a familiar site – Jan, wish you were here to see this too – the gorgeous Pylones gift store. Yes, this is where I bought my gorgeous umbrella last year :-) I spent a yummy half an hour browsing and wanted to buy it all!
As I ended up walking back to the foot of Montmartre’s Sacre Coeur, and it was time for a break, I wandered away from the tourists and looked for a little place to have lunch, far from the madding crowd.

I found a little pizza restaurant about 10 feet wide, which could seat about 20 people, and the owner was standing outside to encourage people in.

There were several fixed price menus starting from 8.50 euro, so in I went. For that price, I got a salade verte (green salad), choice of pizza or pasta, and a dessert. I was the only customer, and the owner was the only staff, so we chatted and it was a delightful break.

Gave me a chance to look at the cellphone and add my friend’s phone numbers.

As I waved goodbye, I moseyed further up the same street – rue de Trois Freres – street of Three Brothers – and it was getting quieter as I got further away from the tourist bits.

I turned down a side street, heading down the hill away from Sacre Coeur, and much to my delight this brought me out at Abbesses, the metro where I met Gabrielle on Saturday, and a direct line to my metro stop – so off I went down into the metro.

When I got back to Marx Domoy, the lady in the boulangerie waved so I popped in for a quick chat and bought a baguette, then walked back home for a nice hot cup of Earl Grey and played more with my phone, so excited to have a local number. When my friend Gabrielle rang later in the evening, I told her I couldn’t get the tv or stereo to work, and she said, “In France you have to press 1 on the remote to get it to work!” Ahhhhhhhh excellent info! So I did, and it did, and I was able to stay up till 10:30pm. I can safely say I’m now in the local time zone :-)


a night in paris, fabric stores, montmartre, pylones.com, rue des trois freres, teena hughes

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