|We said a fond farewell to our little village of Beaulieu and the strong WiFi signal and headed south for our penultimate night in France. Expedia scored again with a great hotel find just off the main bridge in Albi. For those of you who are also following the Nordgren’s travels you will have read about how much they loved this region too.
After checking into our room we headed into the city and straight to the Henri Toulouse-Lautrec museum where unlike Paris, there wasn’t a mile long lineup. We rented the audio tour devices and indulged ourselves for about two hours in learning all we could about the works of this famous artist. In my younger days I owned (as did most of my friends at the time) the big poster of the Moulin Rouge by Lautrec so it was extra special to stand beside an original compared to my cheap poster. I left wanting more.
Next we went to the famous cathedral in the city centre and arrived in time to hear the organist practice for a concert scheduled the following day. Robert is an enthusiastic fan of organ music so he sat in a pew and was happy to stay till they chucked him out at closing. Cathédrale Ste-Cécile is described as much a fortress as a church although once inside you can see that no surface was left unpainted by the Italian artists.
We picked a café opposite a fountain for dinner and were surprised and a little awed when actor Michael Cain walked past us and went upstairs in the restaurant. I’ll report we didn’t chase for his autograph and that he was looking fit and well. ☺
On Wednesday morning we returned our car at the Touloouse airport and boarded our EasyJet flight to Orly Airport outside Paris. EasyJet is a low cost airline and they do a nice job that doesn’t feel grubby and mean spirited as the Ryanair experience did.
Outside the Orly arrivals we approached a taxi to take us to our local hotel. When the driver saw the address he pointed to another rank of taxis and said they were local and he was for Paris only. So we wheeled our suitcases over to the second rank and I bet you can guess what he said: yup, that’s right, he pointed to the first taxi rank and insisted they were the local taxis and he was Paris only. So we went back to the local rank and he tried to send us back again – we felt like a tennis ball bouncing over the net and back again. This time we insisted and a reluctant driver was hailed by one of the local guys who clearly did not want to take us and we had to agree to 25 euros for the ride. After bouncing back and forth between two separate line of taxis we declared an end to the game and jumped into the car who was willing to take us to the hotel—well, partially willing.
However our willing driver had no idea where to go and his GPS unit wasn’t cooperating so when he pulled over to phone the hotel, Robert dug Doris out of his bag and found the address. In the end it was our Doris-the-cyber-navigator who guided us safely to the destination. We left the airport at 2:04 and even with a short stop arrived at the hotel at 2:15. Best rate per minute that driver had ever earned! (the next morning the hotel transfer was free, so it averaged out.)