I’ve got torn meniscus on both sides of my left knee, so it only puts up with so many stairs before it starts seriously objecting.
The French Metro, on the other hand, is a miracle of ups and downs to get to the various platforms and, being constructed in 1900, it’s not what you’d consider ADA-compliant. Ever wonder why the French are so slim? It’s all those damn stairs.
Even when there ARE elevators, they frequently only take you halfway. Then you get to navigate stairs. That REALLY fried my brain. What the hell is the point of an elevator if you still have to climb steep-ass stairs?
But you have to forgive the French because of the beauty the stairs reveal. Sacre Coeur, which we saw last night, is beyond gorgeous.
We took the Metro (down stairs, up stairs, along lengthy hallways to more stairs to finally reach the train…once we got to the station in Montmartre, found an elevator that actually worked properly).
The funicular at Sacre Coeur Cathedral, which ferries people up the mountain, is a screaming bargain at €1.90, considering that is 300 steep steps it lets you avoid.
There’s still another staircase after the funicular, but it sure saves wear & tear on the ole joints. You’re not allowed to take pictures inside the cathedral, but this was outside it.
Coming back from Sacre Coeur, we spied a gelato shop. Rhum Raisin… okay, I have NO problem translating that. YUMMMMM… yes please… Sheri had vanilla and caramel, solid pack compared to mine, which was all but slimy, it was scarcely holding its shape.
One lick revealed why. Captain Jack Sparrow mixed this batch o’ boozy iced confectionery – that amount of liquor would’ve prevented anything from freezing solid. I went kinda crosseyed. (Sheri’s comment upon tasting it: DAAAAAAAMN…)
Sadly, however, with my total lack of tolerance for alcohol, I’m a bit of an ill-tempered boozer. I slurped down my rum-with-a-small-amount-of-gelato and we get back to the Abbesses Metro and headed to the elevator. We’d had success with going up, so heck, let’s just reverse the process, right?
That’s where the problems started. First, there are no call buttons. You wait for the elevator to arrive.
Okay. Then, the floors are 0, -1, -2 and -3. Directions were all in French. When we rode up in this very same elevator, we walked up to it, the elevator arrived, we got on, someone else pushed the button and we arrived at the exit.
Sheri and I were the only ones going down. Buggered if I know, mate. I hit -1 and -2. Doors slid closed and the screen flashed a long message in French. Um… what?
The doors opened and we were facing a staircase, with a sign pointing up to our destination. Oh, hell no. Wrong floor. Let’s stay on board wait for the next floor.
A group of people speaking godknowswhat tried to climb in, not difficult because the doors weren’t closing for some reason, and that French message was still up there, and the only word I recognized was “sortie”, and no, I wasn’t about to exit, thank you. I want a ride to my floor, dammit.
Then the people said in broken English about how they couldn’t enter the elevator here. Well, THAT made n’damn sense, it must be their English. They got on the elevator, which shook ominously, and the SORTIE sign flashed again… and red lights flashed around the door.
They decided to get off and walk, saying they couldn’t get on here. Whatever. C’mon,elevator, let’s get me to the damn platform.
SORTIE. SORTIE!! <<Flashing red lights>><<Elevator shudders again>>
Sheri said something about getting off. Um…NO. I am tired. My leg hurts, my head is buzzy and I do NOT want to hike up to the platform. I am DONE. Sod this thing, close the stupid doors, let’s GO.
SORTIE. SORTIE!! <<Flashing red lights>> <<Elevator shudders yet again>>
Oh, for godssake. Sheri hopped out and noticed the sign above the door. The picture I took wasn’t clear, but it says “NO ENTRY ONTO ELEVATORS”.
Um…WHAT?? This elevator has the capability to deliver me to the platform and it effing well REFUSES? What kind of massively messed up attitude is that?
I got out to look at the sign.
The doors slid closed.
No fukking way. Not only that, the only way to get to the train in the other direction was… you guessed it… another staircase. This charming elevator takes the tourist crippies into the bowels of the City of Lights and poops them into a dungeon of stairs.
My mantra: London on Wednesday. London on Wednesday.