La Défense and Grocery Shopping
I was not aware that the RER station for La Défense was only one-stop outside of the metro system, so I used one of the T+ tickets I bought previously in a carnet of ten. Like with any metro ticket, I insterted it into the turnstile but it rejected it. Apparently this happens often, due to demagnetisation of the ticketing strip. Oops! I had my magnetic money clip right next to it last night.
I asked one of the RATP officers to help me out, he directed me to the ticketing window where the lady behind the glass easily replaced the ticket for me. I am concerned that the other tickets that I have in my wallet are all demagnetised- oh well, we will see.
I had to change trains at Charles de Gaulle Étoile and get the RER (not attached to the metro system) to La Défense. There was another turnstile to pass, I tried my normal T+ tickets but they did not work (again, I thought it was due to demagnetisation). I went to the ticketing machine (as there was not a manned ticketing window here) and purchased another normal T+ ticket, hoping this time that the properly magnetised ticket would allow me passage. Alas, no, it did not work. I went back to the ticketing machine and purchased a “Regional” ticket (outside the Îsle de France, which is what the Paris metropolitan area is called). Just one stop.
I boarded the train and after the doors closed I could already sense the speed increasing dramatically. While nothing was really quite visible outside of the train (we were inside a tunnel) you could hear the whistling of the air rushing past the train, increasing in pitch as we continued to accelerate.
Actually, now that I have done the calculation, the speed was only around 85km/hour. We travelled 7km in 5 minutes, maybe less time.
The Arche de La Défense is a modern monument and building that was designed to represent the modern achievements and progress of humankind, as opposed to the Arc de Triomphe, which is for a militaristic victory. It’s huge. You could really only marvel at the size of the monument, but little more. Apparently it has trajectory lines to the Musée du Louvre and L’Arc de triomphe.
I glanced up at it, walked 150m and then took one more look back. I did not get any sense of awe, pity.
My next stop was the Auchan supermarket, it really is a supermarket. Downstairs, as you would expect is all the fresh produce and packaged products. I loved learning all the French words for everything. Here are a few of my favourite examples:
- saucisse – sausage
- volaille – poultry
- haricot – beans
- poivre – pepper/capsicum
- pain complet – wholemeal bread
- pain multicéréales – multigrain bread
- langue de bœuf entière – whole ox tongue
- tripes de bœuf – tripe
- conserve de poissons – tinned fish