La Défense and Grocery Shopping

La Défense and Grocery Shopping 

highlights: Grande Arche de La Défense; RER super fast train out of Paris; Les Quatres Temps shopping centre; Auchan supermarket; enjoying the supermarket more than I should; spending more than an hour doing groceries; learning the french words for different foods; Thumb.
La Défense is Europe’s largest business district. It lies just outside of the Paris city-limits, just one stop from being on the metro system, which means an extra few euros in travel costs each way.

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
I must have looked really strange walking around whispering to myself and picking up most things I saw. Imagine, a guy picking up the ox tongue and run his fingers against the grain whispering langue de bœuf entière, hur hur hur.
I wasn’t going to buy anything there, as I was quite some distance from the hostel. But I couldn’t help but continue to look through the supermarket.
There was a tuna salade that I picked up for €2.70. So I also bought two large ramen in a cup. I also thought about my poor backpack- so I went hunting for cable ties. I found them in the automotive section- yes there was a section for cars, gardening, clothing, etc. I’ll give ’em a go tonight and see if my backpack can be salvaged.
I also bought some cotton tips, as I am fearing that a clean once per week is not nearly enough. Gross!
I went to the Apple Store to see if they might have the simcard key that I so desperately need. The first guy sent me over to the main guy, then that main guy sent me over to a third guy. They all said the same thing, use a “trombone” (paperclip).
Tomorrow, I am planning on checking out the Château de Versailles.

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