Accidental Tourist

When my companion fell on the Métro, that trip to Paris tripled in price

How an attempt to save some cash ended with a cab ride to Emergency — and spending, spending, spending

07 March 2021 - 00:00

A frosty night in late January 2020. We are on our fourth and last day in Paris. It's 10.30pm at Charles de Gaulle. We've just landed on an easyJet flight from Nice after a day in the warmer French Riviera — Paris is bitterly cold at this time of year. Our hotel is on Rue de Constantinople in the 8th arrondissement, 30km from the airport. Our plan is simple on this trip: save as many euros as we can. As we're skipping unnecessary meals, cheap baguettes are on the diet.

The Uber app quotes €65 (R1,160) for the cheapest ride from the airport to the hotel. We eliminate that option. Time to put plan B into motion. Take the commuter train from the airport, switch to the Paris Métro near St Denis and connect twice on the zig-zag until Line 13 to Gare Saint-Lazare, a few blocks from the hotel. We'd already had a two-day practical crash course on the Paris Métro; we could do this. Plus, the entire trip would be €40 cheaper. Save euros, that's the mission, remember?..

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