D a v i d A l e x a n d e r
Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, Palo Alto CA
A Week in Paris
Massy-Palaiseau sounds beautiful and the train station showed it to be pretty much like most suburbs of Paris with a little bakery on the corner outside the station and a newspaper and cigarette shop beside it. We anticipated a nice short walk to our hotel past lots of lovely old brick cottages with the occasional bistro and bakery to provide sustenance on the way. Well, it seems Massy-Palaiseau is the regional headquarters for French Telecom (the national telephone company) and is not much more than a commuter town and Industrial Park. Our hotel was slap bang in the Industrial Park and directly under the flight path for Paris' other major airport, Orly. The hotel itself was actually quite comfortable, just not quite what we were expecting. We decided to head out for lunch and give the town a chance; perhaps we had only seen the worst part of it. The lady at the front desk laughed out loud when we asked if there was a restaurant nearby. It seems we had chosen the only town in the whole of France without a restaurant. We ate in the hotel and contemplated our options. The main advantage to this place was that it was only 10 minutes from where the workshop was being held and only 30 minutes from the center of Paris. We made a plan to stay put through Friday then move up to the city for the weekend. (We had to stay over a Saturday night to get the cheap air fares.)
After lunch, I went to my room to take a nap, agreeing to meet Lyndsay at 6 pm to head up to Paris for dinner. An afternoon nap is a good way for me to get over the fatigue of jet lag. After 3 hours sleep and a shower I was ready for anything. We took the train to Saint Michel where one can find the Ile de la Cite and the cathedral of Notre Dame as well as a large number of wonderful restaurants. After a nice meal we headed back for an early night so we could be ready for the beginning of the workshop in the morning.