My theme – “26 Things I’d Like To See During Our Trip To France”
T is for “TGV”
What is this? Qu’est-ce que c’est ?
C’est le “Train à Grande Vitesse“, in English “High-speed Train.” I will admit that I haven’t done too much research yet, and that it’s quite foreign to me as these types of trains don’t exist in the US. Indeed, train travel is extremely limited here with relatively few train routes which are at best connected together by the standard-issue “greyhound bus” which originates in the standard-issue bus depots. Those are always located in the worst part of every town, and stereotypically populated by unsavory characters. In the US, I always travel by car or by airplane. So I really want to experience a Cool European Train. So we plan to ride a lot of them! The TGV will take us from Paris to Provence, and I am excited to go, if just a bit nervous about buying tickets, finding the right platform (I hope it’s easier than finding platform 9 3/4 !) not forgetting anything, having proper train etiquette, and just plain not missing the darn thing! All probably irrational fears, no doubt.
Where is it? Où est-ce?
It seems like a lot of fun, and something completely foreign and new to me. We just don’t have this kind of thing aux États-Unis. (In the USA) It seems like we favor air travel here, and not without reason, I suppose. Funny thing about air travel: first of all, I do love my job. Truly. But when it comes to traveling for my own pleasure, my job has changed how I view traveling. Spending time in an airport just feels like I’m at work. Depending on where we go, I sometimes even run into my colleagues. Ugh. (I love the French word for that: Beurk.) Even after getting “there” I now refuse to stay in a hotel. I stay in hotels all the time. They’re all the same, and when I wake up in one, I don’t think, “Cool! A hotel…must be on vacation!” Instead, I think, “What time is it here. Where is “here” again?” Is there free breakfast? Where is the closest Starbucks. The coffee in this place is awful. What time is the van to the airport for my flight out.” So when my husband and I travel, I insist on staying in a bed and breakfast (like an “auberge”), or a vacation rental (like a “gîte”), and never (ok, hardly ever – only for a short night or when we arrive late at the airport, for instance) in a “standard-issue” hotel with a “familiar” brand name. So traveling by train is exciting and new and most importantly, not an airport!! Plus, ground travel is the only way to really see any countryside, and in a train, someone else is driving. That way we can do some proper gawking at the French paysage (countryside). Even if it’s going by à grande vitesse…
And you, dear A to Z-ers? Et vous ?
S’il vous plaît, chers lecteurs, (please dear readers) If you have experience with the French train system, help out this train neophyte with all your best tips and tricks! Dites-moi !