7:00am came too early and we struggled to get up and out of the hotel room, but by 7:30am we were checked out and on our way to the parking garage to get the car. Except the garage was closed... We couldn't figure out how we were supposed to get in. We checked our ticket and there it clearly stated "Closed on Sundays." How did we miss this when we parked??
We called Daniella to let her know we were going to be late and then tried to figure out what to do. Nicholas could take the train back so he could be to work on Monday, I would stay and drive the car back when the garage opened the next morning. Our great Sunday drive through France was going to be off and disappointment settled on us. Nicholas also realized that we had locked his laptop and work bag in the trunk the night before, so he would be unable to work.
Suddenly the beautiful and magical Paris turned ugly. None of the cafes were open. I was without caffeine and food. Why did everything close on Sundays in Europe? And why in the world was the parking garage in the center of Paris closed? Ugh, normal, civilized conveniences are extraordinarily rare on this side of the pond.
We trudged back to our hotel to use the internet and see if we could find anyone that could open the garage. Once we were there and told the front desk clerk what happened, he insisted that there must be some way into the garage. Nicholas had been on hold for 40 minutes trying to connect with the garage company and I frantically scanned their webpages to find any information.
We finally both just sat in the lobby- hungry, tired, un-caffeinated and unsure what to do next. Just then, another couple from the UK came to check-out. Nicholas leaned over and whispered, guiltily, that they were going to have the same issue. I asked how he could know that and he said he had recommended the garage to them when they arrived on Friday after us!
I was thrilled! At least it wasn't just us. If there was another car, surely someone would have to open the garage. Nicholas got up and explained to the man what had happened to us and that we were going to have to figure something out. The guy, also named Nicholas, told Nicholas that he was able to get into the garage late last night to grab a coat, after it was closed but he did not speak French so couldn't understand the man on the intercom...
We both exclaimed that Nicholas spoke French and would be able to communicate if the guy would only show where this intercom was. The two guys went off and I sat with the wife. She was young and it was their first time to Paris. They had driven almost 12 hrs to get here. They would have to leave soon to make the ferry back to England. I started to feel better and better as she started to feel worse and worse. I just knew that the guys would get the car.
The two of us caught up and got to know each other when we started to hear loud beeping from the street. She looked and asked if that was our car. I glanced but didn't see the car and honestly couldn't remember what rental car we had, so shook my head and said "No." Then another car was beeping and I asked her if they had a VW. She jumped up and shouted "Yes!!" Then, I ran to the door and realized Nicholas was waiting in the street for me. We both grabbed our bags and ran out the door.
Two and a half hours later than we had planned we were on our way to pick up Daniella and get out of Paris!! Never had I been so excited to leave the city :)
And our adventure continued...
And our adventure continued...