Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting to Versailles the other day required taking the RER C - which I usually tend to avoid because it's sort of complicated and very easy to end up elsewhere than your desired destination. I especially don't like it during August because that's when they tend to close down bits of it for construction, replacing those stops with a shuttle bus. Which was the case that particular day.

For those of you not familiar with the Parisian metro system, Versailles is in zone 4, and my pass is only for zones 1-2 so I had to buy a special ticket to get out there. And once you exit the metro system, your ticket is no longer valid. Well, that's not entirely true, they're valid for buses - but you can't use the same ticket to get back into the metro once you've exited.

The problem here being that I had to exit the metro system in order to catch the shuttle bus. And I would have to reenter it at Invalides, using my already-stamped ticket, so I wanted to make sure I would be able to do so. There were so-called Info people walking around all over because of the travaux, so I stopped to ask Girl #1, who barely looked up from her mp3 player as she said "Beats me". On to Girl #2, who said "No, it's not valid, you should take the 10 over to Javel and get on the RER C there".

Now, we were already running behind because of all of this, so the whole "take the line 10" was a less-than-ideal option, so I decided to ask one of the boys, who said "Yes, it's valid". And voilà, we've got the French trifecta right there - you ask three different people the exact same question and you'll get three completely different answers.

I decided to head upstairs to see if I could find a possibly better-informed employee at the ticket office. There was actually someone there for once, so I explained the whole situation and the woman said "Yes, of course it will work, don't you think we'd set it up that way?". I thought to myself "Well, we are in France....." but instead I just said "So you're 100% sure I'm not going to get over there and then have to buy another 3€ ticket?" Which seemed to ruffle her feathers a bit, because she slowly looked me up and down and then said "Écoutez, j'ai 25 ans de metier. Et je suis pas blonde comme vous." (Listen, I've worked here for 25 years. And I'm not blond like you).

Oh-là! Cassé-d by the RATP lady!!

But she was right, my ticket did let me back into the Invalides metro, and we did eventually make it out there, only 30 minutes later than planned.


Blogger Sally said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 26, 2009 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Sally said...

Oh my God - how rude was that woman? Did you say anything back?

August 26, 2009 at 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh boy! I hate the RER C... Anyway on to the RATP persons comment, I laughed out loud. That is so French that it just makes me smile. At least you got a response I guess...

August 26, 2009 at 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best bit is that they've probably got a concours/bts in uurm, train mangaement to be that rude and/or useless but we couldn't do that job, ever.

August 26, 2009 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger la fille en rose said...

ha! that's the best thing i've heard in a while. i love it.

August 26, 2009 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

OK, that made me laugh. T'es cassée, Sam. :p

August 26, 2009 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Starman said...

You're absolutely right about the RER being confusing. Especially if you're leaving or arriving through the Montparnasse station.

August 26, 2009 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

ugh what a pétasse...i hope you said something snarky back in defense of blonds (and innoncent foreigners) everywhere! Gawd people like that wouldnt last 2 minutes at a job in north France, they are there for life protected by whatever shit socialist system turned them all into holier-than-thou civil servants...

P.S. Please delete above comment in a day or so..let's not forget I'm applying for a resident card :)

August 27, 2009 at 2:05 AM  
Blogger Quantumhollapena said...

These are the kinds of stories I try to tell people about the differences between France and the US - namely, NO CONCEPT OF CUSTOMER SERVICE.

Ultimately, these stories are almost always ones I steal from you!

August 27, 2009 at 6:22 AM  
Blogger wcs said...

"Well, I'm not really a blond. I have ugly-ass hair like you. But at least I had the good sense to do something about it. Thank you. You've been very helpful."

August 27, 2009 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Yay for french customer service!

August 29, 2009 at 10:44 PM  

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