Christmas Eve, Paris

My Christmas Eve flight from Hong Kong to Paris arrives on time at Charles de Gaulle at 06:20am. After clearing Immigration in record time – no queue! – there seems to be a lengthy wait at the baggage carousel for baggage to arrive. It can’t be more than 30 minutes though, and I just make the waiting Roissybus at Terminal 2. The bus is busier than last year (there were three passengers including me when I arrived on Christmas Day), but it’ still under an hour to reach Paris Opera. I’m at the Hotel Indigo Opera by 07:45am.

It is still dark of course, so the first order of business is to get to Galeries Lafayette and Printemps to photograph the Christmas window displays before daylight produces too many reflections. Paris is yet to wake up, and my only company on Boulevard Haussmann are the garbage trucks, street sweepers and the occasional dog-walking passerby.

The theme for Galeries Lafayette this year is “Spectacular Spectacular”, which is apparently unrelated to the PT Barnum movie “The Greatest Showman”, but instead is the love story between two pigeons, Pierre and Coco, set in a fairground. Go figure.

Au Printemps, as in previous years, is showcasing windows by ‘partner brands’ as diverse as Fendi, MCM, Thalys, Easyjet, Citroën and the Comité Régional de Tourisme de l’Île de La Réunion.

My series 2 Apple Watch bricked (black screen of death) the day before leaving Melbourne, and after a wasted trip to an authorised repairer in Sunshine yesterday, I have made an appointment at the Genius Bar in Paris, based on a tip from the repairer that an Apple Store ‘should be able to replace it’. I confirm that this is possible with Apple Support, and make an appointment for 11:20am today. Or so I thought. I’ve hung around the Opera area until 11:00am, and decide to check the appointment time online. Apparently my appointment is at 17:10pm today. How on earth you get from 11:20am to 17:10 is beyond me – it’s not even a time zone change – what happened to the 10 minutes? 

In the meantime, I pick up the keys to my apartment, to save the apartment greeter working on Christmas Day. A studio apartment in the Marais, in a 16th century building, it is TINY. A poor choice when I realise that there isn’t a comfortable chair or sofa to relax on. It’s a hard cafe-style table or the bed. 

Time to head to the Apple Store to get my watch repaired/replaced. So I hang around the area until 17:10, only to be told that even the Apple Store doesn’t have the tools to check the watch beyond using a charger (waste of time), and can’t replace the watch until the ‘depot’ tells them that it is beyond repair. Which could be up to 2 weeks. So I’m back to analog and an iPhone to track steps. It wouldn’t be so bad if Apple support actually had a clue and hadn’t wasted so much time running me from A to B in two different countries. A very poor customer experience across multiple Apple channels.

Jet lag has kicked in (I’ve been awake since 3am Paris time), so I’m calling it a day by 6:30pm.

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