This is the way to travel! The hotel is quite luxurious and everyone is very helpful. And despite the high price tags everywhere, we still find reasonably priced options for most things. We started our day with breakfast. The hotel is new and still trying to figure some things out, but generally it is nice. We made a mistake when we went to breakfast under the assumption that we could get in and out quickly. Parisians take their meals rather leisurely, and so once someone makes it into the restaurant, they pretty much remain planted. We had to wait over 20 minutes to get seated, then the service took awhile. It all worked out. The trick with travel is to always remain flexible.
We met Steve Furgal and the other people on our tour and hopped on a bus for Roland Garros. The venue is on the southwest corner of the Paris metro. The bus drivers here are astounding. I could not imagine driving through the tiny spaces they do with hardly a care. I don't get the sense that they are devil-may-care about it; they just really know their jobs.
We got to Roland Garros and the bus dropped us off just a few feet from the VIP entrance. We struggled through a rather long line of people trying to find their way into the front gate and sailed into Gate "V," where after a quick bag check at security and a ticket scan, we were on the grounds and ready to go. Steve took us to the suite that he has reserved where we had easy access to bathrooms, bottled water, and snacks. This was also the place we came back to for lunch.
Just an aside... Dana has decided she would do a lot to avoid standing in long lines. I think if she has the money to avoid them, she will. Gliding effortlessly onto the tennis grounds does not come cheaply, but it definitely makes things pleasant. We don't feel exhausted before the day even starts.
Also, they talk about "smart casual" as the dress for these things. In fact, many of the French show up in suits and ties for every activity, looking very sharp, despite cold and rain. But just as many show up in jeans and sweatshirts, better prepped for weather and travel. After wearing something nicer the first day, I resolved that jeans would be the way to go
And I absolutely have to say, something about that red clay court really grabs you! I don't know what I expecteed, but certainly not that. It is easy to look at and fund to watch. Even in bright sun, it works really, really well. And it is the best surface imaginable for rainy days. That turns out to be really, really important in these parts.