After lunch we hurried off to Gare Lyon to catch a train to the meeting place-Mulet-for our balloon ride. The train station is huge, but we managed to find the right window to buy the tickets and get on the right train. We only bought one-way tickets because there was a chance we would not make it back to Mulet in time and might have to leave from another station. The train ride was miserable-no air, not one empty seat and terribly hot. Thank goodness it was only a 40 minute ride.
Adrian from France Montgolfieres met us at the station and took us to Mulet. We had about and hour and a half before take off so we went for a walk around the town, bought 2 pastries and went down by the river and ate them. We found a bathroom behind the tourism office-one of those that people talked about that you stand on-it was an experience, but necessary. We walked back to the van and were off to the launch site. We went to a field and watched as they unloaded and assembled the balloon.
Then we were off. There were 8 of us plus the pilot and his helper. We flew over a few small towns, forests, lakes, and fields. It was incredible. I have always said that there were 2 things I wanted to do before I die-parasail and go on a balloon ride. I parasailed years ago when I took my Girl Scouts to the Bahamas so now I have done both. My husband really enjoyed the ride too. The landing was a little rough since we had to come in quickly in a field that was cut and not run into the power lines, but Adrian was a great pilot. Since we had spent a lot of time looking for a field that had been cut so we could land, they had to rush us back to the train station so we could catch the train back to Paris. Instead of having the customary champagne toast, they gave us a bottle to take with us.
Well, the train evidently came before we got there, and after awhile I called Adrian and he came and got us and took us to Mulon to catch the train. Luckily (since the ticket office was closed and the machines would not take our credit cards for some reason) we had not validated our tickets so we put them in the machine and got on the train headed back to Paris. This train was like the slow boat to China. It should have only taken us 15 minutes but instead it took over 40 minutes. We finally made it back to the hotel around midnight. Boy, we are certainly becoming night owls. We are usually in bed by 9:30 at home. The balloon ride was absolutely wonderful despite the train problems and everything we had hoped for. It was expensive, (500 euro for two) but worth it to us and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. Adrian couldn’t have been nicer and I would definitely do it again given the opportunity. Their web address is http://www.franceballoons.com/
I know RandySilverPhoto also took a trip with them and got some great photos. We did too along with video.