Weekend in Paris
Last train to Paris.
Sad O’ Sad. Today is our last day in Paris. I named the post as “weekend in Paris” because the five days have just seemed like a weekend.
We have a leisurely breakfast. Today we’re off to the Arc de Triomphe.
We wrangle the Metro again. We climb the 268 steps to the top. We take in the view. Or as the Romans would say, We came, We climbed, We saw. But in Latin of course.
We take in one of the restaurants on the Champs Elysées for lunch. It just does not get any better.
We wander down the Champs Elysées and take a ride on the Ferris wheel on the Place de la Concorde. We walk through the Tuileries Garden to the Louvre and commute back home by way of the supermarket to prepare for our last supper.
It is great to share this adventure with our siblings and cousin. I wish to thank you all:
Peter and Anne.
Michael and Michelle.
Teresa and Graham.
So this is the end of this blog.
The next blog could be titled “ If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium”. The jury is out on the title. I hope they come back in time before the next blog starts.
Today the girls decide that they wish to go to Sacre Coeure after our glowing reports from yesterdays visit. So once again we are on the Metro railway rubbing shoulders with hardcore Parisian commuters. I use the stairs to get up to the cathedral but some others in the group use the funicular. No dome climbs for us today, instead we amble through the cathedral while a morning mass is happening. Very reverent.
Once outside the cathedral we rev ourselves up to face the challenge of the near-by markets. Judy has complained that she has never been to a market in Paris before – so this is her chance to shine – not that she needs encouragement. I can only marvel at her ability to hunt down and find a bargain. We see an artist that has good paintings but they start at 160 euros with a slightly larger one that we both really like at 460 euros. We decide – no – these are not the paintings we are looking for. Further scouring of the market follows along with the mandatory tea and coffee stops and some lunch thrown in to keep us going. We find and go through the Sacre Coeure Abbey. This was built in 1147 and appears a lot more austere than the cathedral. It is still amazing in is own right.
Before we know it we’re mixing it again with the Parisian commuters and headed home. From here the girls try out the local shopping precinct while the men folk go and gather vitals. When the girls get home they beguile us with the most amazing French cakes that are truly delicious. They must be fattening us up for something?
We are loving our accomodation. It is amazing to be on our barge in the middle of Paris watching the world go by.
The weather has been a bit brisk but apart from rain when we arrived, the weather has been clear and sunny. After our foray with the regional express (RER) out to Versaille, today we are taking the metro rail to the Louvre. A group of us wish to explore the Louvre, but Ron, Michael and I decide to explore the surrounding town area. Michael has a map to follow to visit a number of locations and points of interest in that part of town. Through the buildings we spot an unusual cathedral dome and decide to go visit. It is not till we are almost there that we discover that it is Sacre Coeure Cathedral. We take a funicular train ride up the steps to the cathedral and this gives us boundless energy to climb up the dome, some 300 steps. The vistas are amazing. The view is not bad either. It’s amazing what 10.5 million people and 400 years can do. Living near the Eiffel Tower is a bonus because we have it as a reference point to the way home. When we get back to regroup at the Louvre, the iPhone tells me that I have done 12,000 steps but this cannot be right.
We return home (on the train) and considers ourselves to be locals after two days on the trains (apart from the not speaking French bit).
At home we ready ourselves for our dinner at the Eiffel Tower courtesy of Michael and Michelle. We start off with champagnes all round and it just gets better from there. The menu was interesting and the selection available make it difficult to choose a course. The excellent meal along with the views to be had make it a very special night. After the meal Judy and I stroll arm in arm around the deck. Many thanks to Michael and Michell for an excellent evening!
Today we decide to visit the Royal Palace Château de Versailles. We find our way to the train station and before we know it we are there. We line up and luckily because we are a large group, we can line-up while some others of us go to get tickets. All this aside it only takes an hour to get in. The scale of the palace defies description. The opulence is obscene – all I can think is “let them eat cake“. I skip down the wing that celebrates French battles but am not able to find anything on Waterloo? My bad.
All too soon we are in the gardens and even though we are not seeing them in their full splendour, they are still impressive. Not that we are lazy or anything but someone thinks its a good idea to hire some electric golf carts to “drag” around the gardens. It is a novel idea and off we set. Through-out the gardens there are other lodges, lakes and fountains and amazing sculptors. Once again the scale of the gardens is enormous. You can easily spend a day here.
After 7 hours at the palace we wander back to the train station. We stop at a cafe and I order a chocolat viennese. I get my chocolat and it has a massive dob of cream on top that normally I would never eat, but this one is delicious and a joy to eat, and now I’m hard pressed to get to the train station I’m that full.
We have another amazing tea made up with produce from our local supermarket. We have chicken, meats, cheese and salads washed down with wine and beer.
We find out that the regional express trains are on strike tomorrow so this may put a dent in any travel plans we have. We’ll find out tomorrow.
Today is a positioning day where we meet the family and settle into the barge that is our home for the next 4 days or so. How good is that. We’re staying on a barge on the Seine about 200 metres from the Eiffel Tower!!!
We meet Ron, Michael and Michelle, Graham and Teresa, Peter and Anne and Lyn. These are either Judy’s brothers and sisters and a cousin.
We find out that it is a public holiday today and the shops are about to shut. So off we go hunting and gathering to fill the larder.
We then spend the afternoon on the top deck of the barge watching the world go by, eating our baguettes, meats and cheeses and drinking wine. A good time was had by all.
Early night tho. Everyone is still a bit jet lagged.
We are here in Paris. It’s a balmy 5 degrees Celsius, pouring with rain and windy conditions. It only takes an hour to get our luggage and another hour to get our transfer and another hour to get to Paris from the airport, but hey, who’s counting.
We get to our hotel and crash. After a 4 hour power nap, we head off to the river to see if we can find the barge we have booked. We think we have found it so tracking it down in the morning should be a breeze. We stop for tea which consists of a shared pizza, a couple of glass’s of wine finished off with a couple of crepes and coffee – $AUS 100 thank you very much. Having said all that it was an enjoyable end to the day.
We go back to the hotel and straight to bed – its been a long day.
Well it’s finally here. The trip we have been planning for 5+ years is upon us. Judy and I are sitting in the Doha Airport after a 14 hour flight from Adelaide. Our connecting flight is 7 hours direct to Paris. Can’t wait (apart from the flying bit that is). Wish us well.