Monday, August 28, 2006
August in Paris
Had a truly lovely weekend in Paris - this is the view from our hotel window of Saint Severin church and the room itself was pretty good to. We were a stone's throw away from Petit Pont and so very close to Notre Dame as well. Arrive in Paris on the Eurostar - all went very smoothly and fortunately I escaped having my bag searched at customs as appears to be my wont. But strangely, there was a metal detector and bag x-ray machine at the left luggage place at Gare du Nord which I had no problems with when we dropped the bags off, but when we returned to collect them, I had to empty my pockets, remove belt and all jewellery before it would let me in! The machine seemed to be going off for virtually everyone though - L thought perhaps the guard was a bit bored and needed something to do!!
First evening we went and had a gawp at Notre Dame and a wander inside. It really is an amazing building although we missed going up to the towers. Thought we'd go back on Saturday, but in the end didn't have enough energy! Had proper fondue for the first time ever - we went for the "meat" fondue trying to be a bit brave and it was not at all what I was expecting. I guess I've only ever thought of fondue in the cheese or chocolate sense - for the meat version there was a pot of sizzling oil which we dunked big chunks of raw beef into and left to cook!! (you could never see that in England somehow). Yum.
Had a few drinks out on the main road to end the evening and a gorgeous whisky coffee.
Had a busy day on Saturday - thought we'd go the the Eiffel Tower, but found the metro line we wanted had been closed off. so we decided, what the heck, we'll have a stroll along there....hmmm. Started off at our hotel and walked along the river to the Louvre. Crossed the river so we could walk through the Louvre grounds (although we didn't go in) and marvelled at the sheer size of the place. Noted the pyramids and continued through the Jardin des Tuileries which were really peaceful at that time in the morning. We weren't tremendously early, but it was still quiet. Through Place de la Concorde and the up the entire length of the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triumph. Strolled down Avenue Marceau to the riverside again and crossed over to the Eiffel Tower. Absolutely incredible structure. We went up to the first stage and had a good gawp at the cityscape laid out around us, trying to pinpoint the landmarks we'd already been to that morning. Climbing down again, realised getting up Notre Dame may be a no-no!!
Caught the Batobus back to the Musee d'Orsay and then walked back through the Place de la Concorde up to Place de la Madeleine to Fauchon, a magnificent food shop. Absolutely amazing creations in the windows, and sadly we were too stingy to try any. The mint eclairs did look heavenly though! Back to the hotel for a quick rest and securing the services of a porter to unlock the safe (which L had somehow managed to break earlier...), dinner (steak and chips!) and then a ride on one of the boat trips along the Seine. Excellent and I'm so glad we went in the evening - everything looks so different at night and lit up.
On Sunday we popped up to Montmatre and the Sacre Coeur, found some quiet gardens in the backstreets there and finally headed back to have a look round the Orsay museum - lots of Impressionist work. Great - you realise how poor reproductions of some of those works are - can never really quite convey the richness of the original's true colours. Then a quick crepe in the Tuileries (and see the happy duck after I fed him some baguette!) and back to Gare du Nord for the train home. Whew! We've already started a list of what we want to do next time we go...