Paris - September 2018
Notre lune de miel (Honeymoon)
Le matin après la veille
Paris - Day One/Two - 21/22 September 2018
First morning in Paris.
Eurostar is awesome to travel on. Comfortable, fast, and we got a bite to eat and extra wine (a crisp white to go with the salmon. Arrived last night with only a fifteen minute delay.
Driver took us through Paris from Gare du Nord, which was awesome. Past various sites: l’église de St Vincent de Paul, various boulevards and back streets, past Place de la Concorde, and past l’Invalides, and the musée d’armée, and the l’école militaire which have a fantastic good view of the Eiffel tower across Champs de Mars.
Hotel room is great with comfortable bed and pillows(!)
We had dinner in a bistro (Au Maréchal Brune) across the road, before doing a quick shopping trip. So so much wine (and chocolate) to choose from.
Had a quiet night with champagne, and a really good sleep.
Now, breakfast and exploring Paris!
Le marche aux puces
Paris - Day two - 22 September 2018
After a very lazy start and sleeping in we made our way to the boulangerie across the hotel. The smells, the smells. We decided to be semi sensible, and had a croissant each and a pain au chocolat. We walked to one of the smaller parks near Porte de Vanves and relaxed. To our surprise there seemed to be something like a flea market going on, so our initial plan went straight out of the window and we decided to have a quick look. Bad idea! We spend the next several hours walking around the various market stalls and Liz has bought several books and sheets of paper. I didn’t see much, or at least apparently not much that I could take home.
Eventually we reached the end of the flea market and found a nearby café at the cross road of the Boulevard Brune and Rue Didot. We walked back along Boulevard Brune to the hotel to drop off Liz’s purchases and went to get our metro tickets sorted. One Carnet (a booklet of 10 tickets) and some photos we headed to Gare Montparnasse and sorted our navigo decouvertes (a weekly travel pass). Nice thing is that this pass will be valid for 10 years, so if we ever return to paris, we are only have to top up the balance for this.
Then we had a wander around near Tour Montparnasse but decided against going up. We do that later this week when the weather is promising to be better. To my suprise we found may a lovely restaurant in that area. We decided onto going to a creperie. Finding one on tripadvisor was easy. But when we walked down the street (Rue Montparnasse), there were literally one creperie after another! The one I had seen however did not inspire much confidence. Liz had spotted another one on google and back up the street we went. I asked the waiter why there were so many creperies in this one street. He did say it was a good question but he did not know why. A quick research by my lovely residential historian turns out that many of the good folk of bretagne came to Paris looking for work. (Trains from that region arrive in Gare Montparnasse). Many stayed near that area and opened creperies. More gravitated towards this road in an effort to capture the taste of home, and thus the ‘1001’ creperies of Rue Montparnasse were born.
I was epic. We had both a crepe with egg, ham, cheese and mushroom. It tasted awesome. We couldn’t resist another one (although our stomach may not be thankful for that). Liz had a crepe with chocolate, banana and coconut ice cream, flambéed with rum. Mine consisted of a apple compote flambéed with calvados. It lead to a little mini battle between two waiters of “who has the bigger flame”
The whole meal, was of course all washed down with a sweet breton cider for Liz and a ricard and wine for me.
As a small semi desert, just to pad the pudding stomach, I had a delicious lemon sorbet icecream covered in vodka. The restaurant gave a shot of calvados as a present.
If you are ever in Paris, I can really recommend Creperie de Josselin. Funny side fact, one of the waiters was a spitting image of Jason Fox.
In the end we wandered around the area, seeing what other restaurants there were. But being quite tired still we decided to make our way to the hotel and have an early-ish night.
Tomorrow, we are having more of a look likely at some of the local market, and then heading towards Ile-de-cité and the Notre Dame
Weird discovery of today: an “Aloe vera” type drink. Quit nice and refreshing, however the bits of Aloe in the drink were a surprise and still kinda weird. Still I like it!
Les ponts et l’île au coeur de Paris
Paris - Day three - 23 September 2018
We woke up after a good night sleep and headed down to the bakery. Proper Parisian baguette for me and croissant and pain de Suisse for Liz. All I can say, oh so so very good.
After that we decided to forget the potential market near us, but head straight to Ile-de-cité instead. After finding our way from Cité metro station, we arrived just at the end of the mass, but were lucky enough to catch the next one (this was not the international mass, but one in French, which was still quite interesting and good to follow (well bar the homily))
With Mass done we had a stroll through the notre dame cathedral and when we came outside the weather had turned horrendously.
We eventually found a café all the way down the side from Notre Dame and had a quick spot of lunch. A sandwich Nordique (with smoked salmon), and a croque madame for Liz.
Once we (foolishly) that the weather had sufficiently cleared, we made our way to the crypt. As i said, foolishly, we got a good soaking in the weather. The crypt was really quite interesting. After the crypt we made our way to Sainte Chappelle. A place I have never been. It was very impressive to see the glass windows and learn how those are now being fixed and protected.
This all was followed by a spot of late lunch at the “Les Deux Palais”, a luxurious bistro across the Palais de Justice. I had a charcuttery board with pastice and wine, and Liz had a Tarte Tartin and as she put in “a stockingly good hot chocolate”
After that we decided to head towards the Quartier Latin, because of the early hour we had a wander around, went into the Shakespear bookshop for a browse and eventually decided we (and Liz) needed some alcohol in us. I had two pints, one Guinness and one cuvée des trolls (what’s in a name) and Liz ha a very nice pina colada
We settled on having a French fondue for dinner, and Liz has proven herself to be awesome at finding great restaurants. She found the restaurant Heureux Comme Alexandre, just outside the Touristy area of Quatier Latin and honestly it was fantastic. Lovely wine, lovely cheese fondue and the owner and waiter where just stars. We had a thoroughly good evening after which I had the honourable task of navigating a slightly buzzed and giggly Liz to the hotel room.
Tomorrow probably will be a quiet morning, and in the afternoon, we get to do our present from my best man Xan and Amelia. A culinary tour of Paris! very much looking forward to that
For now, I am going to have a cuppa and get some sleep.
Tour gastronomique autour de Paris.
Paris - Day four - 24 September 2018
As mentioned yesterday, today was in light of a tour across Paris, exploring the off beat with food and games.
We had quite a lazy start today, perhaps somewhat in part due to Liz feeling slightly worse for wear. The good thing is we no longer have to rely on metro tickets but for the rest of the week we can rely on a Navigo Decouverte, a travel smart-pass for all the zones in Paris metros. The good thing is, is that the pass itself will be valid for the next ten years, so when we return to Paris we only need to load a new amount on it and we should be settled.
We made our way to the Pantheon but had a quick stop with a bakery nearby for some croissants and macaroon (chocolate and strawberries). We wandered around the Pantheon, although we had not time to go into the Pantheon. Perhaps a trip for another holiday. Currently there were banners and plagues all around to honour the latest person being interred into the Pantheon, Simone Veil and her husband.
Finally met up with our guide Baptiste. The second group quickly showed up so the 6 of us set off down the street, with Baptiste explaining much about bohemian Paris.
The first stop was the Jardin de Luxembourgh, which looked very lovely. If we have time to spare during this holiday, I can see us going there and to relax. Above the garden stand one of Paris most hated sights, the Tour Montparnasse, although there are plans to make it a little bit less of an eye sore next year.
Next we walked past the French Senate building and out the front of the park to the Odeon Theater. And from there into what used to be a street of books, books shops, publishers and libraries galore, sadly these days all too much taken over by fancy boutiques. We stopped briefly at the site of the first American Book shop that was run by Sylvia Beach, and the place where the Irish writer James Joyce, wrote his novel Ulysses.
From there a stroll down the streets of Saint Germain-de-press brought us to Maison Georges Larnicol, where we tasted some very lovely (and sticky) Kouignettes, a small but very buttery and rich puff pastry cake with lemon and coriander (at least our version). Talk about sugar hit. We also bought some other chocolate goodies and gawked at a chocolate replica of the mask of tutankhamun.
We by toured a small side street that had the location of the famous Cafe Procope where during the first ideas of the French Revolution where discussed and given form. Robespierre, Danton, Camille Desmoulins, Marat who lived at number 16 of the same street have said to have met at the café.
From there we toured down side streets of St Germain until the guide took us down into an underground parking garage of Rue Mazerine. Turns out that on the lower floor you can see the old city walls of Paris. So weird that in the middle between cars parked and concrete, you can reach out and reach the foundations of the city, over 800 years old
From there more streets and more arts, both galleries and painters as well as a mention of the Jazz underground scene. We got our first sight of the markings of the January flooding of 1910 and how high the water must have been.
From there we walked past the Institute Française and onto the Pont des Arts, a bridge famous for people hanging padlocks on the bridge to declare their eternal love. Sadly this seemed to have caused problems with the structural integrity of the bridge, and while they first tried to cut away old locks, eventually the government decided to make the bridge panels non accessible
We walked along on the banks of the seine finding a little gate house with all the various flood levels reaching from late 1910 to .. well 2034. Clearly a warning for the future. From there we headed into Place d’Auphine for some wine and charcuterie, very well needed at that point! This was followed by a game of Petanque (or Jeu de boules), which thanks to Liz latest ball was we won.
Following the garden, we emerged at the back end of Palais de Justice and followed the building across towards the Seine again until we reached the Pont de Saint Michael which took us back onto familiar grounds and into Quartier Latin (much what we walked yesterday)
In one of the streets of Quartier Latin we stopped at what apparently was the smallest street in Paris (it had an official address, so therefore it was not an alleyway). So small if I stretched out my arms I could easily reach both walls.
It was only a small hop from there to the bookshop Shakespeare and Co that we visited yesterday. Turns out that after Sylvia Beach came back from her deportation to the German concentration camps, she didn’t want to start up the bookshop again. An other American bookshop was started and they asked and received permission from Sylvia to remain it in her honour.
The last bit is where we toured across the seine once again, landing on Ile-de-Cité at the ‘point zero de route de france’ in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Which also heralded the end of the tour.
not sure what we wanted to do, we decided to retire to a park nearby, where we thought it would be great to relax and read for a bit. But the wind made us quickly move to warmer climates of a nearby bar. From there we went and found a lovely restaurant where we had a really nice evening meal of sushi, miso soup, salad, meat and tempura. Washed down with Yasmin tea and two bottles of very smooth cold saké
We were both quite tired at that point and decided that we really didn’t need or wanted shopping and took a very busy metro home.
Tomorrow, well we need to talk about that first
Les vieux rois à St Denis
Paris - Day five - 25 September 2018
Woke up with a terrible headache this morning and feeling suitably grumpy, that even painkillers and coffee.
But things to go and see, so eventually I dragged myself into a state of consciousness and we headed out, first getting money, then to ‘our’ local bakery. Croissants, Pain Suisse au chocolate and madeleines pistache.
Onto the Line 13 we went, all the way to Basilique de Saint-Denis metro station to visit said basilica. It got quite busy underway and I think it was Liz first experience with a more crowded metro.
We made it to the basilica in good time though, and wow, a very impressive building. The church is build on ground that used to be an anglo-roman cemetery and has housed all the kings of France from the 10th century, till the 18th.
The church, an active one, is beautiful with lots of stained glass, the first church of its kind to largely incorporate most aspects of Gothic architecture, and thus heralding a change from romantic to Gothic. A beautiful organ (that at the time was also quite innovate), that can be seen as the birth of the French symphonic organ tradition.
We wandered to the church for a bit eventually heading inside the area where all the kings are buried. It was quite interesting to see and read, and Liz took hundreds of photos. We even descended into the crypt under the cathedral and saw the old necropolis. It was very impressive, and I know it had been on Liz’s wish list to see.
After that we had lunch in the Cathedral square in a lovely restaurant. I had steak with potatoes dauphine and Liz had (to my surprise), Italian tartar with chips. I couldn’t help asking for some of her tartar and it was just wonderful, very smooth with a lovely taste to it. Washed down by a quart pichet du vin rouge.
After that we headed back into Paris as the next thing on our list was the Conciergerie. A former prison which held many prisoners during the French revolutions and the reign of terror that swept France during that time. Today the Congiergerie is still used as a Court of Law, so the actual viewable parts are quite small. Still a very interesting tour.
With The Congergerie out of the way we made our way to the 14th arondisement for a quick drink before heading up the Tour Montparnasse, a short lift ride and a climb up the stairs we were on the top observation deck. A fantastic view of Paris, and the weather with clear skies played its parts
We had a walk around, noting various landmars we wanted or that we already visited. We even managed to spot our hotel from the top of the tour (there is an obligatory “I CAN SEE OUR HOTEL FROM HERE!” photo)
Watching the Sun set over paris we headed down to the lower observation desk and sat around. We were lucky and saw the turning on of the light show at the Eifel Tower, creating a sparkling effect. We had a quick drink (hot chocolate for Liz, red wine for me, and some mini macroons,), and saw the moon rising over the horizon, turning from red to orange to dark yellow.
But we decided we wanted some food and headed down to food district near the tower itself. We were having some trouble find a right café, but finally settling on Café Milou. FINALLY! I had snails. I must admit Liz was incredibly brave to overcome her ickyness of the snails and try two French escargots doused in garlic and ‘erbs.
We finished our meal with a large plate of charcuterie, washed down with suitable red for me and a sweet white for liz. We decided to try and get some ice cream but needs for milk (for Liz’s coffe), to precedence and we tried several supermarkets before deciding that the one near home would be a good choice. Sadly after a mad dash, it turned out they were closed too! But fear not, Novotel to the rescue, they gave us some extra milk and some extra coffee for the morning. I really can not praise this hotel enough. Sure it is not the cheapest in Paris, it is not near the centre (but still within the Boulevard Périphérique), but the room is awesome and spacious, the service is first class, and the metro is right outside the hotel. What more can you want?
So currently we are both relaxing and Liz is going through her photos.
For tomorrow, we head to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur.
Viens! Regarde la! C’est une licorne!
Paris - Day Six - 26 September 2018
The day was off to a very slow start. Elizabeth was not feeling well in the morning so I let her sleep while gently spodding on my laptop in the meantime. Admittedly I resisted strongly the urge to jump into work mode when I learned there was a problem with Amazon Web Services in the EU-West-1 region (which is where I deploy most of our servers).
I did slip out of the room for a bit and went to get breakfast while I let Elizabeth sleep and get over her migraine.
Once she had sufficiently and fully recovered, we decided that we should at least make our way into Paris to see something, lest we spend the whole day cooped up in our hotel room. We decided to tackle the last thing on Elizabeth’s “must do” list. Le musée de moyen age. It was quite interesting, with various ivory and gold pieces. Sadly the upper wing was close due to the upcoming 10th of October exposition.
After the museum, which I felt left much to desired (with really only one floor to visit), we went on quite a happy stroll through paris, got hopelessly lost, well as much as one can be lost when one does not overly care where one is heading.
We grabbed something to eat from a boulangerie along Boulevard Saint Michael and finally figured out where we were. We made our way past the famous Sorbonne 1 University building and once again into le Jardin du Luxembourgh.
Taking some of the free chairs we relaxed and read in the shade. The weather was absolutely fantastic today. Clear blue skies, a comfortable 21 degrees, only the lightest of breezes.
After trying to figure out where we wanted to eat, we decided to find the restaurant part of St Germain-de-press.
While strolling around we came across the Saint Sulpice Catholic Church, the second biggest church of Paris. Sitting outside the church we decided that we wanted to have Italian and had founded a nearby restaurant. Sadly it was not open until 19.30 so .. what is one to do, find a cocktail bar!
We found the Junkyard, a lovely cocktail bar which just opened as we came in and had a great chat with the owner. I had a beer, followed by a wonderful mojito (really need to learn how to make these at home), and Liz had her staple pina colada.
After that we decided to find our Italian restaurant, but going across the street we came across ‘Monte Verdi’. While we didn’t have a reservation, they were able to squeeze us in. It was all a very lovely and galant affair.
I had calamari as a starter, with Liz having bruschetta with mozzarella with olives, and tomatoes on a bad of spinach. As a main I had a lovely piece of beef, with mash potatoes and cheese wafers. Liz opted for ravioli in three cheese sauce, which was incredibly rich and tasteful.
Desert was equally lovely. Liz chose for a white chocolate fondant, with a mixed fruit sorbet consisting of raspberries and strawberries. I settled for a coffee wiht chocolate ice cream, a fruit salad and tiramisu. As an digestive I choose to have a Armagnac XO. Again, lovely, rich and opulent
Well fed and well boozed we made our way home. I dropped Liz off at the hotel while I ran under the viaduct (okay waddled), and got some of the necessary shopping for tomorrow. Coffee, and breakfast.
When I got back to the Hotel, Liz had helped herself to a hot chocolate and I decided to treat myself to a vodka. By change a gentleman at the bar ordered a Talisker one of my favourite island whiskies and we got to talk.
This thus led to about a wonderful hour long talk about various thing. It was very interesting but eventually we bade him goodnight (he had, after all, to be in Lyon tomororw! I do not envy him)
With that, hopefully tomorrow is going to be a slightly better day, and we get to actually make it to the Sacre Coeur and Monmatre.
For now, sleep beckons us.
Les peintres sur la butte
Paris - Day seven - 27 September 2018
Good news everyone! We have survived one week of being married to one another without murdering each other. Just. Today was predicted to be a warm and sunny day and the forecast did not let us down. Clear blue skies as far as the eyes could see (this can depend in Paris from a few meters to the edge of tomorrow).
We made our way to the metro after breakfast and from there onto the line that would take us to Anvers metro station. From there it was a simple walk up the hill. The streets were full of buskers, mostly playing the old “three cups and a ball game”. We just moved brusquely past them and made our way to Place Saint Michael at the bottom of the Butte de Monmatre
Since we had a navigo pass, it would be rude not to use it, so we hopped onto the funiculair at the side and bypassed climbing a lot of stairs in the already warming afternoon.
We had a wonderful time in the Cathedral. We took some time to pray and made our way around. I showed Elizabeth the plague that I had seen as a young boy when my parents took us to Paris, where the 13 bombs that the allied planes dropped narrowly missed the church. After this we headed outside into warm and quite glaring afternoon sun.
Making our way around the church and into Monmatre, we stopped quickly by the church of St Pierre of Monmatre, the oldest church in Paris, which includes two “Columns of Mercury”. Luckily not of the quicksilver kind! Turns out that on the same site around the 7th century a Roman temple dedicated to the god Mercury was build. The church build over that and was consecrated in 1147. There is sadly very little left from the abbey that was part of the church complex as most of it was destroyed during the French Revolution. The only other thing that remains of the abbey is the vineyard.
By this time the hour had grown late, and we agreed that a good spot of lunch was positively called for. We found a side street with a restaurant and we grabbed a table for a set three piece lunch with wine (of course!). Elizabeth had a lovely roasted goat cheese on bread, while I opted for French onion soup. Both were really lovely. The goat’s cheese was soft and goey, the onion soup was tangent with a good layer of cheese on top.
For the main course, I had opted for a lamb shank while Liz had chosen a penne with mushrooms in cream sauce, with a generous helping of parmesan. The lamb shank was lovely, the meat nearly falling off the bone, and juicy. The penne was tender and the cream sauce rich.
We ended the meal both opting for the tarte de pomme. Sweet but a tangy after taste that polishes a meal off in just right the way.
We didn’t pass by the earlier mentioned vineyard, but made our way around place du tetre and the painters (though luckily not as busy as in high season) and through the small winding streets of Monmatre. We wanted to make a little walk along the boulevard from Pigalle, past Blanche (where the Moulin Rouge is) up the Boulevard Clichy.
From there we took a side street and had a bit of a wander around the various tombs in the cemetery. Sadly, by this time, I think both Elizabeth and myself started to struggle from the heat and we decided that we needed a drink. On our way back through the cemetery we saw various cats, skittering between the tombs or quite lazily relaxing on the ground. They are very skittish though and will flee if you approach them. Having done some research, it seems that literally dozen and dozen stray cats have made their home there.
We found a café and had a good cold drink, and came to the conclusion that we were actually both, hot, sweaty and absolutely worn out. It made the decision easy to head back to the hotel and make it an easy night. Of course by this time this meant heading straight into rush hour metro traffic. I think we were quite lucky all in all. When we arrived at the platform, a train was there but over full. We decided to at least wait a little bit. Although I did not have much hope that the next one would be any more empty. It was a little bit, enough for us to get a squeeze in, and since it was just behind the previous metro, we were spared the further brunt of most of the passengers.
At the hotel, we cranked up the air conditioning, and relaxed for a while, deciding what we wanted for dinner while enjoying a small glass of wine. We decided on one of the local restaurants. Le Brasserie de Square. It was a lovely little restaurant and we were welcomed and seated.
Apart from the usual trimmings (a 0.5L of wine, water and bread), we choose our starters. For Liz it was a warm goats cheese salad wrapped in pastry and I opted for the Bruschetta with ham, cheese and tomato.
The main course was for Elizabeth omelette with mushrooms and chips, while I choose an entrecote (ribeye steak) with chips. When the waitress asked how I liked my steak, I happily replied in French “saignant”, which she seemed to approve off. Saignant being the French for ‘bloody’. a rather viking-esque approach to steak preparation that I heartily approve of.
We had to have deserts of course, with Liz choosing for tiramishu (who’d have though that), which according for her was good and very creamy. I opted for the Fromage Blanc, which I mistakenly thought was a cheese board. Turns out it was a sort of cream cheese. Actually not all that bad and in a way the sour taste of it was a nice balance to the richness from the meal
It turns out that my French is a little bit improving, and we had a bit of a chat with the waitress about why were were in Paris and how long for. Of course, I managed to bungle it up by confusing the French words ‘hier’ and ‘demain’, (yesterday vs last). I must admit that I am sure that the waitress thought that I was several ingredients short of a full course meal. Still once I realised, we got there in the end.
A quick trip to the boulangerie and ‘home’ again we went. Booking a taxi for Saturday (boo!!), and working out the time tables of how to get there
One more day in Paris, likely we will be heading to Le Marais, but we are aiming to have a very relaxing day and try not to stress too much about everything.
For now, some more planning, another cuppa and then sleep.
Explorer des étoiles au marais
Paris - Day eight - 28 September 2018
The final day. Well we have half a day before we head back, but as often as such days go, these will be filled with last minute packing, checking out and travel preparations. So sadly not much time to sightsee much.
Today, however we started by having breakfast in our hotel room and once we were ready, we took the 6 line to Arc de Triumph. The nice thing about that particular line is that it actually goes above ground the majority of the time and as such you get a lovely top down view of Paris and even driving close to the Eiffel Tower. The Arc de Triumph was impressive as always, especially the grave of the unknown soldier and the eternal flame.
After this we took a different metro towards le Marais but with a prior stop off. As it happened we sort of got slightly lost in the Chatelet Metro station and ended up in the bowels of Les Halles, the former central food markets of Paris. We had a long wander trying to find our way out - until Liz spotted a … MacDonalds. It pains me to write but she had her heart set on having at least once a MacDonals in this country. We both had a burger and ate that on the grassy field before the Saint Eustache Church. We did not went in (sadly in hindsight), but made our way to Centre George Pompidu.
Which sadly to say, looked like (as stated by my darling wife), like a building site. She was not entirely wrong though as the court was very much covered in building equipment. Frankly it was a bit of a let down. We made to the side, to where the kinetic water sculptures were and plonked ourselves on a terrace for a drink. Since the burger really didn’t fill up, Liz opted for a small cheese board and I had a some oysters which where very lovely. So food wise this day was improving.
After this, I had promised Elizabeth that we would go and look at the Tour Saint Jacques. As we made our way down we came across that most fatal of stores for the both of us l’Écritoire. A pen and stationary shop. Be still our beating hearts. We bought two pewter dip pens with bronze finish and accompanying holders. The pen that Liz brought features the French Fleur de Lys. While mine features a Templar cross. I am sure in due time photos will follow.
Continuing on our path, we found the aforementioned tower quickly. A very impressive tower with a very deep history and part of the road of St James leading to Tours. We rested a bit in the garden and planning to make our way to the Marais (aka “the Swamp”). We decided that it may be a lot nicer if we walked by the Seine and found out there was a large pedestrian area by the water. Which actually made walking quite pleasant and relaxed and far away from the travel and the tourists
Although we had both planned to visit places in the Marais, we really are feeling the strain of seeing so many things and walking so much. We opted instead of strolling around the streets, exploring and seeing what was around and just taking in the sights, sounds and smells. We did actually made our way to Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris.
On the way back, we popped into a tiny brasserie, called the “Le 9 birague”, which turned out to be an amazing and relaxing find. If you ever are in Paris, do look it up. A large range of teas but also wine and hot chocolate. We spend quite a while there resting our laurels and chatting the day away, until we really decided that we need to first find a post office and secondly, find something for dinner.
The latter was of course left to Elizabeth, while I asked the proprietress of the establishment where the nearest post office was. Armed with directions we set off and got Liz’s card posted.
From there on, we went to the Bistro that Elizbeth had found. For a starter, I opted for snails (well, when in France), Liz opted for the French Onion soup, following my example from a few days earlier in Monmatre.
Dinner was steak, frites and for Liz a cheese burger. Desert was in the form of Fromage Blanc, with a red fruit coulis and Liz opted for crème caramel. Both of which were excellent! I really wonder if he can get proper Fromage blanc in England.
But we knew we had still to pack and decided to head back to the hotel. Sadly disaster hit upon us! In the form of a Patisserie. I had promised Elizabeth that if we came across one she could buy cake. Proper French cake. And, with once a promise made, one can’t go back on it in good conscience.
So we bought a box of cake, made our way home with precariously balancing the box through the metro system.
In our hotel room we sadly started to gather our stuff and empty the hotel room as we packed our bags. Tomorrow, we head home and back to normality.
Updates to follow
-end of log-
Nous revenons de la cité à notre maison
Paris - Day nine - 29 September 2018
This will be my penultimate entry.
We woke up early, having to make sure we had everything done before 11.00. We showered, had coffee, cleaned the room and disposed of what we no longer needed and eventually made our way down to the reception to checkout.
Deciding to end our holiday in the same style we started, we had booked our private cab again to come and pick us up from the hotel and deliver us to the Gare du Nord. A very luxurious car showed up on time, with tinted back windows and took us through Paris.
It was not quite clear on where and how the check in system worked, but eventually we figured we had to go upstairs.
To my annoyance and surprise, my ticket was refused. Some folks have already caught on to the fact that I had updated my Facebook status about this. I have no idea what caused it, but as soon as I scanned my ticket it beeped red at me. Strangely enough - Elizabeth’s ticket (which is part of the same order on the Eurostar website) worked fine. So I had to go through a separate check-in was to say the least very annoying and somewhat unsettling.
We also had to go twice to passport control, each of them consisting of a scan of our passport as well as extra photos to be taken, and then through baggage checks. Luckily, having gotten wise the last time I had emptied my pockets of all the things and finally we were in the departure hall. We were somewhat on the early side and waited/relaxed until our train was called in.
While writing this we are currently thundering through the landscape at a decent speed of 290 km/h (aprox 180 mph) heading towards Lille, where we shall take a turn to the left and heads towards the shores. Lunch has just been served. Cold cooked salmon with cream cheese, a rice mixed with black olives and vegetables, a bread roll and some wine (coke for liz).
The euro start travel app shows nicely what speed/distance and interesting features around the landscape. For example a while back we crossed the river Somme. But it does give you a nice GPS based update on where the train is, and what speed and distance you have done. Quite fun to follow.
It sure feels strange to be heading home. While Paris was stressful in some ways for the both of us (and with the stress from the wedding preparations fresh behind us), I think we both were bummed to have to head home. A carefree week where we weren’t bound by anything and could do what we liked has come to an end. Admittedly we are both quite tired and feels like we need a holiday from this holiday. Perhaps the stability of normal every day life will see us in better stead.
And in weird stuff, turns out that someone I know from IRC was in Paris the same time as us, and likely we could have walked passed each other since we were both on Ile-de-Cité, and in/around the Nôtre Dame during that torrential down pour. Weird, and a shame we both did not know. It would have been awesome to have met up for a beer or a glass of wine.
Well that was where the travelogue stopped since we were going into the tunnel and i expected to loose my net signal. But it seemed that was not the case. Still - I think there was very little to be gained at that time to keep writing. We did arrive nicely on time at London St Pancras International. It was quite a walk as our coupe was entirely at the end of the platform. Add to that a long walk through the Borderforce/Customs area (which felt very strange compared to the French end - where you just walk through the gates at the platform and voila you are in the public part of Gare du Nord)
It did mean a run to make the train, and with bare few minutes to spare we jumped on the train to Leicester. It was a very eventful journey and I think the travelling and all was starting to take our toll on us. Liz suffered also since she has not been feeling great, the poor thing. Coming down with seems to be a summer cold or something. Hopefully a good night sleep and a restful day will help her see her right.
So we are home, we have unpacked most of the things, but there is still lot to be sorted, unpacked. Lots of boxes from the wedding and evening do. Lots of cards to read and reply to. I wonder if my boss will give me a week off to deal with that. I fear not.
So back home, all is well, and we are settling back in. I probably post one more update on my travelogues tomorrow evening, a reflection on the past week. For now, I think bed may summon soon
Good night folks and readers
Au revoir Paris, jusqu’à un autre jour
Au revoir Paris,
Vous rendre visite était magnifique. Jusqu’à bientôt, peut-être même l’année prochaine. Qui sait, mais … nous reviendrons.
La séparation, comme toujours, est une si douce peine