Trip Start Jan 11, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Saturday, April 28, 2012

We decided to go to Paris to properly celebrate Geoff's birthday. The goal: good wine, good food and a splash of culture. And that's what we got... eventually.
The moment we walked off the Metro and into the open air, we were struck by wafts of urine and cigarette smoke. Hello Paris! Our first stop: an Aussie Bar (which offered Fosters and meat pies and cocktails with names like 'Uluru Sunrise'). We had to go there to pick up the keys to where we were staying (some friends very kindly let us use their apartment while they were away... perfect!).
By the time we settled in, it was late and we were hungry. We found the closest and easiest option - a little bistro just up the street. It turned out to be awesome! The place was packed with highly excitable frenchmen watching Barcelona vs Chelsea. The game was close, the atmosphere was heated and the wine was great. I can't remember who won. Irrelevant to me. Did I mention the wine was great?

The first day started with a bang and quickly fizzled. Or should I say drizzled. The bang: Fresh and delicious pain au chocolat for breakfast...

The fizz: RAIN, WIND, COLD.
We walked to the Arc de Triumph, but the weather was AWFUL. It was so unpleasant that the entire Champs Elysees was deserted.... We followed suit and headed instead for the shelter of the Louvre. Of course, it was packed! But definitely worth the wait for a glimpse of the Mona Lisa (after jostling through a crowd equivalent to the BDO mosh pit).
That afternoon it cleared up and we headed for Sacre Coeur - my personal favourite.

I reckon it's the most breathtaking church we've been to so far.... set atop a hill with the most stunning view and fringed by Montmartre - a very quaint (albeit touristy) little district full of little surprises to uncover. One of them: Chez Camille, a cute little cocktail bar stuck in the 50's.

Finally: Geoff's BIRTHDAY! Woooo! In the morning we smashed the Eiffel Tower, then smashed down some delicious baguettes with wine and cheese. In the afternoon, we headed back to Montmartre (quickly becoming our favourite place) and went to a Salvador Dali exhibition.... You know the one... the Spanish guy behind the melting clock with a crazy mustache. I'm convinced he was equal parts mad and brilliant!

Afterwards, we had some time to kill, so we whiled away a few hours in a sidewalk cafe, sipping wine and watching the Parisians (and their dogs) pass us by. We finished the day  with the most delicious dinner of the trip  - Check out the pics!

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