Toujours Paris!

Trip Start Apr 28, 2007
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Trip End Oct 26, 2007


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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

We had one week in Paris; James would be with us for all of it, and our TO DO list was extensive.
 
The Thalys high speed train took us from Amsterdam to Paris Nord on Friday; James & Caitlin McCarthy arrived about 3 hours later from Milan and Munich respectively; and we had an early introduction to how much the Parisians hosts love us touristes... our accommodation was a small cost effective apartment on the fringe of town in the 14th arondissement- the loo was an enclosed internal closet much smaller a single wardrobe, and on our arrival the light bulb was blown.  This clearly was unsatisfactory, but it took some determined "negotiating" with the ground crew on the desk at "Les Residences" to obtain a functional light bulb that night.  We found this to be fairly representative of the Parisian attitude during the rest of the week. That first night we ate out locally in Porte d'Versailles - we didn't find French food; only average Italian food - sorry James - to inflict that on you after your authentic Italian food of the last few months. But we celebrated seeing James and Caitlin, and thoroughly enjoyed our first night in Paris.
Saturday: We took in Mont Martre with its amazing artists, portrait painters and caricaturists clustered into the picturesque square; the Sacre Coeur with its vista over Paris; the Moulin Rouge and all the associated night life outlets in the area.  By then we needed an Espresso but at E6/ $12 each., it is so far the MOST expensive espresso. James and Caitlin masterminded the dusk experience under the Eiffel Tower with cheeses, champagne and figs on the grass: thanks Caitlin! Then we walked across the Seine to the Trocadero and noted that hen parties and stag nights are enjoyed in Paris too.  We wandered on to the Arc de Triomphe and marvelled at the crazy traffic as much as the Arc in the middle of it all - (check out our video clip of the way traffic moves around that)........

And that was just our first day. We had covered kilometres on foot by then. James and Caitlin went on to meet some friends and head back into the action for most of the rest of the night. Jenny & Brian stumbled into some place for dinner. And wine of course.
 
Sunday: James & Caitlin went to EuroDisney. Brian& Jenny celebrated the first wedding anniversary, in Paris - not a bad place to be! We went to the Left Bank and found lunch in a tiny back street bistro at St-Germaine-des-Pres. Wandered into the amazing old church of St Germain-des-Pres, said to be the city's oldest church erected in the 11th and 12th centuries, and were wowed by the wonderful stained glass windows and painted columns -The local "Place" with its cafes and brasseries was the stomping ground for the early Existentialists like Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir. Apparently Picasso and Rimbaud stopped by too, and the current café owners are cashing in on today's tourists who want to experience their haunts. Which is why we found a bistro in a little back street - much better value! 
 
Wandered down through narrow and charming streets past the Sorbonne area to St Michel, came across v. old church dating back to 12th century called Eglies St Severin, and a tree planted in 1602 (how do they know it was "02"?) and by then needed more expensive espresso. On out to the edge of Paris, to Le Parc Floral for a Paris jazz festival event - which had just finished! - Jenny used to be better at French when she lived in France for several months back in her late teens.  Admittedly, that IS a long time ago now, so clearly needing a bit of revision in the "from and to" translation of  programmes....We got over it and went for (more) good food & wine as a late dinner. Caitlin and James took stamina to new heights at Euro Disney and stayed till it closed at 9.30pm..
 
Monday: We had to see Notre-Dame of course. James and Caitlin were keen to climb it, but
the queues of tourists with the same idea didn't encourage Jenny & Brian. Instead, we walked (endlessly) to lunch at Chez Marianne, a true back
street café recommended by Lonely Planet in the back blocks of gay Paris. So "local" that even the locals couldn't pinpoint the street, but in true Kiwi fashion we weren't going to be beaten. Fortified with platters of food and more good wine, we walked to the Louvre and then on through the Tuileries to Concorde. Au Revoir to Caitlin who was heading back to Munich. Back for some shopping at Hotel de Ville area
 
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