A Travellerspoint blog

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Paris

Day 2 - May 19th 2009

sunny 22 °C
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Sandwich. We stopped for a coffee and were talked into the house special, Fromage et Jambon sandwich (no surprises there) smothered in melted cheese and nap sauce with a fried egg on top. Quite delicious but the fkr charged us for two. We didn’t figure it out until later but it is still bugging me.

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Notre Damme Cathedral. Truly spectacular. The sights just keep getting better.

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Art. On our way to the Musee D’orsay. a local art stall caught our eye. The lady running the stall didn’t speak a word of English but we still seemed to communicate well enough to make a purchase. All the artwork was by local Art students and we ended up buying 3 paintings. One of our more expensive purchases but no buyer’s remorse (as yet).

Musee d’Orsay. Monet, Manet, Renoir… and no exhibition! All available to see any time and entry was surprisingly cheap. In fact entrance to almost every main tourist attraction was cheap or free. Surprising.

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Lucky. A couple of hours in the Musee d’Orsay generated a thirst for some liquid amber. We stopped for a quick one then set out to visit the Hotel des Invalides when we were struck with a sense of panic. “Where are the paintings?” “I thought you had them.” “Shit!” We raced back to the bar and asked the staff if they had found anything. They were a bit reluctant to even look. Eventually they brought out the paintings (partially unravelled mind you) but the scarf Vicki had just bought was missing. C’mon, if you’ve got the paintings then you have the scarf, they were in the same bag. No point arguing, we can get another scarf.

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Happy Birthday, Eiffel Tower (120 years). We saw it for the first time today and were instantly fuelled by adrenalin. Who would have thought the French at one stage considered tearing it down? It was apparently not pretty enough. Beautiful from a distance and glorious up close. The thing was huge and she was having a birthday. Good timing I guess. Vicki labelled me ‘Sammy Okimura' and rightly so. I don’t think I have taken this many photos of anything before. I made the Japanese appear normal!

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Sunset. We camped out on the lawns of the Jardin du Luxembourg to watch sunset over the Eiffel tower. Watching it change colour with every passing moment (I think I may have captured them all!!) was unforgettable. A flick of a switch and the whole thing lit up bright gold then when it was completely dark they started the light show. Two or three hundred more photos and we were on our way to dinner.

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Marais. Our first proper sit down dinner and what better way to start than with a frosty cold one and a plate of snails? The snails were huge and very tasty. Steak Tartare and Duck for mains. Tres Bon.

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Posted by samandvic 00:54 Archived in France Comments (0)

Paris

Day 3 - May 20th 2009

sunny 22 °C
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Tour Montparnasse. As we were visiting the Eiffel tower again tonight to do the climb, we thought we’d get a daytime view of Paris from the Tower in Montparnasse. Paris is very flat in terms of skyline but the architecture is sublime. There may have been ugly parts of Paris but they are either very well concealed or non-existent. The city is unbelievably pretty and so well preserved.

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Catacombes. We set some time aside to do the Catacombes. Adrian had recommended it but they were closed when we got there. No explanation they just decided to close early. We took it better than some of the other tourists that had it scheduled in their itineraries. Annoying but still plenty to see. Vicki used to opportunity to stop and grab a banana and nutella crepe while savouring the break in a nearby park. Lovely.

La Fayette. I suppose you could compare it to Chadstone. They have malls all over France. Good stuff but pretty pricey. Vic and I split up for 30 minutes. I needed some essentials and Vicki just needed to shop. 30 minutes. What damage can anyone do in 30 minutes? Well, Vicki had already bought three pairs of shoes when I returned to meet her and had a girl fetching the fourth. Oh the quality, bear. They are made for my feet, bear. Feel the leather, bear. Not made in China, bear. I could never get them for this price in Melbourne, Bear. Yeah, yeah.. I won’t leave her alone in a mall again!

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Eiffel Tower II. The line up for the tower climb was incredibly long the night before. It would have taken about 3 hours so we postponed. Good move. The line was about a 20th of what it was. One lift to the 2nd floor then another to the peak. If this thing looked big from below then it was even bigger from up here. Again we timed it so we could watch the sunset from the summit. What better way to see Paris? Romantic? Well, if you consider rubbing up against every other tourist that was crammed up there romantic then yes. Busy but beautiful beyond compare.

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Dinner. A quick bite to eat in the Champs Elysees area again and off to bed.

Accident. Vicki had gone to bed and I was merely peering out the hotel window admiring the view when an oldish sort of car (couldn’t make out the model) smashed into the back of a BMW convertible. The BMW driver was furious. They got so close to each other that I swear he must have given the driver of the other car a customary two kisses before sorting it out. Not a hugely masculine argument but entertaining to watch. The cops drove straight past and didn’t for a moment look like stopping. Boulangerie closing?

Posted by samandvic 01:21 Archived in France Comments (0)

Paris

Day 4 - May 21st 2009

sunny 21 °C
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Louvre. We set aside the day as we’d heard the louvre was rather large and hard to get through. It couldn’t be closer to the truth. The building(s) in itself was a museum with three main wings (each made up of three floors) and an additional Egyptian exhibit. We started our exploration strategically to avoid missing anything. The only way to see everything on offer was to simply walk past each exhibit taking no time to admire or absorb what it was you were looking at. That’s not what we came for so after almost two hours we decided to change our approach and tackle the exhibits that interested us most. We hit the wall at about 6 hours. You could easily spend three days here and still not cover it all off. Enough for one day. The Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo (no matter how I look at it, the Gummy de Milo comes to mind – Simpsons reference) were the standouts but there were plenty of highlights. What a superb Museum/gallery.

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Shopping. We again visited the La Fayette Mall but this time I did most of the shopping. A few T-shirts and a man bag (it’s called a satchel!) and I was done.

Arrogance. I was interested in buying a pair of Mont Blanc sunglasses. I decided on a pair but unfortunately they only had the display available for sale. I don’t do that so it ended there. During our interaction, I noticed a sign advertising 15% off. “Does this apply to us, Monsieur?” “Non, it is only for French people.” Within a nano second Vic jumped in and said: “Really? We have the same thing in Australia but only for AUSTRALIAN people! YOU wouldn’t be eligible.”

Dinner. Nice dinner in close proximity to the hotel which ended the night nicely. We met a French guy that was extremely cool. Very hospitable and full of helpful advice. Can’t remember his name so I am going to call him Michelle!

Posted by samandvic 01:40 Archived in France Comments (1)

Paris

Day 5 - May 22nd 2009

sunny 21 °C
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What next? We spent the morning figuring out how we were getting to Cannes and when. A visit to the train station was necessary so that’s where we headed. All sorted, we purchased a Global Euro rail pass which meant we could go First class anywhere in Europe anytime. Not cheap but what the hey?

Hotel. We decided to stay another night in Paris. We could have easily spent many more but decided another night would satisfy our hunger. We changed hotels and stayed in the Champs Elysees area. Beautiful. Great location and worth every penny.

Sweets. Today we didn’t really stop for any set meals. We snacked all day long. Vicki ate sweets at every junction. Not a single savoury morsel hit her palette. She boasted that the French made the best sweets in the world. Fair enough but eat some real food girl. No thanks.

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Laundry. I’ve had to buy underwear to keep me going the last few days. Finally, a fresh compliment of undergarments. Formidable!

Laduree. We headed back to Champs Elysees to do a spot of shopping and to grab a bite. I kind of had a feeling Vic was leading me somewhere. Laduree was always on her agenda. Great coffee and incredible sweets all for a really low price (now that is sarcasm). Seriously worth it.

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Smokes. Vicki sent me to get smokes while she soaked up the atmosphere in Laduree. I asked the Maitradee in a nearby Restaurant for directions and just as I did, he started making retarded noises whilst slapping his ears and mouth with open hands. I didn’t know whether he was taking the piss or truly deaf and dumb. My instincts served me well. I turned around after passing him and yelled: “Excusez-moi”. He turned to face me pretty quickly so I took a few steps towards him, looked him square in the eyes, flipped him the good old Australian bird then the first and only thing to spew from my mouth was “wanker” in an ostentatious French accent with exaggerated arm movements (it was a bit childish but when in Rome…). Not sure he understood me but I certainly felt a whole heap better. I really hope he wasn’t retarded.

Theft. I would like to report a theft, S’il vous-plait. Vicki was looking a little uneasy in what could have been her favourite eatery in Paris and maybe the world – Laduree. What ever could be the matter? “I want a menu”, she cried. “Still Hungry?” “No, I want a menu”. She proceeded to ask for another look at the menu, strategically too I might add. She intentionally asked one of the staff members that wasn’t assigned to our table. A quick slip of the menu into one of our shopping bags then the anxiety kicked in. “Did anyone see? Maybe from inside? Surely someone saw me? Shit!” She walked off while I waited to pay the bill. As I approached her, the smile that appeared on her face was priceless. If ever there was a souvenir worth risking imprisonment or public humiliation over then this was it.

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Panic. Suddenly the realisation of leaving Paris without seeing the original house of Chanel hit Vicki. I was settling in to the room and happy to be retiring early (midnight - the earliest we’ve come back to the hotel since we arrived in Paris). I knew it was too good to be true. With puppy dog eyes, She asked if I minded going on a trek to find Coco Chanel’s first boutique. How could I resist? Off we went.

Chanel (or ‘The Shrine’ as Vicki’s Mum refers to it as). Glad it was closed but boy it was impressive. The look of satisfaction and glee in Vicki’s eyes was enough to stimulate my second wind. Sharing her enthusiasm we proceeded to take shot after shot to ensure we’d adequately captured the moment (Thankfully, I bought an external hard drive before leaving Oz). Vicki was overjoyed. Tres Bien.

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Au Revoir, Paris. Our last night in the city of lights. Why not go for a walk and soak it up some more? Paris is beautiful at night and who knows if we’ll ever see a city more appeasing to the eye. We couldn’t have picked a better place to stay. We stayed in the first arrondissiment and quickly realised why (around Champs Elysees). Absolutely stunning. We ended our time in Paris perfectly. Not an early retirement but who cares. Bon Nuit, Frogs.

Posted by samandvic 01:43 Archived in France Comments (0)

Paris

Day 6 - May 23rd 2009

sunny 23 °C
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Breakfast. The guy at the hotel front desk was sleeping at 0630. He straightened himself up (quite literally) and tried telling us that breakfast didn’t start until 7am. Nope. Don’t be lazy, Fkr. Make me some coffee and breakfast, S’il vous-plait!

Garre De Lyon. Arrived at the station with plenty of time to spare. Jumped in the wrong carriage at first. Luckily a couple of travelling Aussies kicked us out of our seats otherwise we would have spent the trip in Second Class. Ooh la la, C’est ne pas possible. C’est une probleme. Je ne suis pas comfortable dans la 2 classe. It rubs off after a while.

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TGV. Great Trains and super quick. The first class cabins make it all worthwhile. I could even charge the laptop. Money well spent.

Posted by samandvic 01:55 Archived in France Comments (0)

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