See Paris in 2 days? Non, c'est impossible! But we have given it a good try and we will just have to come back again soon.
Our first real view of Paris was at dusk as our coach rolled into a grey, rainy city. It looked a little bleak but as we drove along the Seine past the Eiffel Tower it was still a wonderful sight. We love our apartment and our Airbnb host Sylvain, who lives in the apartment above, entertained us for about an hour with politics, history, religion, family and stories of life in Paris (he came here as a child, a Jewish refugee from Tunisia) He is still gutted about the World Cup and was surprised we didn't change our flag and ditch the Queen. If there is one thing to say about the French (and I have more on that topic) it is that they have very definite opinions and no issue with sharing them! We had an interesting walk in the Marais searching for food - I found this a bit challenging, my first experience of Paris at 9.00 pm included beggars, dogs, homeless people and colourful night life. But by day it is a lovely area, very central and known as the Jewish and gay quarter.
The next day Paris was transformed and we have spent 2 days exploring in brilliant sunshine. What a beautiful city! Firstly our guided bus tour took us to all the monuments and many significant sites, giving those of us who needed it (ie not Doug and Tom) yet another first hand history lesson. We started with a tour of the Notre Dame and on it went....so many sights, thoughts and feelings eg standing in Place de la Concorde on the site of the guillotine, touching the Arc de Triomphe, picnic lunch beside the Eiffel Tower, to name just a few.
We had our first experience of the Metro, at first confusing but we have is sussed now. Then in the evening we ascended the Eiffel Tower - totally to the top! I don't have a fear of heights but it was still quite scary. Once up there the view is to die for and the perfect balmy evening made it all the more special.
Back on the Metro to the Latin Quarter for dinner at a traditional French Alpine restaurant - the dishes featured cheese, cheese and more delicious cheese, finished off with my best ever creme brulee. And more crisp dry white wine. Very impressed that all the students tried snails. Top of our food experiences in France has to be the pastries, closely followed by baguettes ( a sandwich here is always a baguette), croisssant and I am addicted to pain au chocolat! Just as well we are doing so much exercise but I hope I will be able to get into my dress for the wedding! Coffee disappointing, only one good one so far. NZ has really great coffee and I miss it! The cafe scene generally however is amazing and has provided a few lovely moments of relaxation and superb people-watching in amongst our rush to see as much as possible.
HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY, DAD. Sad to miss your special day but we all send our love and as I write this we are raising a glass of very nice Bordeaux wine in your honour!
Its spring in Paris!
Doug and Tom triumph in Paris
Pene in Paris
The Eiffel Tower
Tom and Doug high in Paris
Le Jardin des Tuileries
View from top of Eiffel Tower
A riveting experience