The Paris Diaries ..only a week and a half late
2006-06-08 00:18:16
This comes with a warning: read at your own risk! We take no responsibility if you become blind, fall asleep and slide off your chair or tear all your hair out.

SO, over the long weekend we went to Paris! Firstly, congratulations to the Eurostar on the British side. To get to Waterloo from our house is a single train ride, 15 minutes max. Everything's automagic - tickets checked, through passport control, on the train and gone in 15 minutes! It was a seamless journey, and the best bit was that we arrived at Gare du Nord - 4 minutes walk from our destination, chez Rozenblums. We indulged in some lovely home cooked french food before heading off to our quarters, in the basement of Charles Rozenblum's gallery.

We did an obscene amount of walking on the trip, managing to limit ourselves to approximately 1 metro journey each day. Saturday morning, armed with pain au raisins (we were too late for croissants.. at 9:30am!) we headed to Notre Dame, via the Georges Pompidou Centre. We then got lost (intentionally) and walked through the gorgeous streets of the right bank, finding our way eventually to that big thing called the Eiffel Tower. We decided to spend a good portion of the afternoon just looking at the thing, while savouring the delights of an impromptu picnic - fresh bread, saussison, camembert cheese and of course, red wine. Staggering back along the river, we came accross the Musée D'Orsay, with the intention of going in, but saw the snake queue folded four times over and gave up. With the wine taking effect (on Hayden) we went up to Sacre Coueur, Monmartre where Hayden promptly fell asleep on the grass. That night we went out to some street festival with the Rozenblums. I asked them what it was about, and their answer amounted to "Nothing. Who needs a reason to party?".

Sunday we went straight to the bakery to make sure we had our fill of croissants. We got some fabulous fresh ones which we ate by the canals, before heading to the Marais, where we went to the Picasso museum. The museum was fantastic, small enough to see everything in an hour (before museum-headache sets in). When we were having coffee in the garden (which Hayden ordered.. in french!), a middle-aged Australian couple approached us, apparently having recognised my Australian "rip curl" jacket, and shared an eye-watering flashback of when they were tripping around Europe, going to museums like this one when they were our age. How sweet!

We then went to Rue des Rosiers in the Marais, but not without stopping off at an amazing artisan chocolaterie, which had thin freshly-made sheets of amazingly flavoured chocolate! The ones we walked away with were white chocolate with exciting bits like pistacios and walnuts, dark chocolate laced with orange chocolate, and a thrilling dark chocolate laced with chilli chocolate. Anyway, we strolled through the Jewish pocket of Paris and had an awesome falafel "experience". It felt like being in Israel - people speaking a mix of French and Hebrew, especially with the chaos and noisy atmosphere. It was a good, cheap meal and the homemade lemonade was superb.

We tried to walk it off going to meet Maud at Montpanasse, but got distracted by the famous Bertillon ice cream, opposite Notre Dame. We had a Paris 'moment' with our rich ice creams, listening to a street busker play the pianola. Hayden was then roped into a street performer's act which was funny, especially the bit where he was asked his age, then ordered to cover his crotch while the artist juggled sickles on top of him. We had a nice afternoon with Maud, and showed her around Paris (strange?). We went to the Luxembourg gardens, which were packed , then relaxed at a cafe near the gallery.

That night we were planning on going to a wonderful restaurant that I had experienced on a previous visit to Paris. As it turned out, it was closed that night, so we wandered around trying to find somewhere to eat. We stumbled upon the "Pop In" which I'd read about as a little slice of Camden in Paris. We went in for a drink and laughed at all the french youth trying to dress like britpop fans. There was free live music - open mic downstairs and it was lots of fun being mistaken for locals (well, it felt like it) listening to French people sing in a very nasally English! It being about 11:30pm when we finally decided to get some dinner, we came across this cute bistro/pub called "Chez Prune", where they served us the last two plates they had for the night - fromage and chacutrie. Needless to say it was fabulous, again paired with gorgeous red wine. Mmm.

Monday morning we visited my cousin Lucy near the Sorbonne in the Latin Quarter. We had a good walk around that area, then she took us somewhere where she does some DJ-ing, which was not so pretty. We left her to go to La Defense and see the "Grande Arche", which we were taken by on our last trip to Paris. We also enjoyed spotting some more cows from a Paris-wide cow display which was taking place. There's a great view down Champs Elysee of the Arc de Triophe from La Defense.

Back at Garre du Nord, we easily spotted the British waiting area, because of the enormous and neat queue of people. Citing problems between the French and English passport control, we left Paris 45 minutes late, in typical French style. We brought back a bag full of french chocolate, a V-shaped sunburn (from my rip-curl jacket) and blistery feet - remenants of the wonderfully enjoyable, eye-opening long weekend we spent in Paris!

...thanks Thea and Bruce


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