Friday, May 19, 2006

Trip to Paris, Part 2

By the time we awoke on the Saturday, we were ready to take more of Paris in, but first we needed to eat, and deciding to do what the locals do, we went to the local bakers, etc and got ourselves a lovely French breakfast, and some lovely lunch for our trip to the Louvre. It was like going on a picnic, rucksacks packed full with our food so we could sit and eat when we wanted and nice food as well. Would recommend that anyone who stays uses the same shops as the locals, gives you a better idea of what they experience themselves.

We did have a funny situation with the hotel, we were in the room getting ready to go out to the Louvre, and the maid knocks on the door, and enters, and we tell her to give us two minutes, and she agrees, so we heard, well when we got back, they hadn’t even bothered to clean the room, which was really nice when getting back late to find nothing done.

Back to the Louvre, once we figured how you are supposed to enter it, take a lesson in reading signs would help me…. This museum has so much in it, I was amazed by the sheer amount it contains, and it really does have so much, covering so many different periods of history. Of course, a lot of people’s focus is the Mona Lisa for the obvious reasons, and where it says clearly no camera taking any pictures in some areas, the amount of people who ignore that, and take pictures when they shouldn’t was surprising. I am guessing a lot of the reason they say no pictures to be taken apart from the obvious fact they want to sell copies of the paintings is that I think flash can affect the painting. So they have to have a cover all, because so many people seem incapable of taking pictures without using a flash, some people are serious stupid, most cameras today come with the ability to turn the flash off, but that isn’t enough. Watching people get told off and stopped from taking pictures especially at the Mona Lisa area was funny.

I certainly didn’t know the history of the Louvre and seeing the original foundations of the building certainly gives it a different perspective. We spent ages at the Louvre, we really did, we avoided the rain that came, and thankfully were able to go on with the rest of our sightseeing. We made our way to the down the champ de elysees, where all the cyclist end up on the last stage of the Tour De France. Seeing how far away the Arc de Triomphe makes you realise just how far they have to go when cycling down that road, and they have all the big names on that road, the Cartier, Louis vuitton, etc. We spent at least an hour or more just walking all the way from one end to the other, quite a walk, but you see so much of the so called higher end of Paris with the boutiques. When you walk from one end of the road to the other, you pass quite a few buildings along the way, the grand palace, and other buildings. Z decided to stand in the middle of the road for some of the shots, a little crazy maybe, but she got some seriously good shots, so I guess it was worth it.

But the time walking all the way up the champ de elysees to the arc, I was very hungry and wanting to eat, but not repeat what happened the night before, so we tried to find a better restaurant and knowing where we were, expected to pay a lot of money. The place we found Chez Clement, was cheaper than Balzar, and the food was much better, and the service was as well. A very vibrate restaurant, which we liked a lot. The food was really nice, we both picked the same for the main meal, a mix of seafood and potato, very nicely done. I would recommend this place, and for two people £45, I think isn’t too bad especially given where it was located.
We both stuffed our faces especially with desert, so much so when we left we felt bloated and decided in our wisdom to walk from the Arc to the Trocedero so we could have a look at the place which we saw the night prior from the Eiffel, allowing us to look up at the Eiffel from distance and get nice shots as well if we could do so.

As you walk into the centre area of the Trocedero it has the Eiffel right in the middle of it, and it is just an amazing view, one which you can see why so many people take pictures. Of course we had our picture taken with the Eiffel in the background, a very nice shot was taken, along with others. There isn’t a lot to do at the Trocedero, so we just admired the view, and seeing the Eiffel illuminated again.

We just decided to stroll back to the hotel after that, taking it easy, only a 20 minute walk or so and take in Paris, seeing boats down the Seine. All in all, it was a wonderful day and we really did enjoy ourselves.

By the time we got to Sunday, we knew what we intended to do, as we were leaving that day, and also we wanted to get a nice breakfast, but because according to the guidebooks Paris shuts down on a Sunday, so we weren’t even sure we could get anything to eat, but lucky where we were some of the shops were open which was really nice, another reason to stay where the locals are nearby, as they want their food as well.

So again armed with plenty of food, we went about having a good breakfast, packing up despite we didn’t have to leave until early evening, though that didn’t quite work out as we expected. We just took it easy on the Sunday, wrote the postcards we wanted to send before we left, got the stamps the day before and wanted to make sure people got the postcards, once we had sorted everything we made our way to Gard du Nord, and so good we did, because when we got there we found out there were problems getting back to London, because of fire near the tracks in Bromley, well I found out it was Bromley the following days when reading the news sites.

No one in Paris seemed to know what was going on, they were confused as anything and were suggesting we would have to stay overnight at the station, my response wasn’t polite to say the least. Thankfully through other passengers being there, and calling the UK, we had a better idea of what was going on, but still no clear information from Eurostar. Eventually we got told to get any train we can get on, because they didn’t know if there would be any more coming to Paris and from Ashford we could make it back to London. That is true, but the journey took 4 hours in the end instead of 2hr 30 minutes, which is what I hoped for.

Despite all the problems at the end, which are too long to get into, we really did enjoy Paris, yes it has its downsides namely the fact the Parisians really do love to smoke so much, not just cigarettes, but cigars as well, and you best hope you are okay with breathing that in, because everywhere is the same, amazingly. And the crap on the street as well.

On the upside, the locals are friendlier than stereotype suggests, their metro is cheaper and more efficient than ours, okay it can smell in some places really badly, in a way that assaults your senses, but hey ho, the tube isn’t exactly perfect either, far from it. I imagine my senses would get use to it in the end.
Paris seems to be a slower pace than London, though I think 99% of places have a slower pace than London, so that might not really say a lot……

I have very happy memories of Paris and desire to go back, and that is what counts, the place gave me a lovely and relaxing weekend away and that is very important to have that time out, so one can relax, get away and just enjoy what else exists outside of our usual bubble of life.


Klite said...

you find the grail in the lourve then ?

Speakers Corner said...


but then I didn't even go looking. I wasn't being chased by religious people either, which is a bloody relief ;o)))