Paris La la la la la
Sep 16, 2018
|I’ve grown to really love Paris on this trip, it’s culture, it’s charm, it’s je ne sais quoi. A city made for strolling beside the river with magnificent views in all directions, leafy boulevards, elegant Haussmann buildings (which I learnt about during my walking tour), Sunday outdoor markets, the endless outdoor cafes and bistros where there is always an opportunity to rest my weary feet over a wine, beer or coffee depending upon mood rather than time of day and indulge in some serious people watching.
Yesterday, as usual I was up early, the best part of the day in a city when travelling, no tourists (they’re all still eating their muesli in 5 star hotels - I tend to grab a banana on the run and stop at my friendly local tabac for my crispy croissant and cafe au lait, not sure I ever want to eat muesli again after Paris way of life) and beautiful lighting for photos.
I walked straight into the Notre Dame at 7.30 am, (imagine no queues at the ND, unheard of, what a pleasure) and Our Lady continues to astound no matter how many times I visit her.
It was so much pleasure walking around the Ile de la Cite area, enjoying the peace and quiet, reflections on the Seine, able to enjoy seeing the magnificent buildings especially being a Sunday with no crowds.
This has turned out to be a great time to visit Europe, weather so far has been perfect but the lack of overcrowding has turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
It is disappointing to see that the famous Paris book boxes along the Seine (which I’ve always loved browsing) no longer contain books and artwork, now they mainly sell junky Chinese souvenirs.
I saw some amusing sights today, for eg. the smoking here is difficult to get used to, no matter where you go people light up, I’m not generally sensitive to the odd smoker, but this is ridiculous, today I saw a chap on a motorbike stop in the middle of the road to light his ciggie and then keep going, however did he keep it alight?
I also experienced the best and funniest Lalalala moment on the train, a rather large Parisian lady had some sort of altercation with a rather large Frenchman and boy did she let him have it with her tongue and rather large body language not to mention facial contortions, it must provide great relief to let off like that, it was incredibly loud and ferocious and he definitely came off second best, ha ha. The Parisians are rather bad tempered and extremely impatient, however like the British, they will quite happily queue up very politely in a straight line (not bunch up and fight to be served like we do in Oz) at the Baker etc.
Mum, this is why I will never be a good travel blogger, I tend to digress as the people and lifestyle interest me as much as the sights, these are the bits I would like to remember when I’m hopefully your age, unable to travel and will relive the memories from my blog.
I’ve had time on this trip to explore so many more areas of Paris than on previous trips and enjoyed the thrill of just wandering around a particular area and discovering sights I had only ever read about. My handy guide book explained exactly what I was seeing, I enjoyed the Halles area and seeing the Hotel de Ville and so much more.
After my wander around Paris island, I headed off to explore everybody’s favourite area of Paris, The Montmartre.
I have found transport on the Metro fantastic and the stations quite interesting, many with their own theme, for instance Concorde Station is completely tiled in scrabble size letters and numbers, they would’ve kept Cameron and Ellen amused for hours playing scrabble and Sudoko whilst waiting for a train.
Great memories at Montmartre of time spent there with Ellen a couple of years ago. The Sacre-Couer provides excellent views on such a lovely day and of course the charm of the area with all the artists, the village atmosphere, quirky little shops and being a Sunday, many of the locals were out and about enjoying the sunshine. There were interesting Sunday markets, I enjoyed seeing the last remaining Montmartre vineyards and could imagine a time when the whole area was just vineyards.
I wondered through the Place des Abbesses and eventually down to the Moulin Rouge. I had fun watching the gamblers with their 3 cups and a ball and wondered seriously how the idiots that participated could really believe they stood a chance against these scamsters. If you watch them play for long enough you can actually watch them cheat and recognise their stooges pretending to be a tourist betting. Ha ha
Saint Germaine and Boulevard Saint Germaine was an interesting walk, The a Pantheon and St Germaine des pres.
I eventually ended up back in the Latin Quarter which I enjoy, such a vibrant fun place to wonder around in and after discovering I’d walked over 20 kilometres already, returned to my hotel to get ready to meet our Intrepid leader and traveling group.
Our guide is a very nice young Spanish man, full of enthusiasm and hopefully fun. Our group is only 6 which is great, sadly all women, 3 from USA and 3 of us from Oz, it would’ve been fun to have some male company but let’s see how it all goes.
Time for my early morning walk, I’m off to the Eiffel Tower today.