Jude's 2019 travel blog

Just arrived

Starting to repair burned area of Notre Dame

Continuing our champagne tradition at Legrand's

With champagne in our bellies

Things they throw out in Paris

First glimpse of a wonderful tiled roof, Beaune

Fabulous tiled roof of Hôtel Dieu hospital

Hôtel Dieu, Beaune

Hospital for the poor, Beaune

Towards the chapel in the hospital for the poor, Beaune

Hospital for the poor, Beaune

Hospital for the wealthy, Beaune

Kitchen in Hôtel Dieu, Beaune

Wine tasting, Beaune

In the wine cellar, Beaune

Maille mustard, Dijon

Owl symbol of Dijon

Dijon cathedral has colourful roof tiles

At the Eiffel Tower

Guess where

Enjoying birthday lunch at Eiffel Tower

Asparagus entree for Lorri

Goat's cheese with peas and mint

Van Gogh light show

Van Gogh light show

Van Gogh light show

Van Gogh light show

Van Gogh light show

Van Gogh light show

Van Gogh light show

Bonjour mes amis,

Lorri has joined me as part of my continuing celebrations for my 70th birthday. She arrived in Paris on Monday morning and that first day was spent phaffing around and just enjoying Paris which feels like a second home to us. In the morning we went to Fragonard to buy some perfume Lorri loves but couldn't get last time. To her delight they are stocking something similar in their new boutique.

Another errand was to The House of Cartier to buy refills for her pen. Well that turned into a comedy of errors. Firstly, we went to Mont Blanc thinking her pen was that brand. You have to be let into such places by severe looking security men observe you with suspicion. We went into the first store (of three) and both thought that things had changed since last time we got her refills. We remembered a large sweeping staircase and being attended to upstairs. The first Mont Blanc man said it was a new store so that made sense that it didn't look familiar. He took he pen away to get the refills. When he returned with her pen elegantly positioned on a velvet tray he said that they didn't have what we wanted but the older store that kept more comprehensive stock was a short walk away. So off we went to Mont Blanc store number 2.

After being vetted by more security men on entry, Lorri again asked for her refills. In conversation we asked if they had done remodelling in the past four years and we were told "yes, some minor work" so we thought that accounted for the lack of sweeping staircase that we had remembered.

After a short while we noted that our man was talking to his colleague who was saying the pen was not a Mont Blanc. He came back with the news that it was "not from this House". "Certainly it is" said Lorri. "Its written here". The young man's eyesight was sharper than ours and he pointed out that the pen was from The House of Cartier. Woops, we were in the wrong fancy pants House. No wonder the staircase was missing. So with an awkward laugh and thanks for his time, we moved on to the third House.

While waiting for security to allow us entry to The House of Cartier we observed (you guessed it,) the staircase and remembered everything from our last visit four years ago. We were shown upstairs and asked to sit in one of many small waiting nooks. We were offered something to drink and soon after a lovely young man dealt with us. He put Lorri's new refills each in a red velvet pouch and even put her pen in one. As soon as we got outside we had a good laugh. All of that trouble for two pen refills.

We ventured onto the Ile de cité to see the damage that the fire had done to Notre Dame Cathedral. On the way, we stopped for our first kir and snacks. Very enjoyable. Later in the day we went to Legrand's in Galerie Vivienne for champagne. It is a tradition. No Paris trip is complete without a glass of champagne there.

We were up early the next morning to take the train to Beaune in the Burgundy region. Our purpose was to visit the Hôtel Dieu which was established in the 15th century as a hospital for the poor. It is also remarkable for its fabulous tiled roofs which amazed and delighted us. Lorri was particularly taken by the hospital for the poor and by the forethought in building design and their concerns for hygiene as well as the generosity of its benefactors. The poor were treated with respect, kindness and dignity with curtains for privacy around their beds when they were being treated. Lorri was very tempted to snuggle up in one of the beds as she was starting to flag.

We moved on to wine tasting in the cellars of the Marché aux Vins before taking the train to Dijon, famous for its mustard. One of the highlights was a mustard tasting at Maille, a brand sold all over the world. The variety of tastes was amazing, from honey, to truffle, to pesto and so much more. We even tried a non alcoholic cocktail made with fruit vinegar, mango and peach juices. It was surprisingly delicious.

As we were sightseeing, we noticed metal plaques of cute, little owls in the footpath forming a path all around the city. They are supposed to bring good luck. So, after obligatory kirs and dinner we returned to the station for an expected journey of 1hr 37mins on a fast train back to Gare de Lyon, Paris. That was not to be. We actually arrived two hours late because there had been an accident at our station in Paris and trains couldn't enter the station. It was around 11pm on our way home when we got stopped for a ticket check. We presented our new Navigo Easy passes which were only introduced on 12th June. The inspector was very interested in it but couldn't seem to work out how to check it until his colleague made suggestions. I thought he might refuse it but it was fine. Feeling tired an discombobulated, I led Lorri to the next connection only to go in a circle and return to the inspectors. I smiled and continued walking only to have him me to check my pass again. He wanted to show others its functions.

On our last day in Paris we had lunch in the Restaurant 58 on the Eiffel Tower. It was a trying time to get there having to go through a bag check to get into the environment, then another security check before a very long wait for the lift up the tower. But the meal was so delicious that it was worth it.

Later in the day we went to a Van Gogh light show exhibition where images of his work were displayed on large walls in a darkened room with music to set the scene. It was breath taking and we were surprised and slightly disappointed when it finished. After checking our watches we realised that it had been an hour of captivation but it felt like only about 15 minutes had passed. It is true that time flies when you're having fun.

Now we are having fun in Germany, but that's another story.

Take care of yourselves. Bisous,

Jude and Lorri xx

P.S. We take a pause to say RIP for Charlie the Wonder Dog, Prue's long time puppy companion and my first grandpup who passed over the rainbow bridge to doggie heaven today. We will miss him dearly.

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