A Night In Paris - Never To Forget!

Trip Start Oct 30, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

We arrived at Madrid airport and after collecting luggage and going through immigration it was almost midnight. We put our big packs into storage and sought out a quiet area in the airport - this was our accommodation for the night....

WHAT! I hear you say, well, we only had about 3 hours before we had to check in for our flight, so there was no use trying to get to a hotel. We found a particular comfy looking bench for some sleep, although nearby, around the corner, another couple had taken advantage of the quietness and darkness and were a little bit ummmm ... affectionate. Being too tired to worry about it and not wanting to give up our prime location, Christie settled on top of the seat, while Glenn slept underneath. Surprisingly, we were able to get a bit of sleep.

Christie got up at 3am and went to the check in desk, there was only a handful of people waiting and check in was not yet open. "Ok Glenn, we can sleep till 3.30".

Getting up, we walked over and to our horror, there was a line some 50 or 60 people long! Arrggghhhh!. We wanted to make sure we had seats together. Luckily, when the lines opened, there were several destinations checking in at the same time and the queue fell to pieces, so we were able to check into a line without luggage and we were one of the first ones on that plane!

Arriving in Paris (yes, PARIS!), we noted how crap the airport was compared to most that we had been, totally disorganised and difficult to get around. It took almost an hour just for our plane to find its gate!

After taking a bus and a couple of trains we arrived at our hotel, our room was not available (not what we wanted to hear after only a couple of hours sleep at the airport the night before) so we left our bags and went out for a walk.

It was wonderful to be on streets of Paris again and in our favourite area too, the Latin Quarter. However, the European summer was much hotter than we had originally expected and today it was predicted to hit 40 degrees. We were hoping for a bit of relief after the heat in Istanbul, but it wasn't going to happen today. After passing lots of boulangeries, patisseries and cafes we settled on a place for breakfast. Pain au chocolate, french coffee and fresh juice. A wonderful reminder of our time in France in 2001. And the French coffee... Glennīs says ítīs his favourite so far of all the places we had been to around the world.

After a bit of shopping at a local fruit market we made our way back to the hotel, our room now ready, it was time to catch up on some much needed sleep. That afternoon, we woke feeling a little tired, but much better for the sleep we did get.

Back into the heat we visited the Jardin du Luxembourg, along with the rest of the population of Paris who were trying to escape the summer heat. We decided to visit some of our old haunts in the Latin Quarter. We found the hotel we had stayed at last time we were in Paris, although trying to remember the name and location proved a little difficult (Glenn had remembered the name of it as 3 etage (stages), Christie as 3 dogs!, but it turned out to be "3 colleges").

We then found a nice little place for dinner. While waiting to be served, a big family sat next to us and potentially spoiled the romantic environment, bugger that, we upped and moved to a quieter spot - they aren't going to spoil it. It was a great dinner and Glenn finally got to try his snails.

After dinner, we went walking and Glenn spotted a rose seller and grabbed one (luckily had just enough change) and gave it to his darling Christie. We walked along the river Seine, enjoying the views past Notre Dame. We decided to cross the bridge over the Seine and go to the Louvre. The bridge was filled with people having summer picnics with wine and homemade dinners. It was a wonderful sight, but it did make the bridge a bit of a challenge to cross.

At entrance to Louvre, we passed a mass of "Fat bike" tour riders (a tour group on mountain bikes), and as we entered the courtyard, the mass of bikers rode past us into the courtyard. Hmmm, such an addition to the romance.

We paused before going into the main courtyard (yes, the one with the big triangle). Musicians were playing through one of the archways, and it was such a romantic moment. We sat for a while and chatted, but Glenn wondered if the bikers would come racing out at any moment, so we continued on, past the musicians into the courtyard.

It was packed with people (but the "Fat Bikers" had gone!) and as we walked, we witnessed a marriage proposal... bugger, don't spoil our moment! We walked around the Louvre for a while, Glenn kicking himself for not taking the opportunity before we had entered the courtyard. Christie noted that the sky looked dark toward the Eiffel Tower - it may be a storm coming.

Still Glenn wanted the whole deal, the accordion playing on the underground (as we had last time we were in Paris) and he had hoped that near the Eiffel Tower would be romantic (fully aware that Christie didn't enjoy heights, he wasn't going to drag her back up the tower). We found the underground just opposite the Louvre, so we jumped on, and sad to say, it was packed with people, with no accordion player and not romantic in the slightest.

Changing metro trains, for the Eiffel Tower line, Glenn was thinking that it was a mistake to come this way, and after getting off at the Tower stop, we both realised why....
the storm had come (yes, Christie had seen it coming), and it was one mighty storm - pouring rain, windy and wild lightning.

We decided to walk towards it anyway, against the stream of people running away (we had come this far!) and as we approached we saw the tower sparkle! Yes, its lights were sparkling like a big diamond! We decided to brave the rain and walk there (while people screamed at the thunder and ran away), but when we approached we had all the hawkers trying to sell little glowing Eiffel towers, and with crowds of people everywhere and the rain now pouring down, Glenn looked at Christie and said lets get out of here!

Yes, Glenn was disappointed, and upset that the perfect day had not turned out quite so perfect. Still, there was hope, and we caught the metro back. Glenn decided that we would get out at the Louvre station and see if it was still open. (He didn't hold too much hope that the musicians would still be there).

We walked across the street, the rain eased by now and were glad when the Louvre was open. Alas, no musicians, in fact there was no-one in sight - Hey, we had the whole place to ourselves!

The triangle, controversial to some, lit up the place in a soft light, and we sought shelter over the courtyard under and arch. We hugged and laughed at our situation - it was always an adventure with us. Glenn walked over and put his bag down in the corner. "What are you doing?" asked Christie.

Glenn returned to her, dropped down on one knee and said "I'm asking you to be my wife... Will you marry me?"

"Yes"!!!! We hugged and were so happy! It was a perfect ending to an (almost) perfect day, and as Christie says - it was very us.

We laughed at our appearance - soaking wet, Christie's hair having turned curly from the rain and then decided to take some happy snaps to remember the moment. Although Glenn did get a bit trigger happy when the lightning lit up the place in the background!

We caught the metro back to our hotel, exhausted, but very happy. What a memorable night in Paris!

And the next day we slept in! We had a flight out at 9.40pm, so we had some more time to enjoy the city. But first - we had to call home to share our news! It was great to have our parents as elated and as happy as we were on the other side of the world!

We did a bit of souvenir shopping and bought a music box of our favourite French song. While looking for some lunch, we passed the restaurant that we ate at the night before and that song was playing there! It was meant to be.

We then decided to try and visit the Church of Sacre Couer, which Christie thought had a great view over the city. We jumped on the metro and after a steep walk up the hill, we had the view... well, a typical Paris view - a little smoggy, over the vast city of Paris. We had a look inside the church and decided to walk across to the nearby cemetery, apparently famous people where buried there.

We realised that the Moulin Rouge was not that much further away (we were at Montmarte)and as we didn't see it last time we were in Paris, we decided to walk towards it. However, this brought us right through the red light district of Pigale and well, it didn't really make the walk very romantic.

Still, we found the Moulin Rouge and after taking a few snaps, we continued on to the cemetery although when we got there it was the wrong one!!! No-one famous here! (well no-one we knew anyway), oops.

Going back, the Moulin Rouge now had its lights on and the windmill turning - a bit nicer, although definitely night would be the most spectacular time to see it, but probably not the best time for a romantic walk!

We jumped on the metro and went back, running out of time. But Glenn wanted to walk back through the Latin quarter again, at least to end the day with a little romance! It's definitely our favourite part of Paris and it sure helped - it was a great way to finish the day. Although of course by now we were running a bit late... Glenn strikes again!

Quickly grabbing our bags, we hopped back on the metro and then onto a train to the airport. Luckily, we had good connections and got there with plenty of time.

Checking in, we then caught our flight back to Madrid to continue our trip - our one night in Paris a night never to forget!
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