"The Pretender"

Trip Start Apr 18, 2007
Trip End Jun 29, 2007

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Flag of France  ,
Friday, May 25, 2007

For a little while at least, I pretended I was French.

After a couple of Metro rides up to the 12th arrondisement, we reached the starting point for one of the Lonely Planet self-guided walks.

But not before I bought breakfast and lunch from a non-English speaking lady in a patisserie. One brioche suisse (chocolate and custard filling) and a still-warm baguette. Magnifique!

We strolled down the Avenue Daumesnil to the Viaduc des Arts, a reclaimed railway viaduct with a mile of artisans shops set into the arches. Not just ordinary artists, no... The weaver who makes fabrics by hand for YSL, a leather embossing specialist (a passport holder? 130 euros, thank you,) a flute and a violin maker, a hand painted porcelain studio, gilded picture frames, antique lace and painting restorers and designer jewellery. At the end, Le Place de la Bastille, another Metro ride up to the Barriere de la Villette, an 18th-century tollhouse that collected taxes on all goods entering the old city of Paris.

From here we wandered along the Canal St.Martin in a more working class district, softened by the canal and its iron footbridges and trees. We watched a couple of boats travel through the locks, nibbled baguette and drank peach nectar from the local supermarket.

Then one errand on the way home and I make this postulation... The quality of a country's postal service has a direct correlation with the cost of it's pashminas!
From US$5 to UK 5 pound and now up to 7.9 euro for '100% pashmina'.
But the French Post Office... apart from free postage to Australia, it couldn't get better!

Box to Australia? Oui Madam, 7kg for 33 euro by air. Sea mail? Non! Is dearer! Insurance? Mais, of course! Just pack it and bring it straight back to me - and sorry my English is not so good.

Two trains home, one long rest, some good loud Aussie music on the CD player to drown out the thunder while we watch the lightening. Just can't pretend I like that Maurice Chevalier type of music at all...
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