Trip Start Jul 12, 2009
5Trip End Aug 02, 2009
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It was 3.50PM on a wet Paris afternoon as we left our train and lined up for a cab. Whilst in the line we had our first tastes of gypsy begging (or should I say scamming) which we were able to resist. But it did warn us that unlike where we had previously been that we would have to have an increased sense of awareness of pickpockets etc. Our cab was a black Mercedes and after a 30 minute drive we arrived at our quaint Paris hotel. We were relieved when we were greeted at reception by a young guy who could speak English. After settling in we decided to take a walk and the first surprise came when only 100 metre from our hotel was a fruit and Veggie street market which provided a great atmosphere for us to settle in to.
We continued to walk aimlessly but at the same time with a sense of purpose to discover what ever came our way
After surveying the menus of a number of restaurants we went for the easy option (no not McDonald's) and went into a brasserie which had its menu in English. It was a good meal but felt it was catering for the tourists and we agreed that from now on we would only eat when the menu was in French (a challenge that took Tony some time to concur with!!!). Back to our hotel, a bit of French television including Australia's City Homicide with Shane Bourne and Dan McPherson having there voices dubbed in French which actually made there acting look OK. Alarms set for 7AM, it was time to sleep and get ready for the next day discovering Paris.
Saturday 25 July 2009
Fell out of bed at 7AM, breakfast and waiting out the front of the hotel by 7.50am to be picked up for our one day super tour of Paris
and we were pleasantly surprised that the tour we had booked was a boutique tour for six people. Jeremy, an over opinionated guy from South Carolina and Salim and his wife and daughter from India who are currently
living in Dubai.
Our first stop was to join the que at 8.15AM at the base of the Eiffel Tower where the lines were all already exceeding 500 metres. Our first impression of the tower was the size of its expanse and the intrusion
of the French army in patrol at the base and intimidated its tourists with machine guns. Of course there were the very negotiable salesman of imitation tower souvenirs
which we both firmly resisted. We were the first to climb the tower via its lift and embarked on the second landing which provided us with most incredible views of the wonderful city of Paris.
Our words do not provide justice to the sites before us so you will need to view our photos to capture a glimpse of magnificent Paris.
We left the tower and were directed towards the River Seine to board a cruise boat up this most famous river
Murry River. But our cynicism was unfounded as indeed
this was a great way to view Paris and its historical sites and majestic buildings. We left our cruise and back into our people mover where we continued to view the incredible sites this city has to offer. Every turn
of our head lead to views beyond description and we can only encourage you all to come and see the city for yourselves. We journeyed to Montemarte which provided the most amazing views over the city and allowed
us to view one of Paris's most significant landmarks, the church
of Sacre Cour, and then walked through its streets where we viewed the works of many artists and ate lunch at a local Parisian restaurant, beef beauboulisse being our choice.
We left Montemarte and headed to the French quarter district and most significantly to the site of the Louvre Museum housing the Mona Lisa and then to Notre Dame cathedral. We left our tour at this point and
commenced what was a two hour walk through the streets of the French quarter and once we were able to establish our position in order to respond to the pain of Glenn's blistered feet we ventured onto the Metro (train)
and traveled six stops to the Franklin D Roosevelt station where we joined the throng of people strolling past the brand stores of Paris on the Champs Elysees
the efforts of gypsy scammers who took shifts at appealing to the innocent tourists of Paris.
We headed back to our hotel to rest and freshen up before heading out to dinner where true to our challenge (see previous days blog) we choose to eat at a restaurant where the locals were most prominent, the menu
was in French
and we were able to view the young people of France proceed into there Saturday night. (it reminded Tony of his days at the Chevron), After dinner we strolled to what some of you will know as the Chevy Chase European
Vacation round about and under the Arc De Triomph where we took in the beautiful views of Paris at night with the Eiffel Tower lit in the background. Bonjour and goodnight.
Sunday 26 July 2009
Sunday is a rest day and we responded to that command. We awoke at 11.30AM having missed breakfast, got dressed and headed to bistro Pepperoni for a $EURO8 caffeine fix ($AUS 15)
Tour De France and we were just lucky enough to be in town for this event. As such we grabbed some lunch at a France quality burger restaurant and then headed to the top of the Champs Elysees where the
tours riders were to ride past on eight occasions as they raced up and down the worlds most famous shopping strip. We were told to establish our position in time for the riders arrival at 2.30PM but it was not
until two hours later having guarded with everything we had our one metre squared piece of viewing property that the lyrca clad men arrived. This event is tauted by many as being
the worlds number one sporting event and despite us both agreeing that it can no where near the AFL Grand Final we had found the prime position of the course on the turn on the Champs Elysees to witness these
do there stuff. The eighth turn saw the final run to the finish line, it was 5.30PM, and then the crowds hung around for a final parade by the cyclists some one hour later. We had stood in the same
place for four hours, no drinks, no food, but we were part of a world wide event and history in the making
That was good enough for us to have another beer, watch the crowds go by after the race, and then order dinner. After dinner we moved up to our local landmark, The Arc, and once again viewed Paris from its confines.
Back to our hotel we hit our beds and found ourselves asleep after a day at the races.
Monday 27 July 2009
The beds in this hotel are not conducive to a good nights sleep, especially for Tony who struggles with a bad back. So it was a welcome relief to wake up and head to breakfast before getting ready for what we planned
to be a Paris shopping adventure. We headed out in relaxed dress, had our first coffee and then we were confronted by another Paris rain storm. Whilst the expensive umbrella that Tony had purchased in London
gave us some shelter we decided that shorts and t-shirt was not only inappropriate for the weather but also for the stores that we were trying to visit
confidently we strolled into district eight and the shopping strips of Paris. At this point we are not prepared to disclose whether we spent, invested any money, and you'll need to wait for our return to see if you have
been a benificiary of our activities.
Back to our hotel, short rest, some washing, some Internet communication and putting on our best clothes we headed for our second trip on the Metro down to Blanche Station where we found a great restaurant
for us both, Tony had veal parma and pasta and Glenn had a rack of lamb, what more to you want in Paris. We then traveled to possibly what has been our highlight of Paris, the worlds most famous cabaret show,
Moulin Rouge. We shared a table with a couple from Italy and a bottle;e of French champagne added to what was a truly entertaining, some may say risque, show. A taxi home and its bonsuare ready for Zurich.
Tuesday 28th July
Excited by our last day in Paris we were motivated to respond to the alarm
and arise for breakfast and hit the streets of Paris for one last time
traveled up Avenue Wagram which had become our focal point for most of our
time in Paris. Tony remembered that he had seen leading into "The Arc" a street
called Avenue Foch and in honour of Caroline we set out to find the street. After
reaching the avenue we headed back to the Champs Elysees to confirm by credit card
some important shopping/investment decisions. Our investment advisor/sales
assistant was both co-operative and beautiful and her agreement to be photographed
with us at the end of of our investing represented great after sales service.
We walked back, bags in hand, along Wagram, past Da Da Bistro and through our local
stalls for one last time. Back to our hotel we finished our packing, checked out and by 12.15PM
as promised by Dexter, our hotel receptionist, our taxi had arrived to transport us to Charles De
Gaulle airport to enable us to board our fight to Zurich.