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Trip Report 10 days in Paris

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The Background:
My father died 2 years ago and since then really, Mum has been saying that she wants to go AWOL, just forget real life and go on an adventure. This time last year, Mum, my brother J and I (25 and 27) hatched a plan to all quit our jobs in March 2014 and go on a 3 month trip to spend some quality time together. I campaigned for India as it is a magical country and they have a unique way of dealing with death. Because this is a healing trip for our family, I thought it would be good to spend time in a culture where death is a part of life; as opposed to something that is never really mentioned until it happens to someone you love. Unfortunately, Mum wasn’t ready for India so we decided on Europe instead. It took almost a year to organise but we arranged to do house swaps for 90% of the trip, saving thousands on accommodation. Mum left for Europe a week before J and I, while we stayed home to clean the house, stain the deck etc for our house swappers. We had 10 days to spend around Paris while mum and her friend S from school popped in and out on their travels. I guess our trip really started on April 1st when we arrived in Montpellier, but this is going to be a 10 day trip report on my time in Paris with brother J and bf T. If it goes well, I might write about the family journey on the house swap trip around Europe.

NZ to Paris
After a week of cleaning and maintenance on mum’s house, my brother and I jumped on a plane in Nelson NZ, bound for Paris via Christchurch and Singapore. As you do in NZ, being a small country, we ran into some family friends in Christchurch airport as we were leaving. They knew why we were doing this trip and were so happy for us. They bought us a coffee and sent their love to mum before saying their farewells. Our 11 hour flight to Singapore was uneventful, but long! We beelined our way straight to the rooftop pool on arrival and for about NZ$18 we got unlimited time in the pool, free showers and a cold drink. Best money ever spent in an airport! We did some laps to stretch our legs, sat in the spa pool and watched the planes take off above our heads and then freshened up with a shower and drink. I have no idea why, but out of the thousands of people in the airport, there were only 10 of us at the pool. After some dinner and a wander through the butterfly garden, our 6 hour stopover was up and we boarded our A380 to Paris at 4am NZ time. I took a sleeping pill (or 2) for the first time and slept for 12 out of 14 hours of the flight. Amazing, arrived in Paris fresh as a daisy, will definitely be doing that again! So after a 34 hour journey, we had made it to Paris! On the way out of the airport J bought a 6 day museum pass and I was told that as a 25 year old with a 1 year visa, I get free entry everywhere. Bonus!

Day 1
We checked into our backpackers in the Marais around 9am (MIJE – 33 Euro each) dropped our bags and headed straight out to Notre Dame, I love the exterior of this church and had to pinch myself that we had actually made it, but as always, I was a bit underwhelmed by the interior. On the way out of the cathedral we spotted St Denis with his decapitated head in his hands and also noticed it was raining. Our first museum pass outing was the Notre Dame crypt with roman ruins from Lutetia. This was quite a cool little museum, but if you have seen roman ruins elsewhere, you could probably skip it. The best parts were what looked like part of an aqueduct pipe and some ancient central heating. They did have a pretty incredible touch screen model of how they built the cathedral. It was in four stages, at each stage you could zoom into buildings; walk around the church and then up for a bird’s eye view. Fascinating stuff.
It was still raining when we left so we walked to the Louvre and spent most of the afternoon there. We skipped a small queue with the museum pass and went straight to Mona Lisa. I got a great photo of the crowd from her perspective that shows how crazy that room must be from open to close every day of the year. From there we went to the Raft of the Medusa and spent quite some time admiring this huge painting. The back-story behind this painting is so interesting; I recommended googling it if you haven’t heard it before. We spent the next couple of hours making our way away from the Mona Lisa and getting lost in the maze of artwork, the scale of this building is beyond belief.
We emerged into grey skies but no rain, so we walked up the Avenue L’Opera until we found some cell phone providers and shopped around for the best sim card. We went with SNF – E30 for unlimited calls and texts in France with 3 gig of data.
At this point we realised that it was about 5pm and we hadn’t had anything to eat all day, I wasn’t even hungry, I guess because my body clock thought I was sleeping. We took the metro to the hostel, walked to L’as Du Falafel to find it closed so ate at a kebab restaurant across the street. 9.50 for an average kebab ☹ Following a pretty average dinner we walked to the Place des Vosges to find it all locked up for the night and then back to the hostel. All in all, a long first day in Paris, but a good one. I think I was in bed by 7pm.

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    Paragraphs coming up

    Day 2 – T arrives
    So after booking this trip, my boyfriend T was asked to travel with the NZ Olympic team to Canada, America, Switzerland and then to Sochi as a ski technician. This was an incredible opportunity for a paid trip around the world and he said yes straight away. Two weeks later he had left NZ and was skiing and working his way around the world with some pretty amazing kiwis. This put him in Europe a month before I arrived and he decided to spend that month doing some mountaineering in Kyrgyzstan before meeting me in Paris. (A few years ago, my brother, T, 7 other friends and I travelled the Silk Road from Beijing to Venice, skiing along the way. T went back to stay with some local friends we made in Arslanbob, Kyrgystan and ski some big mountains. More info - www.skiingthesilkroad.com).

    I was super excited to have him on the trip and took the train out to the airport to meet him at 10am. From CDG we went to a little AirB&B apartment on Rue des Martyrs at the bottom of Montmartre butte. It was a tiny little space in the servant quarters on the 6th floor, with the most spectacular view across the Parisian roofs. Perfect!

    That evening we walked from Montmartre across to the Canal St Martin and then to a little restaurant called La Cinquante where we met Mum, J and S. This was one of the few things I had my heart set on doing while in Paris. Every Sunday night the owner brings songbooks and his guitar along and the whole bar sings French chansons. Unfortunately it was tiny, as in two tables, which were all full. Mum & S were jetlagged from their trip from Bangkok and wanted to sit down so off we went to a little creperie around the corner for some delicious food and a half carafe of wine. By the time we had finished dinner, both J & T were fading as well, so we went straight home. I will have to come back to Paris for this I guess. Everyone looked like they were having such a great time through the window, but it will still be there next time.

    Day 3 Jetlag

    My bodyclock was still totally out at this stage and I think I slept for maybe 3 hours this night. It was very frustrating so at 3am I hatched a plan with T…If we were still awake at 5.30, we would get up and watch the sunrise from outside the Sacre Coeur. 5.30 rolls around and we are up and having home made Kyrgyzstani apricot jam on toast for breakfast. Their jam skills are out of this world!

    When the sun started to lighten, we walked up through the silent streets to the steps of Sacre Coeur, arriving at 6.45. We were a bit early for the sunrise and so did a lap around the building and were first inside when it opened at 7. It was pretty special to have this church to ourselves, it was so quiet and we had time to really appreciate the incredible paintings on the ceilings. I’m not religious, but even I caught my breath a little when we walked through the doors.

    We emerged to the sun rising over the city and slowly hitting all the famous landmarks. It was a little hazy, so not the best sunrise I have seen, but probably one of the best settings for one. We spent another hour admiring the city and taking some great photos of the church in the early morning light. The only downside of this mission was that we were out before the street cleaners and Montmartre was filthy! And smelled like urine.

    We headed back to the apartment to check out and wandered to Mum, J and S’s place to drop our bags and to pick up J for the day sightseeing. The plan was to bike into Notre Dame on the Velibs and be first in line for the towers at 10am. We left at 9.30 and it took us about 15mins to find 3 working bikes around the Gare de L’Est. All the stations were empty or had bikes with no chains or flat tires. We finally all got bikes and had an amazing ride on the crazy Paris streets to the Île de la Cité where we had the opposite problem…no parks! We ended up miles away and over our half hour time allowance on the bikes. In a slightly pissed off mood, we rocked up to the tower line just behind a tour group of 60-80 Americans. Fail number 1.

    We changed our plans and decided to walk to the Pantheon instead of waiting for hours in the line. It was a great walk through the Latin Quarter to the Pantheon, but I was a bit disappointed to see the great dome covered for restoration work. J & T, being engineers, thought it was amazing and spent a lot of time admiring the self-supporting steel structure holding up the dome. We went inside and spent some time wandering around the Pantheon and the crypt. I loved the building itself but no so much the crypt. Afterwards my brother headed of to do the sewer tour and we had a coffee before walking to the Rodin museum. It was a 2.7km walk but we were feeling pretty fresh and I quite like the “get lost and discover” method of touristing. We discovered some impressive buildings along the way; we just have absolutely nothing that compares o this in NZ. We are big on the natural beauty, but no so much on the architecture or history front. We had a quick look around St Sulpice and then finally made it to the Rodin museum to find it shut on Mondays. Fail number 2!

    Not to worry, we went across the road and round the corner to Les Invilides, another breathtaking building! There was a great medieval warfare museum here; some of the weapons were absolutely terrifying! It was really interesting but so sad to see the armour made specifically for children. Again, the age of artefacts was mind boggling when you consider that my country was only settled in 1840. We wandered out to the Dome Church and met up with my brother J, who had had a fascinating trip through the sewers. J is an engineer who has spent the last 18 months working on the Christchurch Earthquake rebuild, specifically the underground infrastructure, so sewers and pump stations are right up his ally. After a quick spin around Napoleons tomb (so much wealth on display!), T and I headed back to check in to the next AirB&B apartment at 3.30. The plan was to have a quick power nap and then go pick our luggage from Mum & J’s apartment and have dinner with the family. Our power nap turned into “it’s 5.30, we should get up” which turned into “its 8.30 we should definitely get up” which turned into “oh god its 2am and we are wide awake. The jetlag definitely caught up with us after our 5.30am start and massive day! Hopefully another big day walking will get us into the right rhythm.

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    Very much enjoying your TR!! You certainly have the right attitude when traveling in Europe! You just have to have a back-up plan, or be able to switch horses in mid-stream. (Sounds like you are doing a lot of that.) :)

    Looking forward to the next installment!

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    Love plan B to see the sun rise! Congrats on the trip, as well.

    You have to get in line at the towers at ND well ahead of the opening, unfortunately. We were lucky to be in Paris a few years ago in November so didn't have too much competition in line but we did go early! The view is worth it and seeing the gargoyles up close. I hope you make it eventually.

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    I am fascinated by Le Cinquante - has anyone else been there?

    The yelp review says there are two more rooms in the back - I was wondering in which room the singing happens.

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/le-cinquante-paris

    Definitely on my list - two sisters and I are planning on Paris next spring.

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    Sorry for the long hiatus, rural France was busier than I thought it would be! We also had very limited internet. Back in the land of free wifi now and It is all written now, just have to do some spell checking.


    Day 4
    We woke up this morning to a light drizzle and had to go pick up our bags from Mum’s apartment before she left with her friend for a trip around Belgium and Amsterdam. It was a pretty draining trip through the rain and the metro with our bags, including T’s heavy ski bag. We made it though, and since we were already wet, we decided to walk to the Louvre and then down through the Tuileries to the Orangerie. It was a beautiful walk through the drizzle, dodging a few umbrella salesmen and petition girls along the way. On arrival, J realised that Mardi is not French for Monday! Blame it on the jetlag. As the museum was closed, we walked over the river to the Musee d’Orsey.

    I was quite appalled to see a HUGE line for this museum, as in hundreds of people waiting in the rain, including a big museum pass line. We joined the queue and ate our baguettes in the line. After about 5mins we heard an announcement, in French and English, that said something along the lines of “the museum will be closed indefinitely due to technical difficulties”. We looked around and no one moved…no wonder the line was so long, the museum wasn’t letting anyone in, but people were lining up anyway and waiting “indefinitely” in the weather. After a good laugh at the people standing obliviously in the rain, we were on our way to the Rodin Museum.

    Third time lucky! The Rodin Museum was open with a small line for the house. We spent a beautiful hour in the gardens viewing all his sculptures, which looked very moody under the grey skies. I’m not familiar with Rodin; apart from “the thinker” but I was very impressed with his other work, especially the Burghers of Calais, Gates of Hell and Balzac. I researched the story behind the Burghers of Calais because I wanted to find out why the men looked so full of despair, for those that don’t know, the internet says…

    “England's Edward III, after a victory in the Battle of Crécy, laid siege to Calais, while Philip VI of France ordered the city to hold out at all costs. Philip failed to lift the siege, and starvation eventually forced the city to parley for surrender.
    Edward offered to spare the people of the city if any six of its top leaders would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be executed. Edward demanded that they walk out wearing nooses around their necks, and carrying the keys to the city and castle. One of the wealthiest of the town leaders, Eustache de Saint Pierre, volunteered first, and five other burghers joined with him.[2] Saint Pierre led this envoy of volunteers to the city gates. It was this moment, and this poignant mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice, and willingness to face imminent death that Rodin captured in his sculpture, scaled somewhat larger than life.
    Although the burghers expected to be executed, their lives were spared by the intervention of England's queen, Philippa of Hainault, who persuaded her husband to exercise mercy by claiming that their deaths would be a bad omen for her unborn child.”

    After the Rodin museum we had a quick coffee and then caught the Metro to the Arts and Metiers Museum. The Metro stop is decorated in Steam Punk style and is all copper, cogs, portholes and brass. Very cool. J & T, being mechanical engineers, LOVED this museum and we spent a lot of time here. My experience was greatly enhanced by having them there. Where I saw an interesting pile of metal, they saw exactly how all the parts worked together and culminated in the first steam engine, or nuclear control rod, or wood lathe etc etc. We had multiple attempts at leaving but then would come across a mars rover, or the first flying machines, or Foucault’s pendulum. After a very big day we took the Velibs home where we had a tasty array of meats, cheese and red wine for dinner.

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    The Arts-et-Métiers metro station for line 11 is designed as an homage to the Nautilus of Jules Verne for anybody who is wondering.

    I'm impressed that you had a plan B, a plan C and probably a plan D and E for whenever you reached an obstacle, adwenture. So many people don't and then they just whine about the closed door that they found blocking their plan for the day.

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    Very well written trip report.

    My wife has to pry me out of the Musee Arts et Metiers; really fascinating stuff in there. Plus you learn that the French were the very first to invent simply everything!

    For those not so interested in things mechanical/scientific there is a quite nice modern library with comfortable seating in the building. My DW sat and happily read a book and rested her feet there for a couple of hours while I mainlined nerdy science stuff.

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    Thanks for the feedback! We were lucky having 10 days, if our plan went wrong we knew we could probably come back to it at some point.

    Day 5
    Second attempt at the Notre Dame towers today! I hurried the boys through making our filled baguettes for lunch and walked to the towers to avoid the Velib fail from two days ago. We timed it perfectly and arrived at 9.45 to a line of about 12 people and were first up at 10am. What a stunning morning, I love the towers with their incredible stonework, gargoyles and chimeras. We coined a beautiful day so we had a fantastic view of the city. We spent as long as possible up there before descending down to St Chappelle. The line for this looked massive so we ducked in to the Concierge instead; hopefully we will make it back another day. The first hall in the Concierge has a beautiful roof, all stone arches and vaulted ceiling lit up with mood lighting. I loved it. We breezed through the rest quite quickly; highlights were the old cells and the list of the 2000+ people executed by the guillotine. Their professions were listed as well, which was the most interesting thing, ex-noble, judge, maths professor etc.

    After the Concierge we walked to the park at the very tip of the Isle de la cite and found a pretty little oasis from the concrete of the city. We ate our lunch while watching the boats pass by our beautiful little spot. I highly recommend spending half an hour here on a nice day.

    Velib time! We sped up the left bank for our second shot at the Musee D’Orsey but overshot it while looking for parking for the bikes. We decided to keep going and check out the fascinating looking Grand Palais. What crazy architecture! We didn’t go in, as there was obviously something big about to happen. There were gendarmes everywhere, the traffic lights were all flashing orange with crowd control infrastructure being set up. After admiring it from the outside we parked our bikes and walked back to the Orangerie, attempt 2! It was open and but we only had a brief visit, I was a bit disappointed by the first room of waterlilies but loved the second room with the more macro scenes. We did a quick lap downstairs and saw some nice Renoirs then back into the sunshine, over the bridge, coffee and baguette recharge and then Musee d’Orsay attempt 2.

    I loved this space, the architecture is fantastic and it has the art that I enjoy. I loved the imitation statue of the continents holding up the world and looking out through the back of the clock on the 5th floor, (also watching the people who had fallen asleep in the couches up here!). The gallery of impressionists was impressive but we really loved the Van Gogh and Gustave Dure exhibitions and spent a long time in these. J got through a bit quicker and biked over to the Pompidou Centre before we met back at the apartment at 5pm. Jumping on the bikes after a long day on our feet is so refreshing and fun, I love our route home past the Louvre each day. On our way home T looked at me over his should and said “lets cross here” as he rode over a white line that turned out to be a white judder bar. His bike bucked wildly and he only just stayed on with a comical look of panic on his face. Highlight of the day was riding through the Louvre courtyard in the fading sun, laughing hysterically on our bikes!

    We had a rest at the apartment and hatched a plan for salmon and crème cheese crepes with wine for dinner on the steps of the Trocadero, watching the Eiffel Tower sparkling. Little did we know what a mission this would turn out to be. After purchasing our picnic ingredients, we jumped on some Velibs and started to bike towards the Eiffel Tower, we ran into some road blocks and somehow ended up biking down the main road on the left bank that was completely blocked to traffic. The lights were all flashing orange and there were gendarmes stationed every 5meters…turns out the road was closed for an official motorcade and we were happily biking down the middle giggling away! I asked a gendarme in French “what’s happening?” and I’m pretty sure he said that the President of China was in Paris to attend an art opening at the Grand Palais, we rode for another 10mins before finally being told to get off the road.

    We had run out of time on our bikes and were still quite far from the Trocadero so we found parks and started walking, After all the excitement, I left our desert strawberries in the basket of the bike. The boys made me sprint back to get them but some lucky homeless person has already taken them ☹ by the time I got back we were rushing a bit to get to the Trocadero by 9pm. Unfortunately after the big day, the rushing around and the loss of the strawberries tensions were high so T and I ended up having a lovers tiff over something meaningless. He wandered off by himself and when I realised he was gone I rushed around trying to find him and consequently missed the Eiffel Tower sparkling. We all found each other again and had our picnic dinner in frosty silence, which was not the result I had hoped for. We ended up apologising and hung around for the 10pm sparkle, which we watched from in front of the military school. It was a crystal clear evening, the tower was beautiful and we had made up, but I still felt very melancholy as I watched the lights flash.

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    Day 6
    Today we decided to see something outside the city and choose a trip to Fontainebleau Chateau. J and I had both been to Versailles before and T is not a fan of huge crowds so Fontainebleau seemed like a good option. It was a bit of a mission to get there, we started with an exhilarating rush hour bike ride to Gare de Lyon, which as always was both exciting and terrifying. Then we had a 9Euro train to Fontainebleau and a 2euro bus to the chateau. Although the castle iself is huge and has an impressive history, the first impression was nowhere near as spectacular as Versailles. When we went inside it was a bit shabby and dingy and we thought that we had made a huge mistake, however, after the first 5 rooms, it suddenly opened up to a magnificent castle. It was definitely in the same league as Versailles but with its own style, a lot more wood and marble as opposed to gold and mirrors.
    After wandering through the interior, we made our way outside to the grounds to have lunch. We saw some gigantic carp and a white swan in the lakes as we sat by a fountain in the sun. The grounds were not super well maintained and a little disappointing, maybe because it was early spring. We were in good humour though and entertaining ourselves on our 1 hour walk back to the train station. We played “who can find the crappiest fountain” in the woods and played pooh sticks in the water races and canal outlets.
    We were pretty tired from all our walking and biking over the past few days so tonight we stayed in and watched the movie “The Castle” for a bit of home culture. It made me a little sad to watch this as it was Dads favourite movie and he would always quote from it. It made me miss Dad’s jokes and constant laughter.
    Day 7
    I like to call this “museum pass fever day”. Thanks to some creative penmanship, the boys’ 6-day museum pass had been turned into a 12-day pass and they wanted to tick off as many as possible. T and I got up early to see St Chappelle, we were first in line when it opened and ducked straight upstairs at 9.30. We had the place to ourselves for 5mins and the rising sun was illuminating the panels directly behind the altar, really quite beautiful. From there, we walked to Notre Dame where T visited the crypt and I found point zero and people watched. There were a couple of camera crews filming travel shows in the square that were fun to watch. When T emerged, we did a quick lap around the inside of the cathedral and I laughed at the obnoxiously loud “shhhhhhhhhhhhhh please be quiet” message they were playing. Notre Dame is one of my favourite buildings but I always find the inside quite underwhelming.

    On the bikes again and we were off to the Invalides to see the exhibits we missed out on a few days ago. I enjoyed the CDG exhibition but was not impressed with the plan relif museum. The models were pretty basic, colourless and in a dark hall, definitely can be missed. The WW1 and WW11 museum was amazing but unfortunately by this time I was so foot sore from the past week that we sped through it. We decided on a “hot lap” of the most interesting bits, but you could have spent 2 hours in here alone.

    Back on the bikes for a really refreshing ride to the Eiffel tower and a relaxing hour lying underneath it, people watching in the sun while we ate lunch. We were watching a gang of Roma men running a shell game scam; it was quite sophisticated with look out men, the scammers running the game and the two “lucky punters” actually playing the game. It was quite amusing watching them split when the police were around and then regroup 5 mins later. We watched them take 50 euro from one tourist!
    J arrived and with some protest from me, we went to the Burnley museum to look at the art collection from the pacific region. We did see some cool stuff from NZ but nothing I haven’t already seen before. Afterwards we walked to the Trocadero and up to the Marine Museum. This place was fascinating; I love boats and have spent some time on tall ships in NZ. We had a free audio guide here that was fast paced an interesting, unfortunately I was so tired at this point that I started to sit myself down on the floor in front of exhibits to listen. We then went next door to the Architecture museum but they wouldn’t let me in free with my passport. I was actually extremely please with this development and spent a beautiful 45mins sitting in the sun on the Trocadero terrace with an ice cream, people watching and looking at the Eiffel tower.
    When the boys emerged from the museum, we got bikes and bikes to the Arc de Triomphe. T was hugely impressed with the scale of it up close and it looked stunning in the late afternoon sun. We climbed to the top to check out the view, unfortunately, only 180 degrees due to restoration work. Back down below, we picked up our bikes and rode to our apartment along the Champs Elyesses and through the Tuileries. All in all a pretty incredible end to a big day, I think I was asleep before 8pm.

    Day 8
    What was meant to be a casual day turned out to be quite a big one again. We took the metro out to St Denis Cathedral. I love the Pillars of the Earth book and wanted to see the revolutionary architecture of this building. We arrived as it opened at 10.30 and went straight down to the crypt to see the tombs of the kings and queens of France. Coming from NZ, which is a relatively young country, it is mind boggling to see history in such a tangible way, tombs of kings from 645AD. The cathedral itself is really beautiful inside, with lots of light and windows. The outside is not as good as the Notre Dame though. After lunch in the square we took a tram and a bus to the air and space museum. This was pretty interesting, I enjoyed seeing the early planes and walking through the Concorde, also the models of the dirigibles. I probably wouldn’t make the effort just to go there from the city though, unless you had kids that loved planes and space. J went back to the Gare du Nord at this point to meet our friend Mel from Belgium and T and I went to Porte de Montreuil to check out a flea market. Unfortunately it was full of junk and we spent 30min walking through quite an ugly part of town in poor humour, not the Paris of the postcards!
    Our mood lightened when we reached Pere Lachaise cemetery, which is a weird thing to say, but it really is a beautiful place. Little cobbled streets, impressive miniature architecture and leafy green trees. T and I spent half an hour admiring Oscar Wilde’s tomb and eating more baguettes as we waited for J and Mel to arrive. It was so good to see Mel, the last time we were together was 6 years ago but it felt like only yesterday. After our rendezvous we visited the graves of Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf before biking to Buttes Charmont Park. It was uphill all the way but I’m so glad we made the effort, despite our energy levels at this point. There were hundreds of Parisians out having picnics on Saturday night. We found a student pub with an electric atmosphere and spent a couple of hours having beers in the setting sun, such a great place to catch up with an old friend.

    Day 9
    Today was a mellow day as we were moving apartments again. Mum and her friend were arriving back in Paris and I had booked two apartments in Montmartre for us. We spent 2 hours in the morning wandering around the isle st Denis and had a good visit to Shakespeare and co to buy books for the train south in a few days. After some cleaning and check out we headed over to Montmartre. T and I had a cute little apartment at the bottom of Montmartre hill and Mum, J and S had a roomy place just behind the Place du Tetre, location location location! We spent the afternoon lazing about, catching up on Mums travels and watching the talented buskers on the steps of the Notre Dame. This included some great French singers and a muscular guy doing tricks with a football on a wall and a lamppost! Soon it was time to say goodbye to Mel as she left on a train back to school in Belgium, before a nice family dinner and a drink in the evening.
    Day 10 – Our last day in Paris

    T and I went to the Louvre this morning; it was craaaaazy busy with lots of tour groups. The lines moved pretty quickly though and we were in front of the Mona Lisa by 10am. I showed T the Raft of the Medusa, love it, and then ticked of a few more highlights before moving to the Reichlieu wing to spend some time away from the mass of humanity. We didn’t last very long and so took the metro back to Montmartre to have lunch with mums genealogy Internet pen pal. We once though we were related to this lovely lady but the research said no but her and mum have become good friends anyway. It was great to meet her and she was helpful at correcting some of my French pronunciation!

    We spent our last afternoon just wandering around together and enjoying the atmosphere. Tomorrow we leave for a house in the country near Montpellier for a month. I feel we have achieved a lot in Paris as tourists and I can’t wait to have a more relaxed pace and live like a local in the south!

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    were watching a gang of Roma men running a shell game scam; it was quite sophisticated with look out men, the scammers running the game and the two “lucky punters” actually playing the game>>

    how's it work, then adwenture?

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