Well we took our life into our hands yesterday & cycled around Paris. It was so much fun despite the heat, you get a bit of breeze when your biking thank god! We covered a lot of miles & were knackered last night.Read more
Eight Weeks Without a Single Selfie - Oct 13th 2017
On our final full day in Paris the sun broke through in full force to give the city a temporary return to summer. Gone were the winter hats, scarfs and coats that had been everywhere for the past couple of weeks and back out came the short skirts and sun hats. It was a perfect way to end our stay in this amazing place.
Maggie and I took the opportunity to continue our recreation of the walk of Adele and Simon. We had begun this the previous day but exhaustion had overcome us before the task was complete.
We set off to resume our walk at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, however we did make one important detour on the way there. The Musee Nationale Du Moyen Age (Museum of the Middle Ages) is situated on the Rue D'Ecoles (Street of Schools), just a block away from our hotel. We had walked past it many time over the past couple of days and thought that it deserved a proper visit.
We decided to pay the 9 Euro entry fee (no seniors concession here) and see what was inside. We certainly were not disappointed. The collection included an amazing array of artefacts and art works from the 6th to the 16th centuries. The building itself was worth the visit. It certainly was a fascinating insight into the creativity and skills of the people who lived in that period.
Our walk then continued past Notre Dame and along the I'sle De La Cite to the Louvre. Although tourists had been conspicuously absent from most of Paris at this time of the year, we discovered just where most of them seemed to have congregated. I had forgotten what a thousand simultaneous selfies actually sounded like, but this is exactly what was happening. Wherever we looked there were people posing in front of every possible vantage point. Stand on one leg, look to one side, hold the selfie stick high, smile, click. It made me nauseous.
I still cannot understand the selfie mentality at all. It always strikes me as a type of "technological tagging". It is obviously not sufficient to just visit some place, but you must prove you have been there by standing right in front of it, taking a selfie and then immediately share it to something like facebook or twitter. Surely if you know you have been there, why do you feel a need to prove it to the rest of the world ? I just do not get it. I am proud to say that we have now been travelling for 8 weeks and still have not taken a single selfie. Not one. Nor do I ever intend to. My own memories are what are most important to me.
By the middle of the afternoon, the sun was actually quite hot and we took refuge by the fountain in The Tuileries. The council provides hundreds of free green chairs to relax on and we were glad to take two of these and spend some time dozing in the dappled sunshine.
We are now back at the hotel, our bags are packed and we are almost ready to bid a final au revoir to France. But we will definitely be back in 2019.Read more
We had a garden-themed day for our third day in Paris. We started out at the Jardin des Plantes, checking out the various gardens showcasing the evolution of plants. A short hop on the bus took us to the Place de la Contrescarpe for a tasty lunch - with a french toast dessert! We then wandered past the Panthéon to the Jardin de Luxemburg, where the highlight was sailing a little boat on the Grand Bassin in the centre of the garden - not sure who had more fun, Karl or Claire! We had fancy ice cream in the 6ème arrondissement, then walked past the Louvre again before heading home for a rest. In the evening we enjoyed a lovely visit and delicious dinner with Marie-Odile, Franz and their daughter Anne-Sophie, long time friends of Holly's family.Read more
Picked up macarons for our walk through Luxembourg gardens. It was around one on a random Wednesday and there were just hundreds of people eating lunch and napping in the sun (or the shade). And they had orange (or a super similar citrus) trees blossoming! Then we continued the expat journey with a quick visit to Harry's New York bar, another past lost generation haunt.Read more
This morning we caught the high speed (Grand Vitesse) train to Paris. It is an amazing feeling silently flying along at 300 kph on a French train. While we flew along the tracks we could see the magnificent rolling Burgundy countryside passing by outside. This is one of our favourite regions of France.
I remember being fascinated as a child watching Dr Who for the first time. It was beyond my belief that the inside of the Tardis could be so much larger than the outside. Some fifty years later I had my own personal experience with an Inverse Tardis. I had carefully chosen our hotel using the Internet and the pictures of the rooms certainly looked large and luxurious. After a week of Internet starvation on the MS Andante we could not wait to explore the massive rooms we had booked in Paris and enjoy the benefits of unlimited high speed Internet access.
The Villa des Princes was certainly located in a lovely part of Paris. The left bank is the home of the Latin Quarter, The Sorbonne University, the Musee D'Orsay and many other wonderful old buildings. After our high speed train trip from Basel to Paris Gare de Lyon we stumbled out through the crowds to the taxi stand and proceeded to do battle with the hundreds of others who were also waiting to grab a taxi. Some are obviously more experienced at this form of mortal combat so it took some time before we managed to pile our bags and ourselves into a vehicle and start moving. It took a good while longer for the driver to push his way through the impenetrable tangle of other taxis (all the while with the meter running) and finally emerge into the haphazard street network that makes Paris so bewildering for first time visitors.
From the outside our hotel looked great. The concierge was even expecting us. "We have a lift" he proudly explained as if it was a brand new invention. We were directed around the corner and found the object he was so excited about. It was about the same size as a bar fridge. Maggie took one look in it and took off up the 3 flights of stairs to our room. I was left with all the luggage. I put one leg into the tiny lift and tried to pull in a suitcase after me. The door wouldn't shut. I squashed my face into the wall and pulled the case tightly against me. I pressed the button, hoping that the damned thing would not trap me inside. The door finally shut and the contraption slowly ground its way upwards. It was not pleasant, but sometime later I fell out onto the third floor landing. I had to repeat the process another two times before we were all reunited again.
The room itself was good, or at least it would have been perfect if we had both been pygmies about 3 foot tall. It was quite a challenge to get both us and our luggage inside at the same time, but it was clean, the bed was comfortable, the bathroom was excellent and the air conditioning actually worked well. It was our home for three nights.
After jamming our luggage into the room, we headed off on a short walk to the nearby Luxembourg Gardens. It was a perfect way to begin our short sojourn in Paris.Read more
After a couple of mostly cloudy days the blue skies were back for day 6 in Paris. A metro ride to the San Germain district. We managed to find our way back to the 'smallest square in Paris' and had some lovely little Chou pastries in the little shop - La Maison Du Chou - a couple little tables, coffee, tea and Chou pastries, that's it.
We then wandered off to the Jardin du Luxembourg. We didn't actually go in anything there, but the garden was lovely and there was plenty to see and more than sufficient nooks and crannies to poke around in.
Then back down to the river to the Isle de Citi, a baguette for lunch and a visit to Sainte Chapelle the small fascinating chapel on the opposite end of the island to Notre Dame Cathedral. I have put some more info with the pictures as comments.Read more
You might also know this place by the following names:
Jardin du Luxembourg, Luxembourg Garden, Люксембургска градина, জার্দাঁ দু লুক্সেমবুর্গ, Ĝardeno de Luksemburgio, Jardín del Luxemburgo, Luxembourgin puisto, גני לוקסמבורג, Giardini del Lussemburgo, リュクサンブール公園, ლუქსემბურგის ბაღი, Luxembourghagen, Ogród Luksemburski, Gradinile Luxemburgului, Люксембургский сад, Luxemburské záhrady, Lüksemburg Bahçesi, Vườn Luxembourg, 卢森堡公园