France
Paris 04

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    • Day 2

      Arrive in Paris

      June 15, 2022 in France ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      We arrived in Paris after about 5 hours of sleep in the past three days. (The flight put us in Paris at 2am Indy time but 7 am Paris time- since it is pretty hard to sleep on a plane and I was distracted by the plane’s trivia game (I felt the need to smoke PJ whoever that was) none of us slept that night and the check in for our room was 3pm. That meant we had the whole day with all our stuff to wander. Aiden got an A on his test on French public transportation and he proved it by confidently getting us into the city. Since the point of the trip is to walk with all we need for the trip on our backs I decided we couldn’t really complain. But it is HOT in Paris and always crowded. We rented bikes and decided to hit the top sites all around the city since Jon and I decided that popping up from the subway doesn’t give you a good feel for where you are (we’ve done that method of site seeing here before but both times it was winter and cold). The biking seemed like a good idea because Paris is supposed to be a bike friendly town but I felt like cars and pedestrians were just daring me to play chicken with them and I always chickened out. I decided biking around Paris is not as romantic as it sounds. The trail on the Seine is fine but the Champs Elysees by bike is not for the faint of heart (more power to you, Tour de France riders. That’s some bumpy cobblestone!). I had never seen the Arc de Triomphe so close up and it was a lot bigger than I thought! Napoleon is still taking revenge on the foreign cultures because Jon got his ATM card eaten by a machine at Napoleon’s tomb. Now we are a little concerned about how to acquire cash for the little alburgues in Spain. We still have one more but now we are hesitant to use it.

      Aiden and Ollie’s French has been useful to me and especially their knowledge of culture and history. Aiden even understood the significance of the bike locks on the bridge to Sainte Chapelle. I would have missed that detail had he not known. Madame Blaz has done her job! We even ate baguette hot dogs today because Aiden did a presentation on them for school once. Ollie always acts like he doesn’t pay attention in school but he definitely can pick up where Aiden leaves off. He’s pretty sharp.

      We are staying in a hostel because we had to really spread the grant money thin since I did the budget 2 years ago. We have our own room and many families are here but in true French style what they advertised as air conditioning is really just a fan that doesn’t stay on and a window that doesn’t open all the way. It is hot. (Did I mention that?!) The cool breezes of the Pyrenees will be welcome.
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    • Day 44

      Ile de la Cite

      May 4, 2022 in France ⋅ ☁️ 59 °F

      We had an exhausting day today - the adrenaline couldn’t hold the jet lag back any longer. But what a beautiful city Paris is!

      We’ve mastered the metro and are getting around pretty easily. (Adam would be proud). We headed to Ile de La Cite (a small island) and saw Notre Dame (the outside as it’s still being repaired from the fire in 2019), St Chapelle Cathedral, The Conciergerie (prison where Marie Antoinette was held), the Luxembourg Palace & gardens and finished it up with Musee d’Orsay. (Impressionist museum built in an old train station). It was a full day seeing places I’ve only seen on TV or in the movies. Crazy.

      Paris’s public water is some of the best in the world. It is natural spring water that is piped in everywhere. We saw a documentary on it at home. Jordan found one of the fountains. Have to say, it DID taste better!

      We went back to fall asleep early at 8:00 but we’re so messed up our bodies won’t let us fall asleep (probably because in our heads it’s only noon). Oh well, I’m sure we’ll adjust eventually!
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    • Day 1

      Paris mit Lili

      April 14, 2022 in France ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

      Als ich nach Flügen gesucht habe, war der von Westjet mit ab Paris mit Abstand der günstigste. Damit auch kein Stress aufkommt und nichts schiefgehen kann, habe ich mich dazu entschlossen, in Paris eine Nacht zu bleiben. Als Lili das mitbekommen hat, kam sie auf die Idee auch nach Paris zu kommen. So ist sie Mittwoch Abend schon mit Zug nach Paris gefahren und ich dann Donnerstag Morgen ab Hamburg per Flugzeug.
      Nach anfänglichen Internetproblemen haben wir uns in Paris dann zusammentelefoniert😅
      Als erstes wollten wir zum Louvre, da gab es für den Vormittag allerdings keine Tickets mehr, daher sind wir dann erstmal zur Seine spaziert. Dort am Ufer haben wir uns ein Crêpe geholt. Dann ging es weiter zur Notre Dame. Die Türme sind ja zum Glück unversehrt geblieben. An den Seiten konnte man auf Infotafeln den Wiederaufbau nachverfolgen, das war sehr interessant. Danach sind wir dann am Ufer entlang wieder Richtung Westen geschlendert. Für uns der erste richtige Sommertag dieses Jahr: bei 22 Grad und strahlendem Sonnenschein ☀️
      Nach einer kleinen Stärkung auf dem Vorplatz von Louvre sind wir dann endlich reingegangen (schlauerweise über den nördlichen Eingang, der normalerweise für Gruppen reserviert ist, wo wir überhaupt nicht anstehen mussten). Dort haben wir uns einige Ausstellungen herausgesucht, die uns interessiert haben, alles wäre uns zu anstrengend gewesen. Für die Mona Lisa musste man extra anstehen, das haben wir uns dann gespart. Zwischendurch waren wir mal draußen in der Gartenanlage Sonne tanken.
      Gegen Abend haben wir uns dann etwas bei der Patisserie geholt und am Ufer der Insel gegessen. Hammer lecker 😋
      Danach ging es dann per Metro und Tram zur Jugendherberge und dort auch direkt zu Bett: totmüde und mit schmerzenden Füßen, so viel bin ich lange nicht mehr gelaufen - aber daran werde ich mich wohl gewöhnen müssen…

      Freitag morgen nach dem typischen Jugendherbergenfrühstück sind wir dann direkt los nach Montmartre, um uns Sacre Cœur anzuschauen. Von dort hatten wir einen super Blick über Paris, wieder bei strahlendem Sonnenschein. Wir haben sogar einen Teil des Karfreitag-gottesdienstes mitbekommen. Dann zu Fuß zum Gare du Nord, dort hieß es dann wieder Abschiednehmen.
      Ich werde dich vermissen Lili❤️
      Ab in den Zug zum Flughafen und das erste mal den Kontinent verlassen…
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    • Day 3

      Galleries Lafayette and the Blue Line

      August 19, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Up off the grass and off to catch the bus to Galleries Lafayette (the shopping centre) and I end up getting lost trying to enter The Opera Garnier. We didn't end up going in though as I thought it does not really catch my interest. Let me know if it is worthwhile please?

      I asked a young female how do we get to the dome in the shopping centre. The look on her face reminded me very quickly that I am not in my own country. I forgot to speak French, can you imagine?? 😂 She pointed right then left. So off we trot. She soon enough tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the correct entry doors, which weren't where I thought she'd said.

      Inside is like a massive exquisite Myer, In the middle is the glorious dome. Very pretty. Athena was impressed. We headed to the rooftop for a coffee. Go up the top, it's free, you can see all of Paris from up here.

      Our Big Bus tour has a 'Blue Line' which drives around Montmartre main streets. Whilst waiting for the bus I popped into a lindt shop. Athena wasn't coming in with me until she saw them hand me a lindt ball. Then straight in behind me she followed.

      Martin was our guide, he stood in front of us up the top and spoke in English. He shared all the quaint details of getting around Paris and the buildings history.

      We passed the sex shops, Moulin Rouge, Nord Gare station, Sacre Couer. Great idea to sit up in the open air and be ferried around the city.

      Once back at Notre Dame I decided to make sure Athena could find her way back to our hotel. I made her read a map and remember the street names to follow and cross. I pointed out any landmarks. Then shut up to let her lead. She did well mostly. She is not too great with following directions.

      For dinner I spied Athena's massive hoop earrings she brought along. I asked if I could wear them (to show her how ridiculously too big they are)

      So big hoop earrings on, Athena lost the plot laughing at me. She told me that they suited her as her head was bigger. She advised me she wouldn't be seen with me in public wearing them. I said ditto. So she agreed not to wear them.

      We were stuffed, so to the corner restaurant for steak tatare, soup and a wine. We are eating bread constantly here. Night!
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    • Day 1–2

      Anreise nach Paris

      November 28, 2023 in France ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

      So, meine Lieben,
      erster Post 😌 aus dem schönen Paris. Die Anreise war wie in üblicher Viola Manier wieder ein wenig holprig. Zunächst ließ mich die KVB im Stich im Herzen Kölns, dem Neumarkt 😄, von wo ich dann einen Sprint zum HBF Köln einlegen musste.
      Mit großem Backpack auf dem Rücken, Rucksack vor der Nase und einer Bauchtasche ein wenig anstrengender als geplant, wenn man gute 1,5 km hinter sich bringen muss. Zum Glück war ich vorher fleißig im Lauftraining gewesen.
      In Aachen als Zwischenstopp angekommen, wurde ich vom Schnee überrascht, der die Strecke bis Brüssel bedeckte. Wir konnten aber zum Glück weiterfahren. Endlich in Paris eingetroffen, begab ich mich vollgepackt zur Metro. Die Linie 5 war da aber ein wenig frickelig zu finden. Die Franzosen habe mich aber direkt tatkräftig unterstützt. Eine Französin hat mich dann sogar bis zum Gleis begleitet. Da sag mal jemand, dass die Pariser*innen nicht nett sind. Zugegebenermaßen lag es daran, dass nur auf Französisch kommuniziert wurde. Glücklicherweise hat mein Gehirn aber direkt geswitched und ich habe mich soweit gut durchgeschlagen.
      Im Hostel The People im Herzen Paris habe ich ein sehr schönes Mehrbettzimmer ergattert. Anschließend bin ich dann noch durch die blaue Stunde Paris gelaufen. Insbesondere die sich im Bau befindliche Notre Dame hat es mir angetan.
      Morgen geht’s dann ab zum Flughafen Orly, von wo aus mein Flieger auf die Guadeloupe geht. 🛫🏖️
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    • Day 54

      And Finally .....Paris

      October 13, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

      It was rather strange "checking out" of a hotel when there was no one at the desk. In fact there seemed to be no one anywhere. We had been the only people at breakfast in the downstairs cafe and we noticed that the cafe closed as soon as we left.

      With no sign of a soul at the desk, we had no alternative than to just leave the key on the desk, manhandle our luggage down the stairs and out the door and then just let the door slam behind us.

      The sun was already shining brightly and the morning felt like summer again. Since we were still a little early for our train to Paris, we decided to sit in the sunshine doing crossword puzzles instead. The main Gare de Tours was only a 5 minute walk from the Hotel Linxa, so we had plenty of time on our hands. We calculated that we had already stayed in 29 different rooms so far on this trip. We were now about to proceed to the 30th and final room, before we caught the plane back to Melbourne.

      Soon we were seated on the train to Paris, the scenery was flashing past in a blur and we had even been able to find place for our luggage. This had been a long and complicated trip and it is always a relief when every single arrangement along the way goes exactly according to the plan.

      It was only when the train pulled into Montparnasse Station that things took a slightly weird turn. For some reason the train had been diverted away from the main station and we found ourselves climbing out in a completely unfamiliar part of the station complex. In spite of following the "Sortie" signs, we could not find any way to get out of the building (and neither could a group of French people who had the same problem). We even had a couple trips in an elevator, looking for an exit without success.

      By the time we eventually escaped via a construction zone, we were right around the back of the building and had a long walk back to the main entrance. Of course the inevitable happened - Maggie needed a toilet. I waited with all the luggage while she went back inside the station in search of a toilet. I stood outside and fumed.

      About 30 minutes we were finally in a taxi and heading to the apartment we had booked near the Seine. After some difficulty the driver found the place and we rang the owner to let her know we had arrived. The location of the apartment is exceptional - right near the Seine and opposite the I'sle de La Citie. The apartment itself was wonderful. Not only did it have heaps of room, it was brand new and fully equipped. It was easily the best accommodation we have ever enjoyed in Paris. We had arrived at the 30th room and everything had gone as planned.

      After settling in, we went out for a walk. Since we were so close to Notre Dame Cathedral, we went to look at the damage caused by the huge fire earlier this year. Although the entire region is now fenced off from the public, you can clearly see the stabilisation works that have already taken place. The beautiful flying buttresses have now been reinforced with huge wooden beams. Where the stained glass windows used to be are now sheets of clear plastic to keep out the weather. A large wooden roof construction is also taking shape, but we do not know if that is a temporary or permanent feature. It certainly was heartbreaking to see the damage at close quarters. We can only hope that those in authority will act wisely when choosing the best course of action to take in the history of this ancient building.

      We now have two days in Paris before beginning the flight home.
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    • Day 69

      NOTRE DAME

      July 14, 2022 in France ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

      Nach einem guten Mittagessen am Montmartre, welcher sehr überfüllt mit Besuchern war, begeben Amalia und ich uns zum Notre Dame um danach im Park vom Louvre im Schatten auszuruhen. Am Montmartre lassen wir uns von einem lustigen Fotografen ein antikes Foto machen, er erbittet sich nur eine Spende. Nachdem Amalia mein Kapperl im Schließfach im Museum liegen hat lassen, kaufe ich mir ein Pariser Andenken und habe nun eine neue KopfbedeckungRead more

    • Day 3

      Second day in Paris

      August 3, 2023 in France ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

      Il mio secondo giorno a Parigi è stato più rilassante e meno caotico del primo. Ho iniziato tornando alla Torre Eiffel, per ammirarla stavolta dalla terrazza del Trocadero. Nonostante il tempo incerto, ne è valsa davvero la pena! Ho prenotato poi l'entrata prioritaria alla Sainte Chapelle e mi sono diretta in quel luogo ma ho sbagliato direzione del pullman e sono arrivata più tardi del previsto. Per fortuna però mi hanno fatto ugualmente entrare ed ho potuto ammirare le vetrate mozzafiato che caratterizzano quella chiesa. Da lì, a poca distanza c'è la famosa Notre-Dame, ancora chiusa a causa dell'incendio che l'ha distrutta nel 2019, ma grazie alla mostra di un famoso fotografo è stato possibile osservare le foto dei danni presenti al suo interno. Poi mi sono diretta verso il quartiere latino, visitando la chiesa di San Severin, passando per la famosa università della Sorbona e la biblioteca di Shakespeare. Proprio lì accanto c'era un ristorante con tipica cucina francese e ho deciso di assaggiare il cibo locale, in particolare la Confit de Canard (Anatra) che, contro ogni aspettativa, era davvero molto buona! Nel pomeriggio ho scelto di visitare il bellissimo Jardin du Luxembourg, dove mi sono rilassata mangiando un ottimo macaron al cioccolato. Lì sono rimasta colpita dai bambini che giocavano con le barchette in un piccolo laghetto, erano molto felici. Poi però è arrivato il temporale e siamo corsi tutti al riparo!
      Poiché è difficile muoversi sotto la pioggia col navigatore, ho deciso di fermarmi in un bar per prendere un caffè e rilassarmi osservando le vite delle persone che camminavano davanti a me. A volte non ci rendiamo conto di quanto sia bello fermarsi anche solo ad osservare, non è mai tempo perso!
      Terminata la pioggia mi sono diretta verso il Pantheon e in ultimo ho visitato la chiesa di Sant Etienne dove si trova la tomba di Sainte Geneviève, il santo patrono di Parigi.
      Penso di aver visitato molto in questi due giorni e sono soddisfatta, non mi resta che salutare questa bellissima città, piena di arte, gioia e amore.
      Domani si parte per la prossima tappa del mio interrail. Stay tuned!
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    • Day 20

      Paris

      August 24, 2023 in France ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

      Als Überraschung für Manù's Geburtstag sind wir gestern in Paris angekommen. Nach kurzem Einrichten auf dem Campingplatz haben wir eine kurze Tour durch die beeindruckende Stadt gemacht. Allerdings kamen wir deutlich weniger weit als gedacht. Abends gesellte sich Alex noch dazu. Nun feiern wir heute Geburtstag und gehen noch einmal auf Stadttour.

      Die kleine Katze kam heute morgen zu Besuch und hat sich schon mal bei uns gemütlich gemacht...
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    • Day 3

      The Lady and the Unicorn

      August 19, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      Woke at 5.00am, so not too bad. Breaky in hotel. The bread is devine. Salami and cheeses.

      Off to Musee du Cluny to see the medieval tapestries The Lady and The Unicorn. They depict the 5 senses along with desire. Massive red and dark wall hangings filled with millefleur and forest animals. Loved this so much. Read the novel and it's Harry Potters common room. So beautiful. The lighting is dark to keep from fading.

      We get to the museum just at opening time, bonus.
      The first room we enter is an old bath house. Massive empty room with a few statues and items from the era. A copper bathtub sits at one end. Loved this room. Next we check out a room full of jewellery and medieval artwork. I come across a golden rose. It looks to be important, so I take a photo. I may sit still one day and learn about it. But not now.

      We look at other tapestries leaving the best til last.
      Then we enter 'The' room. It is quiet, dark, black with a crimson glow from these magnificent tapestries.
      I am beguiled and take my time to investigate each one.

      Loving this so much. Finding treasures that you never think you will ever see. Then here you are in front of them. Always blows me away.
      I love this because it is like time travel.
      I imagine the pressure and artistry it takes.

      The intricate flowers are devine. The bunnies and birds whimsical.

      Even Athena says she really enjoyed seeing them.

      Bucket list tick ✅
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