France
Paris 05

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    • Day 23

      Paris: Agnes Goodsir and Embassy

      May 11 in France ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

      Off the beaten track today: in search for Agnes Goodsir, then dinner with friends at their temporary home near the Eiffel Tower.

      Breakfast at 8:15 - decadently late, but it is Paris and we both slept in. It was extremely good, suffering only from being in a windowless room. Then we set off around 9am to touch base with Great-Great-Aunt Aggie.

      My grandmother was a Lorimer, and her mother was a Goodsir. Agnes Noyes Goodsir was her aunt. Agnes was born in rural Victoria in 1864 and was a painter. She studied art at the Bendigo School of Mines and Industries from 1898 to 1899, and in 1899 some of her work was raffled in Bendigo to partly finance her trip to study in Paris. (Sounds odd, but turn of the century exchange rates made it possible). She studied art in Paris and lived there from 1900 until she died there in 1939, although there was a break from 1914-1921 when she was in London because of WW1. Quite a bit is known about those London years because her three nephews - all farmers from Victoria - were in France with the AIF, and one of them wrote many long, eloquent and detailed letters about visiting his aunt Aggie in London (where he and his brothers met Cherry and her then husband) when he was on leave from the front. All three made it back home. When I was little I knew the letter-writer well: he was my father's Uncle Pat, a farmer well south of Nyngan.

      Agnes painted light and bright still lifes, mostly beautiful flowers in vases, but was most famous for her portraits. Her subjects included Bertrand Russell, Banjo Patterson, Mussolini and Tolstoy, but most were of her partner, Rachel (Cherry) Dunn, One of the best of those was hanging for 45 years in the harbourside apartment of my aunt and uncle, Mickey and Rob, and is now on Rob's wall a little north of Sydney.

      Agnes and Cherry lived at 18 Rue de l'Odeon, which was a 10 minute walk from our hotel. It was Paris at it's best: lovely temperature, cool breeze, empty streets except for a few people out shopping, bright blue sky. Even better, we found what we wanted straight away. No. 18 Rue de l'Odeon was still there, and the same (I am sure) from the outside as it was 100 years ago. It was the 1920s artistic heartland. A few doors up from their building, Ulysses was first published (at No. 22). It is just down the road from a theatre, the short street is home to several known writers and has plaques for people every second or third building, there is a typical French cafe on the corner ( as there was a century ago), and the street still has the odd bookshop.

      One of the residents of No. 18 let us see the foyer, but we did not know which apartment she lived in, so there was no point going further. Anne had found a 1922 photo looking down the street from the Odeon Theatre… and it is still almost exactly the same, except that the roundabout outside the theatre has been replaced by a plaza, the restaurant is on the other side and the large metal sculpture in the roundabout in the 1922 photo was removed in 1942 and melted down to make German guns.

      We strolled around the nearby streets and were probably the only tourists, even though it seemed like quintessential Paris. We then walked south on a very shady boulevard all the way out of the city proper to the Parisian Cemetery of Bagneux, where Agnes (died 11 August 1939) and Cherry (died April 1950) are buried. The walk took maybe 1.5 hrs, and was beautiful until the very last and more-modern section. The cemetery admin people had emailed Anne that Agnes was in Section 37, Row 13, Tomb 2. The cemetery was perhaps a square km, with 83,000 graves, but we found their rather darkened, simple cement tombstone very easily.

      From Bagneux we caught a metro to Sacre Couer, looked down on the city and around at the teeming tourist crowd, then walked down the hill, past a strange hardware store where I bought a sisal and copper-wire brush to clean the mud off our boots, through the Palais Royal gardens, where Anne, Fiona, Alistair and Nicolas had breakfast each morning 22 years ago, then through the Louvre and back to the hotel. Very important to be showered and changed into our trekking best, as were were going to dinner at 7pm with friends at the Australian Embassy. More specifically, with the Ambassador and a few diplomat/academic guests.

      Dinner was good.We had a truly unique view of the Eiffel Tower from the third or fourht floor of a rather austere Seidler building. Grosvenor Place in miniature. My university friend (the ambassador), her columnist and omniscient husband, a former academic/journalist, a former ambassador to China and his partner, and us. Some stereotypes, perhaps, but made up for by the columnist's amazing knowledge and ability to link the world together, and the journalist's amusing frankness about his French-government sponsored junket. It went quite late, so we were back at our hotel at 12:15. We took the Metro. Others headed for taxis, but the streets were jam-packed with people (a Taylor Swift concert as well in Paris tonight) so the queues looked long. It was not as if we were at risk: the stations were far busier than at 6:30 pm, and the Metro trains ran every 5 minutes. I am sure we were back faster than if we had caught a taxi straight away...and all those extra steps!

      25,314 steps, 20.3 km and 12 flights.
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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 15

      Panthéon

      August 18, 2022 in France ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

      In Paris waren wir noch im Pantheon (das Highlight von Jan) . Das Pantheon ist eine sehr eindrucksvolle Ruhmeshalle und die Grabstätte berühmter französischer Persönlichkeiten. Wir haben unter anderem das Grab von Marie Curie, Jean-Jacques Rousseau und Josephin Baker gesehen.Read more

    • 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 2

      Les îles de Paris

      May 24 in France ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

      After lunch, we made our way to l'Île de la Cité to see Notre-Dame, currently mid way through its rebuild after the 2019 fire. Busy place! There were photos on display of those involved in the work, from the safety and catering teams, to the stonemasons and stained glass artists.

      We crossed over to l'île de Saint Louis and found the famous Berthillon ice cream parlours. Mum nipped into Some Glorious Church while the others did their licking to the sound of kids playing in their school playgrounds.
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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 18

      A pastry and a protest

      March 7, 2023 in France ⋅ ☁️ 7 °C

      When I married Nick, one of the Sullivan traditions I integrated into the Ingold family (thank me later hun) was the spectacular ability when on holidays to have a significant event occur whilst we are there- hurricanes…fires…COVID hitting mid Asia…and now- a riot! Never a dull moment when on holidays with us 👍🏻
      The French do protests exceptionally well. The city’s infrastructure was basically shut down, 48 hours notice was given, and much politeness was carried out to ensure everyone knew what was going on. We assumed we wouldn’t see much of the action, but turns out a million people would protest throughout France (the government has proposed to lift the retirement age 2 years; to 64) and the main rally in Paris weaved its way along the street adjacent to us. So we saw lots! We ventured down to have a look- the atmosphere was passionate but polite (the grey nomads were the average age of protestors, many of who marched with a banner and a baguette, or a flare and a coffee… not kidding).
      We had been walking the streets of Paris this morning (we headed to the Pantheon , but it was closed due to the impending protest, the museum D’orsay and Louvre also closed…) and there were police and riot squads everywhere, closing off streets and the Seine to any traffic. We wondered if things might get heated, so purchased some essentials (patisserie goods…..😉) and headed inside our hotel. We certainly heard lots of noise over the next hour or two- mostly people singing and shouting slogans. A few loud bangs splintered the air over the next 10 mins or so, and then total calm, and it was all over! Probably time for afternoon tea for the will-be-pensioners.
      So we sat and ate our delicious treats, and listened to the French try and have another revolution 😉
      We did manage to have a beautifully leisurely walk around Paris this morning (including a visit to Norte-dame, where we saw the sad reconstruction efforts happening after the fire of such a beautiful building), had an award winning croissant and famous macaroons. But… on the never ending quest to find clean toilets whilst out, we did venture into a McDonalds where the girls had some chicken nuggs and a cheeseburger… 🙊. Let’s just say, I didn’t take a photo of this experience… Fun fact- The sweet and sour sauce here is interestingly called ‘Chinese sauce’…
      Because balance is everything, we did have an AMAZING dinner. We took the girls to a Michelin star restaurant. We had €13 ramen, that has won a Michelin star in 2021 for how good it is. And it didn’t disappoint. The 4 of us happily slurped Ramen until our bellies were full. And one of the least expensive meals we have eaten… go figure!
      A day of many contrasts. We hope to get our skates on tomorrow and make up for a lost day of museums. But it was an indulgence to be able to walk through a beautiful city at a leisurely pace, with limited traffic to navigate and not a lot on the agenda… 🌟
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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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