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  • Day55

    Lunettes Pour Nous

    October 14, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    We had a big decision to make. With only two full days in Paris, we needed to choose our activities wisely. One thing we were both in agreement on was that we had no intention of running to and fro all day doing the normal "tourist things". There would be no Hop On Hop Off buses, no Louvre, no Musee D'Orsee, not even an Eiffel Tower in our plans. But what could we do ?

    When we had been in Nantes we happened to notice an interesting shop with the slogan "10 Euros in 10 Minutes". Although you might be excused in thinking it was some sort of fast food place, it was in fact an optician. Their unique claim was that they could make you a new pair of glasses in only 10 minutes, with or without a prescription. Not only that, but the cost could be as low as 10 Euros.

    I had to admit that it had us both intrigued enough to do some further research. We learned that each store was highly automated and could produce the lenses in only a few minutes. Our problem in Nantes was that we had arrived on a Sunday and the store (like just about everything) was closed. But we were going to be in Paris on a Monday. Voila !

    The more we thought about it, the more the idea started to take root in our minds. It certainly would be an experience to have an eye test in France and go home with new spectacles. And so that's what we decided to do.

    Our research had shown that there was a store on the right bank, about 1 km from our apartment. We arrived right on opening time at 10 am and then had fun explaining to the young staff that we were from Australia and were looking for new glasses. We were soon both ushered into a high tech testing room where we had new prescriptions produced (no appointment necessary).

    The next step was to choose our frames. It was here that we discovered that not all the glasses can be produced for 10 Euro. Most of the frames were from 20 Euro to 50 Euro and the price of the lenses depends on the complexity of the prescription. Presumably it was only people who required no correction at all who would be able to get the 10 Euro special.

    Even so, the prices were quite reasonable. Thirty minutes later I was the proud owner of two new pairs of spectacles and Maggie the owner of one new pair. Even with scratch resistance and transition lenses, the total cost was only equivalent to $300 AUD. And did they work ? Yes they really did. It will also be another fond memory of our brief time in Paris.

    The rest of the day we spent walking (and walking and walking) until we both felt completely spent. The weather still continues to be warm and sunny and we even took the chance to have a lovely snooze on a couple of the chairs in the Tuileries Gardens.

    We returned exhausted to our apartment for dinner, before having another nightime walk around the I'le de La Citie. The tourist boats were cruising the Seine and the distant light from the top of the Eiffel Tower was flashing across the low clouds. It had been just about an ideal day in this wonderful city.
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    Marj Dowie

    What a wonderful adventure you’ve had. I’ve enjoyed reading all about it! All because you’ve taken the time every day to write about everything you’ve seen and thought about. When you arrive in Melbourne, welcome home to Spring, with flowers everywhere!

    Michael Slattery

    Yes, in the same month - enjoy France in Autumn, Australia in Spring; life can be very, very good.

    Dennis Dawson

    Thanks guys, we are looking forward to seeing everyone again. It has been a marvelous trip, but it is time to head home now.

  • Day4

    First day in Paris

    February 4, 2020 in France ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Well what can I say

    Today has been busy but amazing. Arrived at 12 to my hostel and then went sight seeing. Ticked off so many things on my bucket list today.

    Paris is incredible but I couldn't live here that's for sure. The architecture is stunning and the people are nice enough. Best thing I done was to get a day ticket only 12.50 and it got me round the entire city all day.

    Met my roomates there lovely and from venezuela so we're gona have a few drinks tonight Before tomorrows day trip to versailles

    Hope you like the pictures.
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    Helen Braidwood

    Pictures are great 😃x

  • Day56

    Final Day in Paris

    October 15, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Yesterday we decided to begin our day with a rather unusual activity - getting new glasses from a French optician. It turned out to be quite an experience, but we both agreed that the end result really was worth it. The glasses were great and the fact that we got them in Paris will make them a great souvenir of this trip.

    Today was our final full day, so we had to decide just how we were going to use our final hours in this incredible city. We had so many options to choose from you might be quite surprised at the decision we made. After a lot of thought, I decided that I would go back to the opticians to get a third pair of glasses. I needed a pair specifically for using while I was sitting at the computer and I couldn't think of a better place to get them.

    So off we went back to the "10 Euros in 10 Minutes" shop. They seemed a little surprised to see us back again, but were happy when we told them the reason. After a new eye test and some selecting the frames, I was soon the proud owner of another pair of computer glasses.

    Since the area around Las Halles was rather unfamiliar to us, we also took the opportunity to explore the large open spaces and fascinating buildings that were there. We finally returned via the Louvre and across the Seine to our apartment. Since my GPS has been inoperative for the past couple of weeks, I could not measure just how far we walked in the past coiuple of days, but I would estimate that it would be at least 15 to 20 km each day. It was enough to make us thoroughly exhausted.

    One thing we have noticed over our our recent visits to Paris is how quickly the city is progressing towards being more and more bike friendly. Many of the major roads have now been narrowed considerably to create safe separated lanes for cyclists, scooter riders and joggers. The shared electric scooters are used by people of all ages and are obviously a very popular alternative for convenient commuting around the city. Paris is still nowhere near other famous bike cities, such as Amsterdam, but it is a long way ahead of Melbourne in this regard.

    After a brief rest we ventured out again. This time it was for a much more mundane reason - to do our laundry. Although the first laundromat we found was out of action due to some sort of malfunction, we did find another one that we had used on previous trips. An hour later we had bags of clean, dry clothes. If nothing else, it might help to make our luggage just a little bit lighter, since clean clothes must weigh a bit less than dirty ones.

    Tomorrow morning we will be cramming our bags for the final time, before catching a taxi to Charles de Gaulle airport. By Friday morning we will back back home in Melbourne. This trip has been one of the very best I can remember, but we are now both more than ready to be back with our family and friends. I hope you have enoyed sharing some of the adventure with us.

    And a final comment - we will surely miss those fresh baguettes every day.
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    Margot Schuhmacher

    I have very much enjoyed reading about your adventure and look forward to seeing you again soon. Have a safe trip home

  • Day54

    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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  • Day17

    Primera tarde en Paris

    February 24, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    El domingo cruzamos el canal en tren y llegamos a Paris al mediodia. Despues de almorzar (en Pizza Hut) fuimos a conocer la catedral de Notre Damme, que nos queda muy cerca del hotel.

    Paris nos recibio con sol radiante asi que paseamos toda la tarde, cruzando el rio Sena de ida y vuelta varias veces.

    Mañana nos toca visitar el Louvre, subir a la torre Eiffel, y seguir comiendo cosas ricas.
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    Milu Zubiria

    Mi Dios, que fotógrafos. Esas fotos son como para una exposición.!!!!!

    Milu Zubiria

    Hermosos y felices 💞

    Susana Mennella

    Quell beau Paris. Je l’aime. Profited de vos vacancies.

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  • Day6

    Day of the Dead

    September 5, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    Yesterday, we had the chance to explore the Saint-Germaine area where we're staying. There are lots of little souvenir shops with mini Eiffel towers and macarons. We saw the love lock bridge, a bridge covered in locks. People can buy a lock and couples or families sign their names on it, lock it on the bridge and throw the key into the water. The tradition started when a hungarian woman lost her boyfriend. She began locking locks on all the bridges where they had been together. Couples liked the idea and began to do the same thing, eventually the french saw the Italians doing it, and decided to do it too.

    Today, we got to try crepes filled with chocolate, caramel or other toppings. We went to visit the Montparnasse cemetery where Simone de Beauvoir, a prominent feminist from the 50s was buried. Afterwards, we went 20m under Paris to visit the Catacombes. We walked through 2km of of skulls and bones with an audio guide giving us the history and facts about the Catacombes. In the early 1800s, there were mass graves in Paris that began to cave in and collapse. Some people's cellars would become flooded with dead bodies. There was also another problem in Paris: some of the buildings were built on top of empty limestone quarries, so the buildings were also collapsing. The government decided on a solution for both problems, they filled the quarries with the bones of the dead from some of the cemeteries. Eventually, the catacombes opened for the public, but it it believed that the are 200km of tunnels under the city that are closed to the public.

    Trivia question: Which costs more? A fresh baguette filled with goat cheese, prosciuto and lettuce or a cup of earl grey tea?
    Put your answers in the comments below and we will reveal the answer next week.

    Hier, on a eu la chance d'explorer la région Saint-Germaine oû nous restons. Il y a beaucoup de petits boutiques de souvenirs avec des petits tours d'Eiffels et des macarons. On a marché sur le love lock bridge, un pont couvert de cadenas. Les gens peuvent acheter un cadenas et les familles ou les couples peuvent mettre leur nom dessus, le verrouiller sur le pont et lancer la clé dans l'eau.

    Aujourd'hui, on a mangé des crêpes remplis de chocolat, caramel ou des autres choses. On a visité la cimitière Montparnasse oû Simone de Beauvoir, une féministe des années 1950s a été enterré. Après, on a allé 20m sous Paris pour visité les Catacombes. On a marché à travers les oses et les cranes avec un guide audio qui nous donnait l'histoire des Catacombes et des faits intéressants. Au début des 1800s, il y avait des charniers qui commencait à s'effondrer. Les sous-sols de quelques personnes devenait remplis avec les corps des personnes morts. Il y avait aussi une autre problème: il y avait des batiments qui étaits construits sur les carrières de calcères vides et les batiments éffondait. Le gouvernement a trouvé un solution pour les deux problèmes, ils ont mis les oses des cimitières dans les carrières. Éventuellement, les catacombes ont ouvert pour le publique, mais des personnes pensent qu'il y a 200km de tunnels sous la ville.

    Question de trivia: Lequel a couté plus? Une baguette fraiche avec du fromage de chèvre, du laittue et du prosciutto, ou une tasse de thé earl grey? Mets ta réponse dans les commentaires et on va dire la réponse la semaine prochaine.
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    Amanda Blair

    My vote is that the baguette is cheaper. Sure looks yummy!


    Earl Grey, of course. Certinaly the French wouldn't want to encourage such a horrid English drink.


    Paris sounds so fun!!!! I’ve always wanted to visit the catacombs after reading the “39 Clues” book series!

    2 more comments
  • Day7


    September 6, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Today we went to the Louvre and saw some incredible pieces of art like the Mona Lisa and the Bather. A lot of paintings were of naked people. There were some really big paintings that wouldn't fit in your house. We also saw a display of statues and and a display of fancy objects that would be found in your house. After we went to the Louvre we went to the Seine to have a picnic lunch. Then we started to walk to the air b and b and on the way we stopped to listen to a street performer.Then we went to go get ice cream at Bertillon. I had one scoop of cherry ice cream and one scoop of hazelnut ice cream. Hazelnut was my favorite.
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    Amanda Blair

    Sounds like a pretty perfect day!


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