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Paris Week Two

24 Apr

Monday– We met with Kaori and Adrian at their place near the Eiffel tower. It was great seeing familiar faces again. The plan was to go to Montmatre and wander around, have a look at Sacre Cour and of course check the beautiful view of Paris from there.

The weather was terrible, pooring heavy rain, windy and cold. We rush up to Sacre Cour and run inside the church. We wandered around admiring the inside. We sat down and waited for the rain to pass. We leave and see that it is still pouring rain. As we are all hungry we decide to run for it and find somewhere to eat near the Louvre. We hop on a metro and get off near the Opera. We stop by a Baguette shop for a quick lunch before heading to the Louvre . There was a huge security queue outside, we got pulled aside from the main queue and let straight through, Thanks Camilla. I love having a toddler in tow, we always get VIP treatment at Museums, Airports, etc.

We spent nearly 3 hours there. Kimble was our tour guide showing us all the main art works and sculptures. After the Louvre we went for a walk across Jardin des Tuileries but it started raining again. We all went back to our place for drinks and dinner. The boys cooked a very nice meal, Adrian made a beautiful veggie soup and Kimble a roast a chicken. We decided to check out the sparkling Eiffel Tower, just before 10pm we headed down to Trocadero and managed to arrive just in time to see it lit up and sparking. The show went for about 5 minutes.

Afterwards we said good-bye to Adrian and Kaori as they were leaving Paris 2 days later.

Tuesday – The weather was again terrible, we stayed home for most of the day. Kimble’s parents came over in the late afternoon and went to Trocadeiro for a walk.

Wednesday-Today is Margaret and Robin’s last day in Paris before heading off to the UK to end their holiday. We met up with them at the Galleries Lafayette as they had never been to it before. We wander around for a while as it was raining outside. Around lunch time we decide to find somewhere to eat lunch, Kimble kept suggesting McDonalds, which we all said a BIG “No” to the idea. We return to a Vietnamese restaurant Kimble and I had been to on our first week but there weren’t many vegetarion options. So we settle on an Indian restaurant. This is our first proper restaurant meal since we arrived. The curries were nice but not the Indian we are used to back home in Sydney. The curry flavour were very mild and they seemed to use cream instead of coconut milk, apart from that the meal was very nice. Afterwards we visited Musée des arts et métiers, it was a bigger museum than I expected. We spent about 2 hours wandering.

We farewell Kimble’s parents and had home. Kimble cooked a chicken soup with the leftover chicken from the other night and to accompany it we have a baguette. For desert we had a yummy tartellete de fraise (strawberry tart).

Thursday – We visit to Le Defense.

We had been there before but it was good to go back and have another look. Now there is a huge shopping centre that we had to check out. Kimble finally bought a new hard drive for his dying computer. Camilla was not co-operating so we had to cut the shopping trip short.

On the way home Kimble tells that we should hope off the metro at the Arch the Triumph stop and walk back home. He says it will be quicker than the metro, no more than 10 minutes. After walking for 30 minutes we make it home .

Friday – We left just after 12, it’s hard to leave early when we don’t have to meet anyone. We walked to the metro and got off at Saint Paul. From here we walked about 10 minutes to Museum Carnavelt, the museum tells the story of Paris and also has art gallery exhibits. Camilla fell asleep as soon as we got off the metro so we had time to wander around the museum without been disturbed or having to chase her around. After the museum we head to Marais, there is a big Jewish community here, for lunch. We head to 34 Rue des Rosiers where the famous Falafel shop (L’As du Falafel) is located.
The place is extremely busy with a huge queue for takeout and eat-in. Two men outside the store are taking orders, Kimble is at first apprehensive to hand the guy 11 Euros as he thought he was a ramdon guy trying to rip people off.

Saturday – We woke up to a horrible cloudy and rainy day. As the day progressed the weather did not improve so we ended up staying home all day and only went out for a quick supermarket trip for dinner.

Sunday – Kimble set the alarm to 8am, the plan was to go to Marché aux Pucest early and hopefully find some bargains. Alarm went off and we hear rain, we went back to sleep and woke up about 9:30am with rain still pouring. We check the weather forecast and it looks like the weather is clearing up later in the day. We leave and make our way to Marché aux Puces. It took us about 30 minutes on the metro and 2 changes to get there. This area is insane! It’s a Paddy’s Market on steroids. There is everything from tacky cloting to beautiful antiques. We wandered around for a couple of hours, we didn’t buy anything.

The sun decided to make an appearance, after two weeks of horrible weather the sun is finally here!

It’s lunch time and Kimble wants a falafel sandwich again. Off we go back on the metro to Saint Michel to go to a little Falafel shop he read about online. This place is different from the first one we went as this one has a salad bar which you serve yourself. The falafel sandwich was really nice, but we didn’t put enough sauce or salad, rookie mistake I guess!

Afterwards we go to Jardin Luxembourg, the second largest public Park in Paris. This park is very nice! It feels like a smaller version of the park inVersailles.

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Week Two is over! We have another 3 days in Paris before we need to pack up and leave again. I have a feeling next week is going to be actioned packed.


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Paris Week One

22 Apr

Leaving Lisbon

Easyjet, how we love and loathe you …

After a quick but scary drive with our friendly cab driver to Terminal 2 in Lisbon (only 10 Euros). We walk into the terminal to discover it’s lino and plasterboard with a few seats. Like a bus terminal for the sky. We got there with hours to spare but somehow after queueing forever we were in a rush to get through security to make it in time. Boarding started about two minutes later.

Next comes love.  “Please form two queues, priority boarding and parents with children in one and everyone else in the other”. Great! We get a seat in the second row and get a whole three seats to ourselves (Camilla didn’t have a ticket so we should have two seats).

Now comes hate. After everyone boards we sit on the tarmac for thirty minutes because no one at Easyjet can count. Then another ten minutes because somebody was running late. Anyway turns out to be an elderly chap in a wheelchair who they have to seat next to us. We just lost our seat. Damn.

Apart from Priscilla needing to go to the toilet and all twelve kilos of Camilla sleeping on my elbow the rest of the flight was pretty good. We touched down at Charles De Gaule and after getting off the plane I declared that as usual we could be anywhere. Signs in English even though the French are so proud of their language. If you took someone, drugged them, woke them up at a random airport in the world I can guarantee you they would have not a clue where they were.

Paris price shock

I look in my wallet as we’re about to leave the airport to catch a taxi into town. 45 Euros but I’d better get some money out just in case. Twenty minutes later and outside the apartment the metre reads 55 Euros. The taxi driver mumbles something about 5 Euros extra for baggage. By this stage I couldn’t give a damn about an extra couple of bucks the shock was too large. We’d been spending 60 Euros a day in Portugal and that covered food and accommodation.

We arrived at the apartment and some kid turns up. Priscilla asks him if he’s Marco who was meant to be meeting us. No, apparently he’s Vincenzo. Ok seems dodgy but he has the key.  Turns out of course there is a 40 Euro fee for weekend call outs. We think he’s actually just been sent by the agency and offered the 40 Euros if he can get it out of us. We pay him to avoid trouble. It is Sunday afternoon after all.

Sundays in Paris. There’s not much open. In fact we pound about 4 kilometres of pavements only seeing one small convenience store open. No worries, we just walked past the Trocadero and an amazing view of the Eiffel tower.  Eventually we give up and go back to the store which is just about to close up. PHEW! We did not want to starve on our first day. 17 Euros later and we have a bottle of milk, a six pack of beer, pasta and sauce.  OUCH.

Our first day ended up costing us over 200 Euros including accommodation. Something we certainly have not been used to.

The apartment

The apartment is in the 16 arrondisement, on Rue de Siam, located on the right bank of the river Seine.  The suburb is very residential and appears quite wealthy. There are boulangeries (bakeries), boucheries(butches), fruit shops and of course cafes and restaurants.  The apartment was a last minute find that turned out out to be exactly what we needed after the last two weeks in a dingy Lisbon apartment. Our Paris pad is a very spacious one bedroom apartment, with hight ceilings, central heating, kitchen, ensuite with washing machine/dryer. The furniture is very Parisian and after a long day of sightseeing it feels great to return home to cook and relax.

Food

I have been cooking many French inspired dishes, check our earlier post for recipes. We have also been enjoying our daily baguettes, croissants and pastries.

What we did last week

We start day two by checking that the two “supermarches” near us really do open. Fill up on as much French produce as possible including at least three types of beer and wine. Suddenly we are introduced to something called variety again. Portuguese supermarkets have very little variety and even the mega supermarkets seem to have lots of different types of the same thing. I remember an aisle of beer almost 100 metres long that was mainly different serving sizes of Super Bock.

This is embarrassing but as we didn’t keep notes of what we were doing everyday we can’t actually remember exactly what we did day by day, so here is a summary.

The first couple of days we did lots of walking near where we are staying, we went to the Trocadero area, Eiffel Tower. We also did longer walk near the Louvre, Jardin de Tuileries, Grand Palais, Pont de Bir-Hakeim where a scene for the Inception movie  was filmed and many other sites around Paris.

The weather has been generally awful, cloudy and raining on and off. Apparently this seems to be the normal for Paris during this time of the year.

My parents arrived a couple of days after we got here. Since then we have been spending time with them. Camilla was extremely happy to see grandma (nam-ma as Camilla says).  We went to Musee d’Orsay. Visited a bric-a-brac market, Le Marché aux Puces, that had some really interesting stuff.

We also spent some time exploring the centre of Paris. We visited the Notre Dame, the gardens at the back of the building were stunning, with purple tulips and various flowers.

We crossed an interesting bridge, Pont de Arts, over the Seine that was full of padlocks  “love-locks” attached to its sides. The Paris City Hall are not too keen on these and a couple of years ago they disappeared suddenly, but they seem to be back in force now.


After queuing for what seemed a long time we got into Sainte-Chapelle . It’s a 13th century church that the city has grown up around. Encased within another building. There are two chapels over two levels. The ground level one being more of a tourist shop. The one above is amazing with 15 metre stain glass windows that seem to go on forever.

Camilla’s tantrums are getting much worse, I suppose she is getting closer to two. We have so many photos of her having tantrums in the middle of footpaths around Paris. Too funny.

Week one has gone by too quickly. Luckily we have another week and a bit to go. We are looking forward to catching up with Adrian and Kaori tomorrow.