Queues,queues and more queues- just how many people really live here?
30.04.2011 24 °C
Well, our group finally reunited in our Paris appt on Easter sunday in Rue Notre Dame de Lorette, 9th Arrondisment (district that is…somewhere between the Moulin Rouge in Montmatre and the Louvre on the Seine!)
We greeted our weary compatriots (lisa, Clare and Robyn had trained it over from St Malo on the Brittany coast) with some fresh baguette,local fromages and a home prepared meal…..well, we bought it fresh and served it up- Biggest damn chook I ever did see and some freshly cooked veggies…almost like home!
And speaking of home, at last we have a place with a comfy couch,3 bedrooms,2 bathrooms and a bit of space! Its lovely travelling with friends but you do need a bit of your own space at times….we were right opp the Metro line directly into Concorde (next to Louvre, Musee etc) so once we got our bearings and got a carnette of tickets( we bought 20 at a time…and we can each use x 1 ticket for each journey- very easy!)
We spent our first full day together walking up thru Montmarte firstly checking out the famous Moulin Rouge….( it was only a few blocks away!)…pretty disappointing to say the least…but its pretty tired and has been going for so long It deserves to have a bit of history behind it!)…
We walked around the corner to the Montmartre cemetery where we all split up in search of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wildes graves….amongst many others….and what a spectacular place it is….incredibly old mausoleums up hill and down dale!...It looks like the set of a horror film complete with black cats and rather horrid looking crows!...after wandering around for ages Clare started chatting with the cat man there- he feeds them! We found out we were in the wrong bloody cemetery!! Shhheesshhh!
Continuing up the hill toward Sacre Couer church- the highest point in Paris besides the Eiffel tower, we meandered up through great little curvy cobblestone streets discovering interesting shops,cafes etc.
Once we hit the church (so to speak) we all split up and checked it out…quite beautiful with a wonderful view of Paris….smog et al! Mahony did her climbing thing again and scaled the 350 spiral steps up into the dome of the Cathedral! There she got a 360o view of the city!
So with blistered feet and sore knees we decided to descend the hill by finniculi ( always wondered where that 60s song came from !) it cost 1.50euro and descended all of about 100metres!......hardly worth the trouble really but put it down to experience I guess.
From there we did a spot of shopping, had lunch- (gallettes…a buckwheat crepe with savory filling) and got the Metro to see the Musee D’Orsay….all to discover it isn’t open on a Mon! …..hey, we are the mighty travelers! So we wandered around the beautiful Tuillerie gardens near the Louvre then finally made it home for tea…
Its been really warm in Paris with some quite hot days so we thought it appropriate to do the River cruise again…at night! Its so lovely, easy thing to repeat… after that the others ( not me with heights!) scaled to the top of the Eiffel Tower again….and what an exquisite thing it is at night…..not so the 100s and 100s of annoying hawkers underneath constantly hassling to sell bloody mini Eiffel tower souvenirs!
Each night we’ve been in Paris we’ve had the pleasure of fantastic wine, cheese ,baguette and of course those fabulous macaroons (Lauderee!) ….so of course, when in Rome….well, at least Paris…that’s what you do! And so we have indulged as we can…and given our starts aren’t as early as they could be…well, I think the rouge,blanc and bubbly might have something to do with it..
Shopping in St Germain is fantastic but purely the window type…as shops such as Dior, Armani etc were in abundance…so Clare, Mahony and I stopped at Bonapartes café and enjoyed a nice bottle of red…(well, actually I needed to go to the loo and thought it the only way to find a decent one! Quite xxy at 30euro…but a nice chance to people watch all the same!)
That night we had more wine, macaroons and meringues (violet,lemon and pistachio!!)
What a nice way to spend a night in Paris!
On Wed we all got up early (albeit with sore and slow heads!) and headed off for the Palace of Versailles which is about 40 minutes out of Paris by train…so we joined a few thousand of our dearest travel mates to the mighty palace of King Louis 14,15 and 16th!!
Mon Dieu!! Have you ever been there? The gold was sparkling as we walked up the street towards the main gates!!!! Gold, gold and more gold…the French Govt are restoring the original roof which is nearly complete and gilt edged completely! Not only is the palace ridiculously huge, ornate and completely over the top….it goes on for miles and miles of exquisite gardens beyond! Too big in fact for our sore and bruised legs…so we hired golf carts to get around the estate….heaps of fun….and in fact, Lisa would’ve preferred we hire Segways…but didn’t get organized in time..and not sure Robyn would’ve been seen dead with us on those gizmos! Down at the back of the grounds is Petite Trianon…the home of Marie Antoinette…quite a modest little chateau by comparison but quite beautiful with her self contained lifestyle and lovely garden out the back of the big joint!
We got a private tour of the kings private chambers – quite revealing and astonishing- he had a red velvet toilet seat! And an exquisitely mosaiced bidet! Massive gold clocks in every room, enormous tapestries, silk drapes, and in the stables even the bloody horses had their own orchestra..such was his affinity with music.
An 8 year old Mozart was summoned to court to teach him piano! And every room had gold gilt moulded ceilings!
No wonder the people revolted!
A fantastic day but exhausting once again- can we keep this up?
Tomorrow we pack up for a few days in Loire Valley….need to get our beauty sleep!