Published: July 7th 2011June 7th 2011
"Where’s all mah soul sistas
Lemme hear ya’ll flow sistas
Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir (ce soir, what what what)
Voulez vous coucher avec moi"
I know you're singing along so don't be shy, what what what what! Oh Lady Marmalade...
We arrived in Paris safely, albeit a little bit frazzled. Mum isn't the most relaxed traveller. But the train was lovely. We had some wine and nibbles to calm us down (all courtesy of course) and we enjoyed the company of a lovely Frenchmen; dad especially; he owned his own BMW cruiser and some investment properties in London, was a business man and a farmers son. You couldn't have asked for a better stranger to plonk himself down next to the "Australians"!
We had 8 lovely days in Paris, shacked up in a very nice apartment in the heart of the city, a short stroll to the underground, the Champs Elysee, Seine River, and the Opera. Positioned ideally in a street with every necessity one could need; a butcher, a baker and a candle stick maker, well almost, we had two grocers, a boot man and a dry cleaner if that counts and a hair dresser
and beauty salon for the girls....PERFECT!
We started off our stay in the romantic city with some pretty average weather; cloudy with rain, but that didn't stop us (well only momentarily when dad realised he was just another 'stupid tourist' for wearing shorts and returned quickly to the apartment to change. Not the sharpest tool in the shed old Rosco for I think the same thing happened three days in a row didn't it dad? We had again planned to do Paris' version of the hop on hop off bus, however some of us felt passionately about the fact that this was no where near as well run as the London buses. Between that and the fact that I was keen to get some exercise in we decided to shun the bus for the day and instead walked our way around some huge ticket items!! We started off in the center of town fueled ourselves up with some banana and chocolate crepes (as instructed by gab and amelia) walked through some lovely gardens before making our way down the Champs Elysee to the Grand Palais where a magnificant temporary art display is on at the moment by an artist who's
name escapes me, however who's work; three giant red plastic space domes, are almost as amazing as the building itself. We got ourselves some lunch before making our way over the river (sooo beautiful) to the oh so famous Eiffel tower. What a magnificant sight. Something I wasn't sure would be all that impressive, considering you see it in just about everyone's travel pictures, however it was probably more impressive than I could ever have imagined. The size of it absolutely blew me away. The size of just one of the legs blew me away and the thankfully the crowds weren't all that bad. We lined up for a out 20minutes before making our way up to the top (we weren't feeling energetic enough to climb although I think I want to tick this off in the future) Once there we ooohed and ahhhhed our way around the first level before making our way to the second level to be transfixed by our views....the views that were made so much better with our accompanying glass of champagne!! Spoilt much?
With some meat from the butcher, some bread from the baker and some greens from the grocer(this followed a similar pattern
for most of the week) we enjoyed a very simple dinner at home before well and truly crashing for the night. Oh have I mentioned that the apartment had a kitchen, complete with stove, microwave, stove top, fridge, dishwasher, washing machine and plasma flat screen tv?! Have I mentioned that it took dad five minutes in the apartment without me supervising to wreck the beautiful flat screen tv?! He was 'searching' for some English channels and in the mean time deleted every other channel on the thing. I couldn't fix it. BUT in the end it was probably a blessing; books were read, blogs were written (well half written) and sleep was slept. However dad, in future, please don't 'fiddle' with things before reading the manual; isn't that what you always tell me to do first?!!
Today we decided we wanted to see the city the best way one could; yep you guessed it; the hop on hop off bus, paris style. It seems dad had taken back his ideas about their reputability. We ventured through the beautiful tree lined streets with their gorgeous old buildings and beautiful french women, along the way seeing the oh so famous Moulin Rouge
one of my favourite buildings in paris
and the Lourve. We decided to stop in here and have a look, for it was absolutely necessary to have a look at probably the most famous woman in town; Mona Lisa of course! We spent about 3 hours wandering in and out of this absolutely awe inspiring museum with its magnificant scultures, paintings, history and religion. We indeed joined the hoards of people getting their glimpse of the smiling lady before having a look at the French artwork; yes I saw some of Vermeers artwork, oh the memories of my year 12 text came flooding back.
Throughout the following days we visited the very impressive Notre Dame, Arch de Triumph and Sacre Coeur, all in relatively pleasant Paris weather.
From the churches of the city to the streets of Monte Marte we ventured over to The Marais! Wow, what a magnificant area this is. One of the oldest parts of Paris, this rather large suburb of the city is definitely one worth seeing. With its old cobblestone streets and impressive architecture, its museums and cafe's, oh and it's shops!! we had a wonderful time. We also didn't mind having a good look at all of the expensive cars that
seem to call this place home and no i'm not talking mercedes and BMW's, I'm talking porche's, lamborghini's, aston martins, ferraris! amazing!
Now during every trip there's always one day that stands out and for this trip my favourite day would have to be my solo visit to the Parisian Flea markets. It was -A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! I had a great time. I mean how could I not, I LOVE TO SHOP (wonder where I get that from?!) I love vintage clothes and I love a good bargain and indeed I found some good ones; there were Calvin Clein jackets, Louis Vitton blazers, Armani jeans, Yves Saint Laurent blouses....you name it, it was there. It did indeed require that very necessary 'I am going to find a bargain even if I have to search for 6 hours' kind of attitude and as a result I found myself with my head burried in very large piles of clothing in search of 'very necessary' items for about hmmmm 4 hours! It was hard work, I'll be honest and come 1pm it became very crowded, but I can't explain to you how amazing this place was. Camden market you should be ashamed. The prices here
mums new french hair cut
oh so game going to a french hair dresser who couldn't speak a word of english; probably your best yet!
were awesome! I'm talking 1 euro tables full of every colour jean you could ever want, 10 euro tables full of the 'designer pieces', hats, jackets, shoes, you name it, it was there and I bought it, although it was hard work, with no dressing rooms there was a lot of guess work! So its not hard to say that I had a wonderful day in the suburbs of Paris shopping Parisian style and that there will need to be some hard yards put in in order to squeeze into that a line skirt and those red jeans!
Hmm I enjoyed writing that; brought back a lot of wonderful memories....oh if only I could return!!
Now I mentioned that i did this trip solo, yep without mum and dad. I sent them on their way to Monet's Garden in Vernon/Giveny which they tell me was beautiful. A beautiful day spent with lots of tourists in a very nice garden. Good work guys.
Now after spending 6 days in Paris, whilst lovely, we were ready for some new scenery. We were on our way to Chartres (no not pronounced char-tress but instead Ch-a-t. You should have heard us practicing, hilarious; chacct,
one of mums best shots
monet's gardens, vernon, france
charrrrt, cht, chut, chute, chartrs and I still don't think they've got it!) We caught the train which was again vey nice and very fast, indulged in a few baguettes and the ever changing scenery before arriving in town within an hour.
It is famous for its Cathedral and rightly so, a huge (it can be seen from 30miles away!) very ancient (gothic times) cathedral with some of the most magnificant stained glass windows I've seen thus far. Mum and dad took themselves off on a little tourist train around the old city whilst I opted to do so by foot. Gorgeous narrow little cobblestoned streets with ancient houses complete with wooden shutters, canals and streams running through the town. A truly magical place. But we didn't stay long. Dad was absolutely itching to see some crops! And so we hired a car and took ourselves out into the country side. We stopped in a Maintenon where we were lucky enough to discover one super impressive castle from the Middle Ages before stopping in at one of the oldest farms in France, the Medieval Garden of Bois Richeux. It was absolutely beautiful and impeccably kept. The very lovely owner who
took over the place in the 90's completely revamping the ancient building and re-creating its gardens offered us some history, including how it was around in medieval times, before we wandered around the gorgeous gardens and then went on our way...back in the car we drove along some very narrow, winding roads, through crops of canola, wheat and barley to our next stop; the farm visit!!! you should have seen Rosco, so excited!
There we met a lovely young man who spoke very good english and kindly showed us around his property, La Ferme au Colombier. The house/farm buildings are right inside the town of Neron and due to the magnificent restoration they hold weddings and conferences in their huge barn (complete with chandeliers. It was impeccably kept and also dates back to gothic times. An organic and conventional farmer with his father he owns about 180 hectares with which he could get approximately 20,000 Euro per hectare!! lets just say dad was very impressed but that he won't be buying any time soon...he needs to invest in a property in Chelsea right dad, its the perfect time to buy!
After enjoying our very cruisy cruise along the country roads
in France we returned back to Chartres for the evening. What a beautiful part of France and what a pity we didn't have more time! A wonderful way to spend the day and see the country side, a way to get dad to walk in a few more shops in Zurich, hey mum!
We were off to Switzerland, yep the dream continues. From France to Switzerland within a week, amazing, so stay tuned x
Oh but before I go I must mention three things:
1. Dad wants his morning coffee; we're on our way to the Sacre Couer, being the polite gentleman that he is he asks if I want anything "No thanks" I reply. He wanders off. Five minutes later he returns with not one but two polystyrene cups, "Dad I told you I didn't want anything", "I didn't get you anything mate, I got two coffees", "Why on earth did you get two coffee's?" "Well I didn't want them but he gave them to me anyway, he didn't understand me" So here's dad with two coffee's, one black and one white, at 4 Euro each! let's just say it didn't sit well and by no means did
it assist in our quest to get him to fall in love with Paris.
2. Dad needs toothpaste. We enter the supermarket, go our separate ways and meet at the counter. Dad turns up with a suspect tube reading "CANDIDA" hmmm dad we didn't know you had any health issues?!! But apparently there was a picture of a tooth on the tube so that makes it all ok.
3. Mum and I are walking along the street and stop to giggle at what we thought was a very interesting store name; it read "ODIOT" ummm yeah who's the idiot now!
Oh we're a funny bunch!
There are more photos below