Published: September 20th 2010September 20th 2010
Ahhhh... J'adore Pari!
Well, Paris is everything I had hoped for, and so, so much more. The beauty of Paris is just incredible. We arrived here via the train from Renne after a somewhat traumatic bustle to the station, in true Foale style we missed our train because we couldn't find the dropping off point for the rental car, the GPS shat itself and the directions to the car rental place were in French, albeit we made it in the end. We had to wait 2 hours for another train, stress levels were high, lucky I know how to say Blanc, when the waiters ask me what I would like to drink!!
After a de-stressing glass of wine and an omlette, yes, I've decided that every cafe on every corner of every block in France sells omlettes and crepes, both delicious, both terrible for the waist line, we got our substitute train into Pari, took a death defying taxi to our apartment and even caught a quick glimpse of the Eiffel Tower on the way in.
Now, if you've been to New York you have nothing to fear in Parisian traffic, as I would go as far as to say that New York traffic is just as bad, if not worse than Paris traffic, how every single person in Paris and New York hasn't died in a car crash baffles me, but that's another story. They. are. crazy. And people ride push bikes around in this manic traffic without a care in the world, and did I mention that wearing a helmet on a push bike is not legalised like it is in Aus! Crazy, crazy people. Then again, wearing a helmet with sailor stripes and bruges would not be tres tres chic!
So anywho, we arrived at our apartment, carried our bags up two sets of very dodgey looking steps (the building is under construction) only to find a verrrryy nice apartment on the other side of the door, although looks can be deceiving, the shower head is taped on with duct-tape, 3 out of 6 lights in the kitchen don't work, oh and the washing machine leaks all over the floor every time it is turned on. Lucky we have a lawyer in the family who knows how to pump out a mean email which meant that all problems bar the washing machine were fixed within a day, thankyou Alissa. Did I mention stress levels were once again HIIIGGHHH after discovering all of the above... and breath. Lucky I am around to enlist positive energy into the camp, I do get the feeling that my family is tiring of my constant singing and love giving..
Wow, so, Saturday night that we arrived we headed down the road to a lovely little Parisian restaurant for a meal which was ever so delightful, we pointed happily at the things that we assumed were edible and went about drinking plenty of vino.
Sunday was a cracker of a day, although, unfortunately dad and I both woke up feeling very under the weather, and we didn't even have wine to blame, we while Jambon (French for Ham, yes, we have coined him a new nick name), Mum and Arissa all went out wandering the streets - which we later found out they got completely lost and wandered around in a circle for an hour and a half - dad and I both headed back to bed and tried to get over our illnesses as we had so much to look forward to that night and we did NOT want to miss out, yes my loves, it was a night of Eiffel Tower dinnering, Seine River cruising and Moulin Rouge watching, a little tour I had been looking forward to doing since, well, the beginning of time.. some might say.
After arising from my slumber somewhere between sickness street and lunch time we headed on out to the hop on hop off tour, meeting the others at the front door of the Hunch Backs crib, The Notre-Dame. We did a whole loop on the bus seeing sooo many exciting things from the second love of my life, The Eiffel Tour, to the Champs Elysees- and as the song goes "it's a busy street" a million bazillion cars and the most manic round about you have ever seen, at the end of the Champs of course the Arc De Triomphe which was a brilliant site and I plan on going up to the top of the Arc tomorrow night, we saw a trillion musuems and listened to the 28628963 audio tour of the trip and generally just enjoyed a nice relaxing afternoon of bussing around the streets of Pari.
Sunday night: Yippee! Eiffel Tower you say? Oui! We took the elevator up to the 2nd level where the view was spectacular (and there are still another 36 levels above that), we watched the sun set as we devoured our absolutely delicious 3 course meal and we even met some more Aussies on our table, Radelaidens to be exact. After dinner we allowed enough time to take some snaps of the view out on the observation deck and Sam did his best to scare Alissa as we walked down the 100 plus steps to the bottom - she is petrified of heights. Once at the bottom we made our way through a sea of men trying to sell us Eiffel Tower paraphenalia (mum sucummed and bought two towers), took a few more snaps then headed across the road to the boat for our 9pm cruise. An hour up and down the Seine watching the light show on the Tower and yet another audio tour was the perfect way to cap off our already wonderful city experience, but wait, there's more. The boat tour arrived back at the doc from there we sprinted up to our bus and arrived at the Moulin Rouge a short 15 minutes or so later.
If there is one thing you do in your life it must be to visit Paris to see the Moulin Rouge, unless of course you're claustophobic then I suggest giving it a miss as the tables and chairs are within centimetres of each other and you have to contort your body into a certain position for the duration of the 2+ hour show with little hope of breathing, I guess it's lucky that the show is breathtaking, right? But really, sitting capabilities aside the show is brilliant, amazing, fabulous and so so spectacular and I could go on and on about it until the end of time (friends, beware, I will..) but it would never do it justice. Just go and see it, ok? Good.
So after arriving home at about 3am, I know- wild! It was well and truly time for bed as we had yet another busy day of hopping on and hopping off to do.
Today was spent on the verge of getting malled by pushy Nigerians at the Sacre-Coeur trying to sell me a piece of string, yes, string. Previous to my little encounter Alissa had also been surrounded by them. God knows what they were going to do with the string, but I can imagine it wasn't worth 10 euro.
This was my first encounter of the gypsy-man-type or scalper, I don't know what their called but their creepy and they deserve a round house kick to the face along with five of the best. I had been very well warned by friends, family and manya travel books about people approaching me trying to sell me all kinds of paraphenalia which is fine, I am good at ignoring them I feel, but when they start putting their hands on you, you really just want to punch them in the goolies, but, you never know what their carrying (other than string) stranger danger and all. Did I mention that while I was being verbally and on the verge of physicaly harrassed my darling brother AND father were pissing themselves in the background, it may have had something to do with the fact that because I wouldn't play with his silly piece of string the crazy man was calling mum and I lesbians, I mean c'mon, as if I would go for someone as old as mum!!
So that was eventful but we finally made it up the cazillion stairs to the Sacre-Coeur which is truly a beautiful building and a spectacular sight to see perched up on top of the green as green hill in it's splendid white, just wonderful. We cut a phat lap around the church and decided that macaroons were much more important than history so we headed out for lunch rather than waiting in line to see the Crypte. I might regret that one day, but for now, all I can say is that today my friends, I may have had the best steak of my life, and at the ripe old age of 21 I can be ignorant enough to say that steak at this point, is much more important than a carving on a wall. My stomach said so.
And here we are back at the Apartment after a day of cathedral seeing, steak eating, bus taking, gypsy-harrassmenting, audio touring, Paris loving fun!
Tomorrow we're off to the Palace of Versailles which is supposed to be off the hizzle (that's a Lonely Planet term btw) and it's also supposed to have some pretty rad gardens so no doubt I will be snap happy tomorrow.
The rest of the week will be spent wandering down the coblestones, eating snails, munching on more carbs than you can imagine (they friggin love bread over here- and it's delicious), heading to the top of the Eiffel and just generally soaking in the ambience before heading off to Munich for yet another wonderful leg of our already fulfillling trip.
Montrez-moi le monde.
With love, from Paris.