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Published: July 25th 2018
Jess and I hit the shops and the nearby bakery that Ute had taken us to yesterday, to buy food for breakfast. Back at the apartment we prepared everything and had a lovely spread on the table by the time the birthday girl and Ferris and Con joined us. What a lovely way to start the day!
After breakfast the four of them went off to browse the nearby markets as they were going to buy some goodies to take to the picnic lunch we were planning in the nearby Luxembourg gardens. I decided to spend some time sorting my stuff out before heading out to explore some of Paris myself. I first headed to the Arabic Uni/Library building that Ute had told us has a great view from the 9th floor and was free to enter. So I headed there to take some photos of the vista - very beautiful. From here I wandered down Boulevard St Germain in the direction of the Luxembourg gardens, taking in the sights along the way. As I was walking along I looked up a street and saw this most amazing building up the end of it, so I decided to head that
way. I came across this huge church and then around the corner was this most impressive building, The Panthéon. There was an exhibition on but I wasn't sure what it was and didn't have time to check it out too much. I figured I would let the others know about it and perhaps we could check it out on our way back to the apartment from the gardens.
I then wandered to the gardens. They are huge and I was just about to get my phone out to call Janine when I heard her call my name. The gang had found a great spot under the shade of the trees, which was most welcome in this 30 degree heat. We started setting up the food on a bench they had grabbed and gathered enough seats for everyone to join us. Not long after Peri and Phil found us and the party started. We learnt so much from Ute yesterday and Janine and Jess went back to the amazing fromagerie and bought some more of the sensational cheeses. We had pâté, terrines, olives, bean salad, prawn salad, baguettes, ham, vine ripened cherry tomatoes, grapes, and lots of wine. There was
probably more food stuff but I can't remember! Eventually Sue and Lou joined us - they had been shopping and Sue is gluten intolerant and they had found a cafe that did lot she of gluten free foods (the owner was from Melbourne) so they had taken advantage of this!
After lunch Janine, Ferris and I went for a walk around the gardens. There is a lake in the middle and they race little sailing boats. Everyone was out enjoying the sunshine and weekend vibe. When we got back to the others the girls gave Janine her gift of Ruinart champagne - a very special bottle! After lunch we all walked back to see The Panthéon and everyone was just as impressed as I was. We spent some time reading the story of the lady the exhibition was about. Her name is Simone Veil and she was Jewish but somehow survived in the Nazi concentration camps where she lost part of her family. The posters along the fence tell that story but we also found out she was a French lawyer and politician who became the Minister for Health. She fought for many women's rights and now both she
and her husband were recently both buried in the Panthéon (1July) - she is only the 5th women to be given this honour.
We headed back to our apartment and started to get ready for our night out. Janine had kept the location of tonight's dinner a surprise (except from Ferris and I) and at 5pm she sent everyone a message with the name and address of a bar to meet at around 6:30pm. Ferris, Janine and I caught an Uber to the bar and Sue & Lou were already there. Not sure how our communications got mixed up but this bar was just a cafe bar and was about to close. We had checked ages ago and it advertised it was a bar that did cocktails with views of the Eiffel Tower and we believed this happened in the restaurant part but they advised us they didn't. So ..... Plan B!! Sue & Lou stayed at the bar to finish their wine and we headed off to find another bar. Once we found one we let the girls know where we were and they sent the others in our direction. In the end the bar we found was
a blessing in disguise! It was a much nicer place and the staff were fsntadtic! They set us up with 9 seats on the street and really looked after us. We all started the night off with Aperol Spritz and they gave us complimentary snacks. They even organised a muffin with a candle in and came out singing Happy Birthday to Janine! What a fun time!
It was at this bar where Janine shared her disappointment with the first plan (but we all agreed this had worked out for the best) and then told everyone that we were going to dinner at the Eiffel Tower! Everyone was so excited - we couldn't believe it! We only had a 5 minute walk from this bar to the base of the tower and the excitement carried us all the way. We arrived at 8:30 for our 9pm sitting. Janine organsied our tickets and then we were in the fast track to get the elevator up to the first level. Once we were up there we had enough time to look around and taken in the scene. Truely amazing. You can see Paris as far as the eye can see.
9 we headed into the restaurant and were thrilled that we had a table right on the window. There's were 4 dishes per course to choose from. For starters I had a dish with shrimps, avocado, pomegranat, heart of lettuce, pomelos and black sesame condiment. For my main I had Fillet of Sea Bream with Spelt risotto, butternut squash with champagne sauce. For dessert I shared with Louise so we could try 2 desserts. We had the Profiterole filled with vanilla icecream and covered in hot chocolate sauce which they poured at the table! We also had the fresh raspberries between wafers and cream. Everyone agreed that the food was spectacular!! The restaurant filled a cup with cream and stuck a candle in it and came out singing Happy Birthday. What a truely wonderful evening.
We finished dinner around 11:30 and a few of us (Janine, Ferris, Peri, Phil and I) decided to walk up the stairs to the next level of the Tower. The rest of the gang headed off in search of a bar where we could have a night cap. Wow, that was a fair climb up stairs - especially after dinner and a few drinks!
But it was well worth it! It was a balmy night so we couldn't have asked for better weather and the view was just sensational. After taking our time to walk around the whole platform, we then walked back downstairs to the 1st Level so we could catch the lift back to the ground. Once there will still marveled at how beautiful the tower looks at night - it is one of those icons you cannot get enough of.
The girls sent a message letting us know where they were so we walked to find them. They had found a little bar right on the Seine so we all enjoyed a nightcap and excitably chatted about our fabulous evening - which I suspect no one wanted to end!
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