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Published: September 12th 2006
You will be happy to hear that I have begun to put my proximity to Europe to good use and have been for my first weekend away in Paris. Caught the plane from Heathrow, where it was a nightmare getting through security, particularly given recent events there. Next time I will definitely get the Eurostar - much easier!!
I still love Paris - and it was a great time to go. Weather was lovely (OK, it did sprinkle a bit, but it was mainly warm).
Managed to fit a lot in in my four day long weekend in Paris. Traveled with my flatmate Marc with a 'c' who has never been to Paris before (now don't get any ideas, just a friend...).
On arrival on Friday night, we climbed the Montparnasse Tower for a a view of Paris by night. Was an amazing way to start the trip. We arrived at the right time to see the Eiffel Tower put on its 'sparkle show' - 10 minutes every hour at night. While it certainly makes the tower stand out and is better for the photos, I think I prefer the ordinary tower lights. You know how I don't
Had a very healthy dinner - nutella crepe - YUM.
Saturday morning we headed to the tower proper (I am sure you don't need to ask which tower). You will no doubt be surprised that the views are amazing. Was a fantastic day - the sky was blue, the weather was warm, I was in Paris, I had a croissant for brekkie (can't get more touristy than that!!) ... what more can you want?
We then headed to the Marmottan - Monet museum. It was a highlight of the trip. For a start, it was small and not crowded (I know, I know, I am getting fussy in my old age). There is a big collection of the Iris and early Waterlillies series. The section of the museum where the waterlillies are is rounded, so you feel surrounded by them. Amazing.
Met up with Jon and Jae (friends from Sydney) in the afternoon. The fact that they were in Paris as part of their great French adventure with 6 month old baby Fin (how brave) and the in-laws (potentially even braver), was the reason my European adventures started in Paris. Even though it has
only been a month since I saw them last, was fab to catch up. I also met Nikki and John (Nikki is a friend of Jon's from Australia and John is her Irish boyfriend). Interesting fact about John - he is famous. Well, he plays (played) Gaelic football and used to get recognised on the street, which is good enough for me.
Jon and Jae managed to convince Jon's parents to babysit, so all the 'young ones' (bar Fin) had a lovely dinner out. Felt very special to be there for Jon and Jae's first meal out without the bub - even got Jonno out to a pub afterwards (for those of you who know what a piker he is, you will appreciate the achievement there). Cameron, a Paris local (well, 5 years residence there should qualify...) and friend of Adam and Marc acted as our 'pub guide' which helped us stay away from the temptation of the 'OZ Bar' (actually not that tempting - even though they did have dancing on tables to classic Aussie tunes and Caps, you know how I love that).
Musee d'Orsay was amazing (of course), and less crowded than the Louvre -
Arc de Triomphe
So many stairs toclimb in Paris!
although at least this time I saw more of the Louvre than the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Checked out the sections on 15th - 17th century French art (you know, seeing as we were in the country and all). Both galleries were really busy - explained by the fact that it was the first Sunday of the month so the national museums in Paris were free. Could not climb the Notre Dame on the Sunday - it was closed 'by order of the police' (!!!) Seemed something big was going on as the area was surrounded by busloads of police in full on riot gear - including with gas masks. Must have either been some kind of threat or someone important there.
Did what I could to climb the other major sights in Paris - the Notre Dame (went back on Tuesday), the Arc de Triomphe and up the hill to the Sacre Coeur. It is definitely a good workout for the legs!!! Jon was a great guide. Love the gargoyles at the Notre Dame - and have tried this new snazzy collage photo set up for the piccies.
Also went on a boat trip down
Two in one
The Arc de Triomphe from the Eiffel Tower
the Seine, a very relaxing way to take in the sights, visited the (outside) of the Moulin Rouge, posed in the face statue in Les Halles and checked out the 'proposal bridge' where Jon and Jae got engaged.
Sunday night was a big group dinner with Jon's parents - see photo below. Apart from the restaurant being unbelievably hot because there was no airflow, it was a great night.
Stayed with Jon and Jae on Monday night in their apartment. Jae cooked voul-au-vonts for dinner - how French is that!?!?
Was very sad to say goodbye and head back to London - already planning my next Paris adventure!!
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