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Published: August 6th 2010
Free ConcertThursday, July 22
Free conceerts held by the Seine during the Paris Plages
Dear diary, I didn't do much today, I just sat in the apartment reading my book and in the afternoon, I finally built up the enthusiasm to walk around Montparnasse. This area is dominated by the Montparnasse tower (a blight on the inner Paris skyline) and has quite a night life. The clubs advertise international artists such as Steve Winwood. I only wish that I was in town to see him., although I haven't heard much of what he has been up to in the last ten years. My favorite Winwood musical period is Traffic. Not particularly relevant to Paris, but it is my blog..
Overall, life is good, I can manage to order a baguette and chocolate eclair in French, which I do most afternoons. My French also extends to a “where is”, but I'm thoroughly out of my league if someone actually talks back to me.
Kathy Peterson begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, a friend from Russell has arrived in town and and is also staying on Rue Vaugirard, however she is about a 2 km walk away (Sylvia her house swap has already been to NZ). We have dinner along with Stephen, Sue Western, and Sylvia. The
food is pretty average, but the wine is cheap and reasonable. Friday, July 23
Stephen, Sue, and Kathy are all going out to do Paris touristy things (Eiffel Tower). I'm just having some alone time, so I sit around morning and read. I'm actually in the middle of a James Paterson book and I am quite enjoying it. The Paris Plages (Paris Beaches) started on July 20th and are now in full force. They are along the Seine and have deck chairs and sandy beaches along the walkways; if you wish you were in Cannes and can't afford to go, then take a position on the plage for the day. Also, free concerts are staged on Friday and Saturday nights for the next 3 weeks. The venue is right next to the Seine, at the marvelous Hotel de Ville (Town Hall). Anyway, I text Kathy and trek down to the Hotel de Ville around 4.30pm. The Russell crowd are already waiting for me.
The concert is a bunch of fun and consists of five or six bands doing their thing. I love music, and what the hell if the lyrics are all in French, who cares!!!! Saturday,
I have taken on the task of making sandwiches and getting wine and beer for this evenings concert. Today, there is a street market by Les Invalides; I buy baguettes, ham, Italian ham, lettuce, tomatoes etc. Our evening meal is to consist of, baguettes, wine and beer. We take up position on the wall by the fountains at Hotel de Ville and along the way meet a couple of colorful characters. I believe that Stephen has invited them all to stay at Villa Russell and to go sailing with him. Sunday July 25
Today, is not for the faint of heart, we are up early and off to the flea market, Marche aux Puces. This is the largest outdoor market in Paris and is on Saturday through Monday each week. It is certainly one of the must do's when you are in Paris. The market is right at the end of the line on Paris Metro 4, Porte de Clignacourt. After leaving the station, we grab pastries from the Boulangerie and get ready for some hard bargaining. Kathy and Sue are in a shopping mode. Stephen and I take a few photo's and spend time doing a
Note, how slim Caroline is!
little pacing while we wait. I know that I will be returning again next week. I'm becoming a market regular.
It's time to leave the Marche aux Puce, it's 12.30 and we want to catch the Metro to the Champs Elysee for the finish of the Tour de France. We arrive at around 1.00pm and the crowds are still fairly light, while we don't get a position on the barrier, we do get a second row. Now, it's just wait, and wait until around 4.00pm. First we get the fanfare of the parade and finally the riders arrive and it's a result for the English as Mark Cavendish wins the final stage. Monday, July 26
I'm sad to be leaving the Vaugirard apartment that has been my home for the past 3 weeks. It was very central and close to the Metro.We are all leaving today, Stephen and Sue are off to Switzerland, Kathy is also going to Switzerland and I am moving to the Sacre Couer to coincide with Caroline's arrival from New Zealand. We're up early to clean the apartment and then I' grab my ¾ full bag and head to my new abode at the
What to do with all those door photo's.
Sacre Couer. It's a hike up the hill from the Metro Station , but I find that I have a lovely one bedroom apartment, not quite in the Sacre Couer, but right across the road from it. Now all I have to do is meet Caroline at Gare du Nord, and to my surprise, she finds me, a short Metro ride and then I drag her case up the hill..... This is the second time I have been up the hill today and before the day is over I have been up it a couple more times.
In the early afternoon, we both head back to the Vaugirard apt. to collect the remainder of my clothes, and hand in the key to the neighbor
In the evening we find a bistro for dinner, not bad and for around 15 Euro (standard price at your average restaurant). Caroline hits the rack early, and I don't blame her after a 32 hour journey from NZ. Tuesday, July 27
The only bad thing about the new apartment is the hike up the hill or the stair stepper that is on high every time you want to come home.
The same with cafes.
Go Shopping, enough said!!!! Galleries Lafayette. Wednesday, July 28
Lets Do More Shopping- Les Halles ; I think that we're just about done now.
Very nice lunch at L'EBAUCHOIR in the 12th Arrondissement not too far from the Bastille. Great food, and a very reasonable price. Thursday, July 29
We walk to the Marais with the intention of going to the Pompidou Museum. Our goal is to have lunch at a nice restaurant and then go through the museum. Our lunch is overpriced and average. So, slightly disappointed we decide to walk around Isle St Louie and give the museum a miss until Sunday, when it is free. Friday, July 30
Today, we are up quite early and catch the Metro to Gare Lazare. It's time to go to William the Conqueror country in Normandy. We're off to Bayeaux to see the tapestry. Caroline is excited, and while it's an almost 3 hour train journey to Bayeaux, another 10 miles would see us on the Normandy beaches. Unfortunately, we are only on a day trip and do not have enough time to make the pilgrimage to the beaches. However, we do go to the British War
One of Stephen's Friends
I think Stephen offered him the first-mate job on Kingfisher Charters.
Cemetery in Bayeaux and I feel very emotional and teary as we walk amongst the headstones and see row after row of very young men that gave their lives fighting for the British forces in the Second World War.. Bayeaux was relativly untouched by the war and although the Brits advanced on Bayeaux, they made the decision to build France's first ring road around the city, rather than have their armored vehicles negotiate the narrow streets and cause damage to the medieval town.
We see the tapestry and I must say that it was well worth the effort. This is a piece of history that is almost 1000 years old. And whether you believe that is is a very early propaganda leaflet or the actual recording of history, it is worth seeing.
By the time we get back to Paris it's 8.45 in the evening. Saturday, July 31
We have lunch on the left bank and then walk around before going to an internet cafe to catch up on emails. Caroline leaves her computer at the internet cafe, but she doesn't discover this until later in the evening. Does she feel stupid, or what!! Sunday, August
Note the Handcuffs
Sue and Kathy's new friend.
Back to Marches aux Puce in the morning. My wife, buys a couple of things, however this is the third weekend that I have been to the market and it is all becoming a little predictable.
In the afternoon, we stop by the internet cafe to see whether her computer is there and she's in luck, it has been found......
At last, we make it to the Pompidou and because it is the first Sunday of the month, entrance is free. Even though there are a number of 20th century artists such as Picaso, Kandisky and Matisse there is also some art that is reminiscent of MOCA in Los Angeles and is not particularly to my taste. I think of it as “From the sublime to the ridiculous”, but art is subjective and should be left to the individual.
In the evening, our friends Rob and Erica Lauder (from Devonport) arrive from London and we enjoy a first class meal in the 5th Arondissement .(See Carolines Food Blog) The four of us walk back through the Latin Quarter and onto Pont Neuf to enjoy an evening view of the Seine and Paris. Monday, August 2
Rob and Erica make the trek from Grand Boulevards in the 10th Arrondissement up to Sacre Coeur for breakfast in our apartment. I have already been on the stair stepper as my job was to get the fresh croissants and baguette.
Caroline is ill, she has vertigo and stays in bed for the day. I retrieve my passport from the Indian visa outlet and then meet Erica and Rob for, you guessed it, more shopping......
It rains in the afternoon and I make my way back to the stair stepper about 5.30pm. Tuesday, August 3
Back to L'EBAUCHOIR for lunch with Rob and Erica, this restaurant is certainly the find of the trip and the food is excellent. They are renowned for their rice pudding and I have to admit that it is the best....
In the evening we are invited to Carine's for dinner and have a lovely meal and good conversation. We don't leave until almost midnight. Tonight is the last night for climbing the hill!! Wednesday, August 4
Today, we are going to Cathar Country!
Up early after a pretty bad nights sleep. The loopies have been on the steps to
the Sacre Coeur all night long and boy were they noisy. We pack our bags, have breakfast, a quick clean-up and we're off. Getting our bags to the Metro is quite an effort, especially with Caroline's added purchases, but we manage without too many problems. Then it's Gare Montparnasse to catch the TGV to Bordeaux and Toulouse. We both like the train, it allows me to sleep and as it gives us an added view of the countryside. It seems to be all bales of straw and fields of sunflowers.
AU REVOIR Paris........
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