Paris, Lyon and Paradiski


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Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Montchavin
March 14th 2015
Published: March 14th 2015
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I’ve been quite slack when it comes to blogging, mainly because we’ve been tired at the end of each day so writing seems too big a task. However, I’ll do a summary of the places we’ve visited since arriving so at least you have an update of some sort.

Paris

We arrived in Paris on a chilly Tuesday morning and made our way to our brilliantly located apartment in the 10th arrondisment (Republique). The owner allowed us to check in early at 10am so we dropped our bags, freshened up with showers and headed back out to sightsee. We decided to explore the local area so we walked up to the Place de Republique, stopping at every boulangerie to check out patisserie items, and criss-crossed through the 10th, up to the Canal St Martin. The temp was quite pleasant in the sun at a balmy 12C, and eventually we got to the end of the canal, bought our dinner and headed home. We were in bed by 8.

Wednesday dawned bright and sunny and we decided to start at the Ecole Militaire, which was the meeting point for Segway tours. We hadn't booked one but we arrived hoping a tour might have some space but alas, no one turned up so obviously no tours booked. We then wandered down to the Eiffel Tower, paid €5 and climbed the stairs to the 2nd level. We decided against going to the top as the 2nd level gave quite a good view of the city. We spent an hour there and then came down and started walking along the Seine before lunch. I was reminded how much I love Paris when we saw all these activities at intervals along the river, including table tennis, pole tennis, hopscotch, game and picnic tables, a mini climbing wall for kids, 6 lanes for a 60m sprint, as well as gardens and seats for just enjoying the scenery. How awesome that a council provides all this free so its residents can enjoy the city! We made our way through St Germain des Pres and on to a café in the Latin Quarter that did great bagels, and that was our lunch. In the afternoon we continued through the Latin Quarter to Notre Dame and the il-de-St Louis. After 21,000 steps we decided to train it home for the night. I booked a segway tour for the next day.

On Thusday we arrived at Ecole Militaire (de ja vu!) for our Segway tour. It was a small tour of only 5 people and the guide, Gil, was most friendly. We started at the Eiffel Tower and then went down to the river bank. We found ourselves back in the activity landscape and Gil pointed out several things that we had not seen the day before:

1) Public drinking fountains – he said that in spring and summer, the council actually aerates one of the two taps, so you can either drink still or sparkling water. How totally awesome is that?!!

2) There were 3 little boxes made of shipping containers, with the river side of the container being full glass. Inside the boxes was a picnic table and some chairs, and outside was a small deck. It looked like a tiny demountable home (minus the furniture). He explained that the city offers these “getaways” to anyone (tourist or resident) who wants to use them for several hours - and they are free! All you have to do is book online but you can take your dinner there and have a free night with friends, or go alone and read a book on the deck or inside. Again, totally mind blowing that they would offer this prime location for free. In Sydney they’d charge for something like that.

Anyway, we moved on from the activities and scooted past the Musee D’orsay, The Louvre and on to the Champs Elysee. Eventually we were back where we started, said our goodbyes and continued on foot to the Arc d’Triomphe. This structure never ceases to amaze me.

We took the metro up to Montmartre and was there long enough that we saw the sunset, took a few night shots and then chose a creperie for dinner. We had savoury and sweet crepes, which were delicious. Unfortunately Dale wasn’t feeling the best but he still wanted to get night shots back at the Arc and of the Alexander III bridge, so we retraced our steps, got some shots and headed home.

Friday was our exit day, so we checked out of our apartment and made our way to the TGV station for our bullet train to Lyon. I thought it would be quite a novelty for my brother to ride it, but he had come down with a cold and ended up sleeping the whole 2hr journey! Oh well, can’t help these things!

Lyon

Arrived into Lyon, navigated our way to Vieux Lyon (the old town) and checked in to our apartment. It was one of my favourite apartments that we’ve stayed at. The décor was warm and inviting, it was only on the 2nd floor and the location could not be beat. Dale laid down and Dwayne and I explored the area and bought groceries for the weekend.

Unfortunately Dale wasn’t feeling much better on Saturday so Dwayne and I went out exploring Vieux Lyon and all of the small, winding, cobblestoned streets and alleys. We also walked across the bridge to the daily market. That’s one of the things I love about Europe – local farmers coming to town to sell their produce. We brought 2 patisserie items, 3 types of cheese, a baguette, tomato and an absolutely huge grapefruit for lunch. After lunch, Dale was feeling well enough to venture out and we rode the funicular to Notre Dame, which is the highest point of Lyon. The oldest structure on the hill is a roman amphitheatre that was built around 43BC. It reminds me more of an Italian town rather than French, which isn't surprising given the 1400’s saw an influx of Italian merchants. Lyon was then annexed to France in the 1600’s. There are square, coloured buildings with terracotta roofs dotted across the hills and is situated at the meeting point of two rivers (the Saone & Rhone). It all reminds me of Florence. I don’t think it’s as romantic as northern France but it certainly has a nice feel.

Skiing in Paradiski

We’ve spent the week skiing La Plagne and Les Arcs, which combined is called Paradiski. We were here in 2009 and were so impressed we decided to come back. Unfortunately the resort hasn’t had any fresh snow whilst we’ve been here, so it’s not as good as 2009 where we were getting fresh snow every night. The village has been warm at up to 15C, with 3-6C up on the hill at 2000m so the snow has been taking a bit of a battering. The sun has been shining and visibility has been amazing. We’ve had an excellent view of Mont Blanc and about 100 other peaks every day. The snow is holding up quite well above 2000m but it’s only translating to good skiing, not awesome skiing. The massive terrain is always impressive though, even if the snow is not.

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