Ok, it’s impossible to write about the cultured beauty of Paris without resorting to cliches. I loved it.
A city populated with stunning architecture, red geraniums, boulangeries, book shops (yes, they still exist in this country!), florists, parfumeries, narrow cobbled lanes, elegant women, churches of great beauty and museums packed with treasures; really you can’t go wrong.
And our tour guides, a dear friend of Cecily’s and her beautiful (French speaking!) family, made our trip such a treat, and so easy, for all of us.
We ate bread, cheese, ham; sometimes 3 times a day. Cholesterol be dammed. Relying on my friend Mickys motto, ‘I’m relying on the French paradox to pull me though’.
As to sightseeing, I could easily have called this post, ‘Things we climbed in Paris’.
It started with the Eiffel Tower:
My little 5-year old wanna-be engineer was thrilled, and delighted in counting the stairs.
Climbed the dome at Notre Dame, chatted to the gargoyles, and looked out for Quasimodo.
Calf-muscles aching, next stop was:
The Arc de Triomphe was excellent, with fabulous views, and very short queues. We spent our time fantasising about living on one of the amazing roof-top gardens visible from the top of the arc, and how good it would be on NYE.
Next, was a climb up the dome of Sacre Coeur. Unfortunately, the responsible adult of the group (that’s me) forgot our camera. But it was lovely. Interestingly (?), with Sacre Coeur being an operating church, and not a desginated national monument, the interior stairs to the dome were black with soot and filth and covered in graffiti. There were also some fairly interesting smells along the roof top walk, with (generations) of tourists and Parisians alike relieving themselves along the roof top. Phew!
It wasn’t all an exercise in ‘feel the burn’.
Of course we visited the Louvre, in all its massive glory.
Lill managed to squeeze in a front row view:
Did you know that the French refer to her as La Joconde, or ‘Pleasant to look at’? Of course, a trip to the Louvre involves so much more than this painting, but it is so massive, and so utterly full of treasure, not to mention the treasure of the building itself, that I’m at a loss to describe it. I guess I would just add the (newly rediscovered) Medieval Louvre is well worth a look, as is a stroll around (in the sun), in the Jardin de Tuileries.
We overloaded our senses at the Bastille Market:
ML let me into a delicious French secret about radishes. Take a raw radish, cut the green top off, and make a cross cut in the top, dip in salt, and top with a tiny sliver of butter. Unbelievable…the bitter crunch of the radish, the salt and the fat of the butter. Perfection.
Speaking of salt, I’m not the world’s biggest icecream fan, but salted caramel icecream has made me a convert. Don’t knock it till you try it. Thanks Geoff!
Financial planning involving a lotto win, and a chateau in France, went into overdrive after we visited the flea markets at Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt.
And Versaille had something for all of us. I’ll write about this more in my next post.
We had a wonderful week, made all the more special by seeing some beautiful friends.