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Monday, 29 April 2013

A weekend in Paris

decorative tiling in the back streets of Montparnasse
Culli and I have just come back from a brilliant weekend in Paris, it was cold, grey and windy but that didn't put us off. We travelled up by train on Thursday morning and arrived just in time for lunch at a little back street Chinese (very tasty noodles, egg fried rice, beef in oyster sauce and sweet and sour chicken) for the bargain price of 10 euros including a drink.
Chinese lunch
Fuelled up for an afternoon of culture we took the metro up to the Champs Elysees to drop off Culli's passport to be renewed then back on the metro to the maritime museum. An eclectic mix of model ships from all ages, the first diving suit, paintings and torpedos, but well worth a visit.
torpedo at the maritime museum

the first ever diving suit circa 1880


Back on the metro under the river to meet up with daughter Amy, her husband James and New Zealand mate Andrew. Their hotel is near Invalide in a lovely area of pedestrianised streets lined with bars restaurants and gorgeous shops.

After supper of steak and chips we leave them downing Mojitos in a cosy little bar and head back to our hotel in the relatively peaceful area of Montparnasse.
Saturday morning we meet up with Amy, James and Andrew at the Dome des Invalides for a visit to Napoleon's tomb and the military museum, a few sore heads I think, the Mojitos were followed by porn star martinis which come with champagne chasers..............!
Napoleon's tomb

The boys opt for World wars 1 and 2 in the Military museum, interesting (and a little surprising) to see from a French viewpoint! But some wonderful uniforms and geometric gardens.
Croque Monsieur
baked camembert with charcuterie and cornichons
We find a lovely little bistro for lunch with red check table cloths and filled to capacity. After lunch we walk up to the Champs Elysees. Amy, James and Andrew go for a bit of retail therapy and Culli and I hop on an open top bus, it was freezing. However, after many trips to Paris over the years I now feel that I really know it.
dream on............!

posters for sale on the banks of the Seine
There is an Italian tradition that has spread to Paris where lovers attach a padlock to a bridge and chuck the key in the river, thus ensuring eternal love, how romantic. This bridge is now completely covered with padlocks, bike chains, handcuffs..........

 The window displays are just fantastic, there is a shop for everything

beautifully packaged macaroons
shoes and bags
dogs who are tired of shopping
silver spoons
We stopped off at Notre Dame and wandered through the flower market up to the Hotel de Ville for the Couture Exhibition, but sadly the queue snaked away into the distance, so we gave up and hopped back on the bus. A slow wander up to Opera for a bit of window shopping and then on to Harry's Bar to meet the others and knock back an eye wateringly strong/expensive G&T, followed by a fairly mediocre and equally expensive dinner at the Grand Cafe, no cocktails tonight!
Harry's Bar
seafood take away at the Grand Cafe
Opera at night
Sunday morning Andrew is off early to catch his flight to Singapore and Amy and James making the most of a child free lie-in, so Culli and I go to my favourite place the Musee d'Orsay. Following a useful tip we started at the top this time and worked downwards, so enjoyed the Impressionists to their full extent, followed by the beautiful drawings of Degas and Van Gogh paintings.
a welcome beer
Lunch with Amy and James just around the corner from their hotel before they head off to the Eurostar, then we catch another bus to Montmartre for a wander. Back to Montparnasse for the trip home.
Lots of inspiration, but not time for knitting all I achieved was a few rows of crochet.

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