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We’ll always have Paris

September 22, 2014

Oregon to Paris.  What?  Well, with two weeks full tilt work in between, but yes.  I went to Paris for a whole week with the man in the hat.  We were tourists and loungers and beer drinkers in the sun.  It was fabulous.  It was noisy, smelly, expensive and glorious.  It’s a living, working, bustling cliché. My French is rubbish, but now marginally better rubbish than it was before.  My vow is to learn French and go back to Paris and stun them all with my insanely vast vocabulary, accent, wit and style.  On the other hand I expect I will simply go back as a tourist again and fumble and mumble and still be slightly intimidated by the elegant shop assistants in their black outfits and sharp, red lips.

The first four nights were spent at the Eldorado Hotel, a legendary golden king or for our purposes a bonkers hotel in the northern part of the city, near the Place de Clichy.  We were on the third floor, overlooking the street and if we craned our necks far enough you could see the tippy top of the Tour Eiffel, at night anyway, when it was lit up like the brazen trollope she is.

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our local pattisserie

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Messing about in boats

Following a giddy first couple of days of tramping the streets of Monmartre, looking at glorious paintings, churches, windows, streets and witty street art, basking in the sunshine, drinking cold beer, eating insanely good and also some mediocre food, people watching and inbibing the romance of the city by osmosis, we finally remembered how old we are and virtually collapsed.  It wasn’t helped by the ardent nature of the Paris recycling department who collect their items separately from about 3am every morning – that’s about four different different bin lorries down a very narrow street one after the other EVERY morning; not to mention the scooters with their waspish noise and unfriendly hooters and the shouty early morning Parisiens right outside our window, EVERY morning.  I had asked for room with a view (I know, I know) and got a view of a shop called ‘Bunny Faux Ongles’ with noise thrown in as bonus.  Actually our view was perfect given where we were – bit edgy, bit scruffy, very Parisien.

It was despite all was a really fabulous and sexy place to stay with it’s own little bistro and bar, great food, perfect wine, lovely staff, and very cheap.  If you ever go there ask for a room at the back is all.

Me and Leonard on the Seine (no idea who the other geezer is) - it's a serious business this sightseeing.

Me and Leonard on the Seine (no idea who the other geezer is) – it’s a serious business this sightseeing.

We hit a wall after a visit to Versailles.  I think in fact that Versailles was so disappointing that it depressed us a bit.  All the hat man wanted to do was sleep – I don’t think the appearance of Ms. Antoinette herself would have helped much frankly.  It’s vast, and confusing.  You are never really sure what you are looking at and there is none of that stuff you find in English palaces and grand houses where they show you the nitty gritty of daily life in the ‘olden days’, like the kitchens or the loos, or any clothes of the era.  I know it all probably got burned by the proletariat, or made into cushions or something, and it might have helped to strap on a recorded guide to my head, but what with the heat, the millions of tourists looking as bemused as we did and the garden which appeared to be under construction it all just seemed a little bit undecided as to what it was actually presenting.  And you couldn’t even get an ice cream there!  All told I was infinitely more impressed by the Carnavalet Museum in the Marais, a visual history of Paris jam packed with gorgeous paintings and nick-nacks to satisfy even my addiction to domestic detail and nit-pickery.

On to the next place I had booked to stay.  This was to be our bit of luxury, a bit pricey but very central, very chi-chi, old world charming etc etc.  The room was billed as ‘small’, and indeed it was.  I have no problem with small, IF there is a window that opens onto something more than a terrarium which is itself at the bottom of a five story inner building well.  There was light, but it was five stories away and coming thorough a hole that was approximately five inches wide.  The room itself was very comfortable and cleverly fitted our so that despite being weeny there was a place for everything and everything in it’s place.  Everything was also monogrammed to within an inch of it’s life.  The walls were old worlde French flower prints – pretty but claustrophobic in such a small space.  Our bedroom door opened into the reception area.  Very odd place.  Not sexy.

We did manage to catch up on a bit of sleep but poor old hat man got a bug and an evening at the Scottish Pub (referendum day), meeting up with an old friend of his was spoiled by him feeling very poorly indeed.  Trooper that he is we carried on with touristing the next day and he got his mojo back by our last day.  That evening we went back to a restaurant, Le Coude Fou (the Crazy Elbow!), we had stumbled on before, hoping that a second visit wouldn’t disappoint, and it didn’t.  Not only did both the food an wine match up to the previous visit but we made friends, perforce as the tables were very small and very close to each other, with a couple of New Yorkers who were also on their last night in Paris, before heading to London.  As hat man said after, no matter how much you love someone it is nice to talk to someone else after a whole week of just each other’s company, and after sharing wine too we were declared family and now have an invitation to join them for dinner in New York, which I hope we can do one day, but until then…

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Emma Haughton permalink
    September 23, 2014 10:19 am

    I’d like your life please…. Or just a chapter of it…. xx

  2. September 23, 2014 11:57 am

    So New York next,,,,I will come wid yuh…….next time……x

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