Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A weekend in Paris

I just spent a fabulous weekend in Paris. After only 80minutes in the air, direct from Newcastle, I arrived in Paris and was immediately confronted with the fact that I don't speak French! Luckily I had company on the flight - Harriet who I play netball with just happened to be catching the exact same flights as me to Paris. I managed to catch the correct train to Gentilly to meet Bolt (science circus) and Tom (her boyf). It was so great to see them both, and they are the best tour guides of Paris! I can't tell you how amazing it was to be shown around Paris by someone fluent in the language, and to be taken to the best parts of the city.

On Friday night after I arrived we jumped on the train and went straight to the Eiffel Tower. It was beautiful, all lit up, as you will see in my pictures. We sat on the grass and ate baguette and cheese and drank French wine, and it was topped off by some devine French chocolates. There were lots of people doing the same as us. I love how people in Paris use the outdoors. We wandered down some side streets and found a place for dinner. We didn't finish eating till 12am!

Saturday was a very full day- It began with going to the local markets and wandering around, buying baguettes and croissants and pain du chocolat for breakfast. Delcious! We then headed to the Louvre. Bolt and I were wandering what was so good about the Mona Lisa... And we decided that although unimpressive at first, she is just so intriguing. The more you look at the painting, the more intrigued and mesmerised you become. It was great. On the opposite wall was a fabulous painting by a venetian artist (whom I have forgotten the name of) and we spent ages looking at that because there was so much to it. It was a scene of the last supper, but so scandalous because it featured drunkards and brawls and animals that it almost got Venice ousted from the Catholic Church back in the 1400's I think.

Bolt and I were also amazed at some bottecelli paintings. The girls in the pictures had similar colourings to us, which we though quite interesting for Italy...

We did so much that day I am having trouble remembering it all! It was fabulous though, I hope you are enjoying reading this.

We then went to a famous tea house called Angelina's. It was frequented by Coco Chanel amongst others, including prominent politicians and all sort of famous people who went there to discuss politics and other important things. Bolt and I discussed cultural differences, and indulged in the most amazing hot chocolate (almost liquid chocolate I would say) and an amazing desert called a Mount Blanc, which had chocolate, coconut, cream and meringue in it, but I can't describe the most unusual texture it had. All very incredible and we were on a sugar high for the rest of the day from that.

We went to Montmartre then and saw the Moulin Rouge, and as we meandered up the gorgeous windy streets to the top of the only hill in Paris we bought a baguette and cheese and wine. The wine seller thought we were Irish, as he though we certainly didn't look like we were from around there.

We walked through the streets that featured in my favourite movie Amelie and arrived at the Sacre Coeur. It is a stunning view from the top of all of paris. The white city sprawls away into the distance...

Bolt and I sat and ate and drank there. We then met Tom who had been working all day and went to a few very cool bars in Montmartre. We even met some Aussies - fancy that :) One was from Canberra and the other from Logan (near gold coast). Great fun.

Sunday we went to the Notre Dame Catherderal, which was spectacular. There was a service happening there at the time - incredible acoustics. We saw the centre pompedeiu with all its pipes, ate chocolate crepes and watched a street performer. There are things I haven't mentioned, but you can see what I did in the photo album I have made. I couldn't just put a few pics into the email like I normally do, as there were so many I wanted to share!

This is the link the album. I hope you go and view the pics, there are some great ones.
http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=2e0wkff.7ve8x3wz&x=0&y=-h6ewz7

I made it home and was in bed at 10pm on Sunday. I can't believe I fit all that into a weekend in Paris! Thanks so much Bolt and Tom for having me and showing me around :)

It is amazing how going away for only 2 and a half days can feel like it has taken up a huge part of your life. And that is how I feel. Paris is such a beautiful city, so rich in culture and history. It feels special just to be there and walk down the elegant streets. I can totally understand how people fall in love with it - I was definately under its spell. Not only is it pretty, but the people were very friendly, and it seemed that everyone just enjoyed being there. It is a bit of a contrast to England, where walking along the streets people look quite glum, and not at all like they want to be walking down a grey street in Newcastle for instance. There is also a great contrast between Paris and London- you really know where you are in Paris- you are in Paris- but in London you really could be any big city in the world.

Paris was amazing. And now I'm back in Newcastle it also feels good because I know that Paris is so close, and there is so much more of Europe to see as well. Can't wait!

Love lots,
Jo

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