I think we left the Christmas story at the point at which we'd found a working Eurostar. I'm too lazy to check, mind, so let's all just assume that's where we were. Train over was fine, except we were next to a bunch of teenagers, for whom Paris was their haven, and they didn't care what their richer friends who went across the other side of the world said. It was their haven. And they were going to meet all these - presumably famous - people, and blah, blah, blah. For hours. Hell really is other people.
Once we got there, we had just under 24 hours (23 hours, 59 minutes, to be precise) until our train back home to Villefranche. We were staying in a hotel near Place d'Italie, which was nice enough - the bathroom was scary though, the tiles had faces on. Distorted faces. And eyes. Horrible. The room was decorated with books though, so I approve of that.
We walked, a lot. I was going to get a map and colour it in to show you all how far we walked. Because I knackered my knee doing it, and wanted sympathy. But I can't find a map, so you can't see the extent to which we walked just yet. But we saw a lot, and had dinner at the restaurant around the corner from our old flat in Montparnasse (called Zazous, I recommend it, if you're in the area - even with the refurb, which makes it look like you're eating in someone's living room. Food is good!) and we walked around the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero and down the Champs-Elysees. All nicely decorated and full of Christmas Market - and people. So very many people. None of whom paid the slightest bit of attention to anyone else around them. But the lights were pretty, and the giant wheel in Place de la Concorde made a lovely backdrop for the wedding photos the couple we saw were having taken. And the Tuileries was pretty in the moonlight. Blah, if you've been to Paris, you know all this. If you haven't been to Paris, stop reading my blog and go and book tickets. Now.
The next morning, despite my aching knee, we went to Sacre Coeur, then down through Chatelet, past Notre Dame to Gibert Jeune and Saint Michel, and then back to the hotel to get our bags to go home. I recommed first class TGV travel, in case you're interested - huge seats, no screaming children, bliss for several hours. And finally, we were home!
Many photos here - a selection follow, because it's my blog and I can...
Ugliest Building in Paris:
Eiffel Tower and some peace garden statue thing they've got at the bottom of the Champs de Mars:
The big wheel in Place de la Concorde:
And from the Tuileries:
Lights at the end of the Champs - they flashed, which you can't see...
Shakespeare and Co - it is a very, very good thing I never went in here when we lived there, I'd have had even more books than I ended up with as it was. (If you're looking for an English bookshop in Paris though, go there. Really.)
Or here. Gibert Jeune sells all kinds of books and is fabulous and I love it. All of them, since there are several shops selling different topics of books. Except the Law shop, that one is kind of boring. But still. Go there too.
And, lastly, the mad fountains by the Centre Pompidou: