Paris - Days 5 and 6
16.04.2013 - 17.04.2013 20 °C
It's so hard to believe but tomorrow we leave France after more than five weeks here. It seems incredible that our trip is nearly over and we have just a few nights in the UK before we head home and ..... gasp!... back to work.
Our last couple of days have been interesting and we think we're getting the feel of being Parisienne. It's been so different to the offhand, arrogant world that we imagined and were warned of. Instead we've found a really warm and friendly experience which has been best exemplified by our experience with Suffren - our loval Brasserie/Restaurant which we've just had dinner at for the third time since we got here. It's been as welcoming, if not more, than the cafes in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue or Brittany and tonight we were greeted and farewelled as long lost friends - being given champagne on arrival and a farewell from Madame le Patronne on our departure.
Apart from having dinner at the local, we've spent the last couple of days exploring other pockets of this fascinating city. Yesterday we visited the area between the Plas de la Concorde and the Opera district as well as the bottom reaches of the Champ d'Elysees! We saw the most iconic buildings and the crowds in action. We saw a large number of the gendamerie as the city is on alert after as a result of the attack in Boston - apparently as soon as they're any action anywhere, they're activated. It meant that the road along the Seine was blocked which gave us all a laugh! We had lunch at a restaurant near the Plas Vendome which was Italian. It was fantastic and meant that we got lots of vegetables which is unusual for over here. I had a salad of roasted peppers and mozarella and then tuna carpaccio - yum - and Hugh had a rocket and parmesan salad and spaghetti carbonara (sans creme - traditionelle!). It was lovely. We had hoped to get Hugh a shirt at a classic spot but apparently they would need to make one for him and he didn't feel the love!
Today we were really really slow getting moving what with packing and sorting and all. I was all for doing nothing but in the end we went to Montmarte and had a look at Sacre Couer. So glad that we did. The view itself from the basillica is magnificent and the church itself is incredible. You can't take photos inside which is unusual but perfectly reasonable and there are seats that are reserved for those who are praying - it's important to remember that these are places of worship and not just tourist spots. Dad's been saying that we shouldn't miss the spot and he's absolutely right - a great spot to visit.
We had a light lunch in a cafe a little away from the tourist hordes in the shade of a magnificent old vine. Our waiter was from Marseilles and was lovely - we had a great chat about things and this all adds to the experience.
As I said, we had dinner tonight in our "local". The biggest oysters that I've ever seen and some of the freshest and tastiest as well. Champagne on the house as an aperitif. For me salmon and for Hugh St Jacques with rice and asparagus. We had sorbet for desser - Hugh's was served with vodka and mine (apple) was with Calvados. We thanked Madame and came home. Most of our packing is done and the alarms is set for 0500 tomorrow. Car is booked for 0700 and train is at 0915. Tomorrow will be Harry Potter and England. I'm looking forward to it but how hard it will be to say au revoir to France! When will we return??