I’m not sure what I can say about Paris that hasn’t been said before. I wouldn’t describe it as the highlight of our trip, nor the prettiest, cleanest or anymore architecturally magnificent city compared to any other old city in Europe, the people weren’t any more or less friendly, the food wasn’t any fresher or tastier – and yet, when people ask me what I thought of Paris, my immediate reaction is overwhelming enthusiasm, I bloody loved it!
I loved the cafe culture, I loved the beer, I loved the art, history, monuments, I loved the bread, I loved the cake (I really really loved the cake), I was absolutely enthralled at the opulence and magnificence of the Palace of Versailles, and that roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe was off the charts, that was a whole new level of crazy driving. I loved our little hotel with its squishy room, and boulangerie at the end of the street, I loved everything, except the African immigrants trying to sell us wooden carvings of animals and books as we walked along the streets.
The first order of business once we arrived was, of course, to check into the hotel and go for a stroll…25 Klm later we found ourselves walking in ever larger circles around the hotel looking for somewhere we could get something to eat. Turns out it was well after 8:00 pm, the sun was only just dipping over the horizon, and there was not an open Cafe’ to be seen.
We lived to walk another day and after much exploring, we headed to Amiens and then Villers-Bretonneux to pay our respects to family at the Australian war memorial, it was early April so they were giving everything a good going over before the ANZAC day memorial, and I have to say it looked fantastic. Back at the train station heading back to Amiens we said g’day to a couple on the platform who looked a bit touristy (as we did I suppose) turns out they were Aussies as well, no sooner had we exchanged pleasantries when an elderly couple turned up and asked us if we were Australian, then thanked us very much for everything Australia has done for them, the lump in my throat was such that I could barely say thank you.. honestly what do say to that? It makes you stop and think about what sort of impact the diggers had on that little village all those years ago to be so grateful to this day.
Of course no trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Musee d’Orsay, and the Louvre museum, both magnificent, although I reckon the Louvre could do with a GPS guidance system, crikey that place is a maze and the map they give you fails to show the differing levels so you think you should be able to walk across to another exhibit only to find a bloody great brick wall in your way… once we figured out how to read it, we were all good, and it’s after days like that you know why God invented beer!
Paris- Loved it, would go back again in a heartbeat.