So today is Bastille Day. And its pissing down. As we got on it a bit the night before, we decide to forgo the military march (held at Arc de Triomphe) and chill at home for a while. In the afternoon we venture out, stopping at quintessentially Parisian stores along the way. Homewares are so funky and accessible, if I were to live here I would be able to create a living space that was both creative and practical. (une moment – after re-reading the second half of that sentence, I need to kick my own ass. Talk amongst yourselves...)
Alors, we were supposed to meet a friend under the Eiffel tower, but due to circumstances, were unable to keep our appointment. (that’s government talk for – couldn’t be arsed). Had dinner at a lovely restaurant in St Germaine – seafood platter for mon ami, and roasted chicken breast with gnocchi pour moi. St Germaine is a cool area – lots of bars, cafes and kitschy stores, and one that I would like to get to know a bit better – put that on the list for ‘things to explore next time I’m in town”.
Thursday 15th of July
Today is photo tour day, take 2. We meet Randy at the Hotel Louvre, and say hi to the fellow amateur photographers – of course there is another Aussie, and a Canadian. We make a few stops along the way, Palais Royal and Jardin des Tuileries.
Afterwards, we decide to grab some lunch and then head over to the Louvre. This place is monstrous – we soon realise that our plans of spending a few hours are nowhere near enough. I wasn’t sure which was more appealing, the art itself or the building (fantastic architecture, 10m high ceilings and perfectly diffused lighting). We saw Mona Lisa (or “Madge” to her mates) and then bailed.
Last touristy destination is Notre Dame, the church that contains the official chair of the Archbishop of Paris. We didn’t go in, as the line was mental, but the exterior was fulfilling enough – I love the French gothic facade – gargoyles everywhere. Of course there was a park in the back, which afforded a lovely photography position.
Decide to head home, and as it’s our last night in Paris (visage triste) we have a meal at Flo Brasserie. The waiter gives us a few free wines (Chablis, you are my new best friend) and so we decide to repay the favour by taking him out for a few drinks after. Our plans to be sensible and go home after a few (as the apartment looks like a bomb site, and we have to work out how to alter the laws of physics and fit our shopping into already bursting suitcases) have gone by the lay – jamais deux sans trois (never 2 without 3). We get rugby league drunk and only call it quits because the sun is coming up. Head home buzzing, tired and slightly apprehensive about the stuff that needs to be done in a few hours.
Friday 16th of July
After 2 hours sleep, arise at 10. Feel mega seedy. Wake up Tina, who has had even less sleep – there is snoring happening. Pack our stuff, say au revoir to Marie the apartment owner and head to the airport. Jerkoff cabbie takes us to Terminal 2B, we said 2C. Laden down like biblical donkeys, we push our way through the crush, only to hear “Madame, Arrete”. For some reason, we are all being made to stop part way through the terminal. Whatever is going on, the red beret army dudes with their AK47’s let me know they me know they mean business. After 15 minutes, there is a loud bang and then the boys tell me “Ça va” and we head through. Apparently there was an abandoned bag found, and in these days of terrorism the military takes all threats seriously, so safely detonated it. I would be more scared if I was more lucid. We board, and despite the fact we are not sitting together, it’s ok as we are hungover to shit – Tina has the shakes and I am a sweaty bastard. Tina disembarks at Doobs, I continue on to Brissie, with a stopover for refuelling in Sinkers.
3 weeks, 3 countries – a much-need, fulfilling holiday. I go home with a lighter bank account, but a full heart.