Ok – this is the final blog post of our holiday before we arrived in London… 2 months ago!! How time flies.
Thanks so much to everyone who has emailed/texted me along the way, I’m glad people are reading this and enjoying it – it’s been really fun to put it all down on paper and have a record of our holiday for us to look back at.
In more current news, we moved into our lovely flat on the weekend, and today our boxes that we packed up over four months ago were delivered! I was very happy to see some new clothes to wear, and Dan was very happy to be reunited with his playstation. I start work on Monday, and am feeling both excited about the new chapter beginning, and a bit sad to see the end of my life of leisure. It’s been an amazing four and a half months.
But let’s finish this holiday blogging!! Paris! What a way to finish.
We drove from Il de Re to Paris, and managed to find our way to our hotel. It took us a couple of laps to find the entry to the hotel carpark, but eventually we were in. We met up with Dan and Suzi’s mate from Wellington, Andy, that afternoon at a cafe just near our hotel, and then spent the next few days sightseeing like the ultimate tourists.
It was my third time in Paris, and yet again I didn’t make it to the Louvre. It just seems intimidatingly huge to me, and there are so many other amazing things to see. Like this!
Of course, one of the first sights to see was the Eiffel tower. The line to get in wasn’t too bad, so up we went, although only halfway, as it was another hour to wait to go up to the very top. The view from the middle is beautiful anyway, and it was a lovely clear day.
I loved seeing the Arc de Triomphe from the Eiffel tower – it really sticks out from the landscape and makes you appreciate how grand it really is, even more than seeing it up close I think.
The views really were beautiful, and once done we walked down the stairs that snake around one of the sides of the tower. What an incredible structure, and so modern for its time.
We walked from the Eiffel tower to the Arc de Triomphe, and couldn’t resist a few more pics with the tower in the background!
It’s amazing to see the Arc de Triomphe being treated as a huge roundabout with cars flying around it in no discernible pattern. It reminded me of Rome, where you poke your head out of the underground Metro and almost walk straight into the Colosseum.
We then ambled down the Champs Elysee, went into a few of the more reasonably priced shops, had some lunch, and continued our walk towards the Louvre.
As I said, we didn’t actually go in, but it’s always fun to see from the outside, and the gardens surrounding it are so beautiful.
That day we did a huge circuit of the city, and we were pretty exhausted by the end of it.
We found a little local restaurant to have some dinner and a few drinks and celebrate having made it all the way to Paris!
The next day Notre Dame was on the agenda, that beautiful, huge church that sits on a little island in the middle of Paris. We wandered around and got lost in the history of the place – it really is amazing.
We also indulged in a boat cruise, something Dan, Suzi and I had intended to do in almost every city we’d visited but never quite gotten around to. It was a really fun hour or so, and a great way to see Paris from a different perspective.
And of course it was a good opportunity for Dan to show off his photography skills, with a classic Andy eating the Eiffel tower pic.
One night (I’ll admit I’m struggling to remember the exact order of everything 2 months on!), Suzi organised tickets to a cabaret show down the road from the Moulin Rouge.
We chanced upon a lovely little bistro nearby for dinner, and enjoyed our last night with Suzi and Andy. The show was HILARIOUS, over the top cabaret dancing, magicians, acrobats and more. It was really fun and really funny.
We went to two galleries in Paris, the D’Orsay and the Rodin museum.
The Rodin museum is set in a lovely old hotel and surrounding private gardens, and is filled with Rodin’s art and sculptures. It is beautifully set out, and there are so many beautiful and incredible pieces of art to look at.
Of course, the thinking man is the most famous.
Inside there are some beautiful pieces, like this one – the kiss, and many others.
The gardens are beautiful too.
The Gates of Hell are really unbelievable, the amount of detail and mythology is incredible and throughout the museum are many statues that were essentially elements that made up the Gates.
One of these is this set of three men, who stand at the top of the gates. What amazed us was that the men are all identical, they are just positioned differently. It makes you appreciate perspective. It also reminded me of Beyonce’s all the single ladies dance moves… but that might just be me!
The gates of hell are quite morbid and very sobering, but definitely an incredible piece of art.
We weren’t allowed to take photos in the D’Orsay, but it is a wonderful art gallery inside a beautiful old train station. I loved wandering around, although it is quite large so we were pretty ready for lunch and a sit down at the end of it.
Of course, we had some incredible food in Paris – but one thing we had been talking about for weeks was trying to find a great french onion soup. We googled extensively and perhaps excessively, and eventually decided to try Au Pied de Cochon for dinner one night.
Here it is – and it was delicious!
The rest of the food was lovely too, but we were all there for the french onion soup and it didn’t disappoint.
We indulged in these beautiful macaroons one afternoon, they were so pretty it was almost a shame to eat them. But they were really good, I particularly loved the salted caramel.
And another day, we bought these gorgeous cakes – my cheesecake was unbelievable. I could have eaten the whole cake, it was lemony and creamy and rich and delicious.
As you can see, we all enjoyed our cakes!
For the last day, Dan and I were alone again, and we wandered around basically eating our way around Paris. We went to Chez Janou, recommended by a friend of mine living in Paris who was unfortunately away that week. It was a great little french bistro that did a great three course meal at a really reasonable price. We had a lovely relaxed lunch in the sun.
We also indulged in more than one Croque Monsieur, and as you can see from my smile, it was pretty delicious.
I could go on about Paris, but I won’t. We had a wonderful time, saw some beautiful sights, ate some delicious food and drank some yummy wine.
Eventually it was time to drop the car off, and say goodbye to it. It had been wonderful over the two months, although I never did quite get around to learning how to drive manual, so Dan drove the entire way!
As you can see, the final drive was quite momentous, as our GPS took us up the Champs Elysee and almost up to the crazy Arc de Triomphe roundabout (you can see it in the distance). But we got there in one piece, and all was fine. So far, no fines or tickets have come through, so fingers crossed! I did nearly have a heart attack a couple of weeks later when Europcar Italy emailed me to enquire when I would be returning the car… but it turns out they just hadn’t thought of calling their French colleagues to confirm that we had actually dropped it off on the day we said we would.
And that, is the end of our huge and incredible holiday. It really was a trip of a lifetime, and we just had the best time. But it was time to head to London, which really was just the start of another new adventure!