Our Final Fling
10.09.2007 22 °C
Flying early to Paris was great as it gave us the rest of the day doing what Parisians do, live life without a care in the world. Delighted to be back on familiar soil with our turtle homes on our backs we strolled the streets of the Latin Quarter in search of our favourite kebab shop. After lunch we headed behind Notre Dame and came to a rest in a cafe outside the Pompidou centre. As the hours passed writing in our journal and discussing the past months we decided to make the effort and change venues for the grand distance of 2 blocks for a drink.
In the early evening we made our way on the RER to Perreaux to meet again with our friends Philippe and Emilie, sharing pizza and chatting before finally crashing for the night.
With only days of the trip left up our sleeve we made the most of our time in Paris. Starting at the Moulin Rouge we bought tickets for the evening show and shopped like crazy for hours, and hours, and hours (not to mention Steve's addition... HOURS). With a short hissy fit stop at Sacre Coeur only minutes into the shopping marathon Camilla was finally relieved to end in Zara. After months of daydreaming, window shopping and an occassional glance inside we made some much needed clothing replacement decisions.
Our shopping trip was not complete as Camilla made it clear she would be remaining behind unless a suitable birthday present for Mum was found. The shopping (and sightseeing) continued with visits to old favourites including a stroll outside the Louvre, visit to Place de Concorde, shopping up the entire length of the Champs Elysee before a second Steve style shopping related hissy fit completed the shopping day.
Back in the Pigalle district with all the red lights we entered the Moulin Rouge to find a full house buzzing with anticipation. The show was full of energy and a real feast for the eyes and ears with wonderful costumes (many of which were very small), feathers everywhere, a balancing duo, comedian juggler / drummer, ventriloquist, swimming pool complete with 3 m long pythons and half naked bather, song, dance and our first bottle of real French champagne for the trip.
Still in search of the perfect present we commenced our day with a walk through the Jardin du Luxembourg where we stopped for a goats cheese sandwich we continued towards Montparnasse via every boutique store along the way. Finally, we came across just the right gift... it's a suprise.
Under the Eiffel tower we finished the rest of the cheese before ending up in a little typical cafe / bar / brasserie for dinner. Waiting for the sun to set we emerged later for a final view of the Eiffel Tower at night. Underneath the structure is a huge rugby ball and thousands of fans watching the opening ceremony via big screens filling the air with intermittant cheers and crys.
Saying farewell to the icon we walked to the Arc de Triumphe for a look at night then finally retired from being a tourist for the day.
Catching the train in with Emilie we parted ways at Nation station and headed to the Saturday markets under the Eiffel Tower. What a great display of colour with all the fresh food, clothing, flowers and jewellery on such a sunny morning. Setting ourselves up in the gardens around Hotel de Invalide we ate fresh roasted ham and chicken before walking across the stunning Alexander III bridge, via the souvenir stores outside the Louvre then onto the pond at Jardin du Luxembourg to meet Emilie. Children were playing with hired sailing boats in the larger ponds around town and pushing them off the walls with long wooden sticks. Of course it was difficult to resist but due to a lack of time it will have to wait until next visit.
We returned to Perreaux with Emilie to meet Philippe and have an aparatif before returning to St Germain des Prix for our final evening meal together. Munching through confit of duck, marine salad and roasted bass fish we had a wonderful night in an extremely busy restaurant tucked away in a covered alleyway. The vibrance and life around eating out in Paris is so evident when you can find these little gems and share them with friends.
Today we were all going to be tourists. Philippe and Emilie were our guides and selected Fountainbleau Forest for a picnic lunch. Stocking up on supplies of cheese (6 varieties), baguette and fruit we headed to Barbizon village for a quick visit before eating. Coincidently the art focussed village was holding a street fair with traditional folk music, sculpture, clay turning and glass blowing exhibits and taste testing of local cuisine. Deep into the forest we cleared a space between the rocks and settled into a couple of hours of eating, making bridges out of fallen branches and generally having a great day out.
After lunch we visited the grounds of Fontainbleau Palace, a truly immaculate estate then returned for an eveing of playing Nintendo WII and laughing into the night. We will miss our friends and hope to either return or see them in Australia soon.