Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rugby Ball


Here is the rugby ball we were talking about. The photo is a bit dark but this is looking straight up from underneath.

And here is the screen.


PS the tower hasn't fallen over, we forgot to flip the photo before uploading! Mum x

Getting High in Paris

Today we got high in Paris. We went to the 2 highest points in town. Sacre Cour Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower.

Started in the morning with our first go on the Metro. Very good service at 3 minute intervals. The Cathedral is on the highest hill in Paris and the Montmatre area surrounding it is renowned for artisans. As usual Kate found some shops, fabric shops this time. Yes the virus worked through her system quickly, as expected!

The streets were a lot steeper in this area, and we found some of those famous, well photographed stair cases. We took the stairs which were quite deserted, and made our way through the gardens. One more turn in the lovely, quiet gardens, and voila, there it was with all her crowds!

A lovely atmosphere with musicians busking and a lovely mime artist. We made our way through the crowds,and entered the magnificent structure. It was like entering a vortex, everybody moving in the same direction and dragging you along with them. We were able to pause in some pews at the end of our visit, and took in the austere environment, right under the magnificent dome.

This was not the end of our relationship with this mighty structure. The crypt was inviting us within. Thinking a crypt lye under the church, i (Kate), thought it might be an interesting visit. Whilst buying our tickets at the machine, the American lady asked of the people ahead "Are there a whole bunch of stairs?" "Yes" came the reply from above. Well, the crypt was not beneath the church, but we were in fact climbing the stairs to the very TOP! And yes, we found out that there were a whole bunch of stairs - about 369 of them!

We had our picnic lunch and wondered from the roof tops where we might have it. The sun was coming out, and we wanted to get some good shots of the Eiffel Tower, so decided to have our lunch up on top of Sacre Cour - cheese and sacramental wine! Comments from other tourists were "Wish we'd thought of that!", and I heard another lady say to her male partner "Come on we've seen everything", to which the reply came, "No we haven't - we haven't seen this lady's cheese!". I wonder if they might try that some other time. Spent well over 1 hour on top and had a few minutes totally to ourselves which was a buzz. I (Kate) was a bit worried that they had closed up shop and left us stranded up there!

After that we wandered through the streets and got some sketches of us and of the district.

Then a quick stop back at the ranch to unload the backpack. Tonight we travel light. Headed off for the Eiffel Tower at 7pm. Made it to the top at 945pm. Long lines but the reason there are lines is because everyone knows that it is worth the wait. A dizzying elevator ride amongst arguably the most fantastic and spectacular truss structure on the planet is a civil engineers dream. I have done this ride 20 years ago but to share this with one's soul mate is magic.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Question Time

Q. Was the doggy poo story not printable?

A. Yes, but I was too tired to write about it and there were so many other wonderful things to tell you. The fact is that most business people here seem to have a long lunch. The cafes and Brasseries are very busy between 12 and 2 pm. Anyway, a lot of them also go home to take their dogs out to relieve themselves. We haven't seen too much poo around on the pavements, but in one street today, there were poos under about 15 trees in a row! When we went back in that area to have one of the world famous "Berthillon" ice-creams, which incidently, were very nice, The doggy poo street had a police line. Maybe they were booking the "Doggy Poo Bandit"!

Q. Did we have lunch with Quasimodo?

A. No our weary legs would just simply not have taken us up those stairs!

Q. How is Mitch's toe?

Q. Are the dogs behaving themselves?

Hump Day

Today was hump day. At the end of the day we now have less time left in Paris than we have spent in Paris. We are over the hump.

The day started with some washing of underwear. Thanks Dud for supplying us with the travelling washline! Luckily there is a blow heater here, as there isn't anywhere to dry our clothes.

After completing that chore, we headed off in the direction of the island where Notre Dame Cathedral is situated. Dave foolishly told me that he had read there was a shopping mall along the way, and of course I did not refuse the offer. I found a store that had a clearance sale of summer stock, and found 3 garments to squash into our suitcase. I was starting to get sick of shopping, so we made a quick getaway to find the famous church and it's gargoyles.

The islands were not far away from the shopping centre, so it did not take long to find ourselves in what must be an exclusive residential area of Paris. The buildings are magnificent and the little park we came across was "tres jolie"! We have become accustomed to finding a surprise around every corner!

One street away from this gorgeous, deserted park, we found this:Some of you may recognise it as "Notre Dame". This would have to be the busiest place we have visited so far. More tourists here than flies around freshly laid dog poo! (THAT IS ANOTHER STORY!) The interior of the magnificent place is just wonderful. The stained glass windows are a treat to look at. This picture is a small token of the beauty within.
It is getting late now so I (DB) will fill in the rest of the story.

From there we left the crowds and cheap souvenir shops (after buying an umbrella) to walk through the other island and then into the Latin quater. As we were having lunch the rain got quite heavy (see below) but we were cosy in a Brasserie and ordered an extra couple of beers to ride out the storm. Afterwards found a very cosmopolitan enclave that we will try and explore further when we get a chance. The Poms are out in force with a rugby match in Paris. The always seem to congregate in an english style pub, never a cafe, brasserie or bar.This evening after changing into dry socks it was time to visit the Louvre which opens late on Friday. And of course all roads and signs through this huge building lead to one painting, the most famous of all paintings.

As Mr Bean would say, 'nice frame!'

The crowd was not too bad and there was virtually no wait to get in. So much to see but so little time. Not being a big art lover 3 hours was plenty. The DaVinci code lives.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Les Grandes Magasins

Last night we wandered down past the posh Hotel de Louvre to a set of restaurants that we walked past in the afternoon. It was quite good food at a good rate of E20 for a steak. The entire wine list was over E20 per bottle but the one we had was quite good at E22. It was full of tourists with accents we recognized from Oz, Japan, UK, and Holland. The Pom on the next table somehow managed to get his mozzarella wrapped around his specs as it went from the plate to his mouth! The Dutch were in fits of laughter.

After dinner we strolled past the Louvre and onto a bridge over the Seine to get a feel for Paris at night. The buildings are set to light with typical french style.

Today saw us off to the shops! We strolled up the Rue de la Opera to find the famous "Galeries Lafayette". We overshot the street we needed, but stumbled upon one department store called "Printemps". Dave recalled reading about a panoramic viewing platform at the top of the building, so we decided to enter the premises. The store reminded me of Myer in Melbourne, where the cosmetic counters seem to go forever! No time to stop in this section, as it was some new clothes I was after! After strolling through two floors of womens clothing, Dave decided to park himself on a chair whilst I kept perusing. Did not buy anything here.

We then decided to make our way to the viewing platform.

The view just took our breaths away. There were only a handful of people up here, so I think this must be one of the secret tourist destinations. I would recommend this place to anyone coming to Paris!

View from the 9th floor rooftop cafe of Printemps, an upmarket department store. It was a grey day as you can see from the photo. The sun came out in the arvo but at least it didn't rain.

Picnic lunch in the 9th Arrondisement.

After our lunch, more shopping was in order, so we decided to find "Galeries Lafayette".

Well, if you think David Jones, Melbourne is wonderful, you need to check this out! No words can desribe the amazing decor!

In The Galleries Lafayette there is this magnificent dome designed by Gustave Eiffel, the same guy who apparently built a well known tower somewhere.

After a hard days shopping, the bounty has to be lugged home. I think we spent more money on Dave than me today! He has some really Nice gear.

Tonight we are off to a dinner cruise along the Seine. It is meant to be spectacular. Given what we have seen of this city so far I have no doubt it will be memorable.

Note: This was written by both Dave and Kate, so the "I" could be either of us! See if you can guess who!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Marais exploration

Today started with Moet for brekky as we had half a bottle left from last night and of course we forgot to pack one of the essentials, a champagne stopper. Funny how it was not on the extensive 3 page list of things to pack that we downloaded off the net. Hit the streets at about 10:30. Not like us to get an early start, especially after broken sleep due to jet lag, city noise and bin truck morning.

A picture of our street Rue Moliere on the right. Mr Moliere was famous for something. I will google it when I have a minute. We had decided to explore to the east and walk to the Place de Voges in the Marais Arrondissment and have a picnic. This is the area known for a multicultural influence and full of bars and brasseries. We had looked at a few apartments to stay at in this district.

The first place we literally stumbled upon was the Royal Palace just 200m from our abode. The number of palaces and monuments is unreal. It's like everybody who was anybody (or regeme) in Paris over the last 1000 years has built something to mark his name. It is fantastic seeing all the fountains working wherever we have been. A far cry from our drought stricken Ballarat.

After lots of exploring and browsing in shops tucked into all sorts of arcades and lane ways we were in the Marais and started looking for cheese and freshly baked bread. As is common despite passing many such shops and a nice produce market, as soon as we needed the right type of shop they were nowhere to be seen. Also a toilet was nowhere to be found so we stopped at a Brasserie for lunch. To Kate's relief we got an English speaking waiter which made it easier.

I read about this lovely little garden just off the Place de Voges and it took a bit of finding but it was worth it and turned out to be a peaceful, quiet place. A bit of rain also kept the crowd down. Glad we brought our spray jackets.

On the way back we stumbled upon this church at Les Halles. Inside it is the most impressive church I have been in since the Ag Sophia mosque in Istanbul. No photos from inside in respect of the worshippers. The exterior of the church does not give away the grandeur of the interior. We almost passed by, but something told us that we needed to enter.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Well, I have had a HUGE sleep! About 14 hours!
I think that I will be able to make it past 6pm today.
Dave did a great job on the first post. (I won't call the final one the LAST POST).

This is a magnificent place, and I am not sure if I really believe I am here, except for trying to order food!

It was a huge day of walking. The staircase at the Arc de Triumph left my legs feeling like jelly. I am so glad that I am used to exercise, although that was a lot different to a Curves workout!

I hope that Dad, Dud and Mitch have had a safe journey back to Adelaide.

I will write more after today's adventure!

Our first day

G'day all Hope this gets into cyberspace. Kate is zonked out right now. A long flight but in her words 'not nearly as bad as I thought it would be'. Well I'd hate to see her after a bad long flight. Anyway she is also annoyed because we couldn't log onto the blog sight and update on our first big day in Paris. So while she sleeps at 8pm at night I reboot and wham oh we are in business.

In the middle of a long flight.

Got to our apartment at 18 Rue Moliere in Arrondisement no.1 just 5 minutes before the appointed hour of 8:40am courtesy of Malaysian Airlines and the Roissybus and some good planning on the net. Our greeter, Nazim, was a nice guy who made sure everything was set and apologised for being late. Our apartment is in a relatively quiet street smack in the middle of Paris (full report on the apartment after 1 week).

From our window, looking towards Rue de Richelieu.

Rue Moliere, looking towards the Ave de la Opera.

After a quick shower we went for an explore of the neighborhood. There is a restaurant directly across the street and a patisserie just 50m along Rue Moliere. As I found out today that is normal in Paris!
I have to say that this is just an incredible place. Everywhere you look there are fantastic buildings. I don't just mean the occasional nice old building, I mean everywhere you go in central Paris is just amazing. The only other place I have been that is comparable is New York but New York is an engineers dream. Paris is an architect's and historian's dream.
Enough about the buildings, Of course the Gardens, ie the Jardin de Tuileries, are immaculate and beautifully laid out. Keep off the grass (or it will turn to dirt, due to the crowds).

Our first view of the tower. Kate saw it first, she won.

For lunch we veered off the main strip to get amongst the locals and save a few bucks. After walking past about 100 brasseries and restaurants Kate spotted a no smoking sign and we got ourselves a table. Kate started an ordering conversation with the waitress who shot back with rapid fire colloquial french which went over our heads but we managed to get our order through. In fact the waitress provided the entertainment as she was flat chat and I think enjoyed the fact she was all action and people were watching. She did put on a good show at one stage doing a nice Tom Cruise style skid (Risky Business) as she came back in from the table area to the serving area. After lunch she swiped both our credit cards with no luck but I noticed that everyone else paid by cash so I think she just wanted the cash. Anyway she got it.

The Ave Des Champs Elysees from the Arc de Triumph.

After walking along the Champs we went up the Arch De Triumph, commissioned by Napoleon in honour of his army. Over 250 steps in a tight spiral staircase was hard work and it was a very narrow staircase (lack of planning by Napoleon for tourists) so we were just able to squeeze past those that need a rest.

On the way back from the Arch we went down the Rue St Honore, a fabulous shopping street (if you are a millionaire). Kate will fill you in later on the shopping scene for Paris. It also rained which is to be expected for 35% of the days at this time of year.
We were looking for something easy to cook for tea due to jet lag and we were after a quiet night. The Boulangeries and Patisseries are spectacular but are a dime a dozen and eventually we found a little general store and could not move due to the crowd. Got some Paella (George Costanza's Mom's favourite) and chicken.
So hope you have enjoyed my duty free enhanced rantings as much as I have enjoyed bringing them to you.
Post again soon.
Cheers DB

Monday, September 24, 2007

About to Go

Well, we are just about all packed and nearly ready to go. I look forward to sending more information when we get to Paris.