Back from Paris, and it was good!

As with my return from Madrid in December last year, I dumped my bags in my room, and headed straight for the computer room. (Oh, I stopped for a minute to swear at my Dali poster, which had fallen down yet again some time while I was away. I guess Blu-Tack really isn’t as persistent as memory.)

But back to Paris, which was good. Random thoughts follow.

I should probably try not to tell my mother that we stayed smack in the middle of the friendly neighbourhood sex shop street. But it was a good hotel – clean room, TV, great location, and all for 240 francs a night for a double, though we had to pay 15 francs for showering. It’s Hotel de la Vallee, for anyone who’s planning a trip to Paris and doesn’t mind a little sleaze.

Time Out decided to take their guide to Paris off the shelves just before we went guide-book shopping, and put it back on the shelves very soon before we left Paris. Le Petit Vatel, a cheapie but highly-rated restaurant we were keen on trying, also decided to take a month off and re-open the day after our Monday night quest. Gah.

I haven’t figured out whether any of our Paris walks surpassed our previous best of 25 kilometres in a day (Brick Lane, Liverpool Street, the financial district, South Bank, Covent Garden, Chinatown, and home to Ramsay Hall off Tottenham Court Road, all done on a summer Saturday in 2000) Thank you, Acupuncture. You make good shoes.

Walking achievements in Paris:
Saturday: La Defense –> Arc de Triomphe –> Eiffel Tower –> St Germain –> our hotel (Rue St Denis, near Chatelet Les Halles)
Sunday: hotel –> Notre Dame –> the other island –> Sacre-Couer –> all the way back to the hotel
Monday: hotel –> the Louvre, a marathon in itself –> Champs Elysees –> metro to St Germain –> wandering in search of food –> dinner at Polidor –> hotel

We went ice-skating outside the Hotel de Ville. My right thigh still aches slightly from my fall. People laughed, either due to my good imitation of an ice-hockey puck, or from the very loud “Oh, FUUUUUUCK!” I let out along the way. Either way, I agree it was probably funny.

The Louvre: beautiful, but exhausting. Our first real glimpse of it was on the way home from Montmartre on Sunday night. I lay down on the edge of the
fountain, near the lighted pyramid and looked up at the sky. It was one of those moments of tranquility that’s almost cliched in its sheer bliss. We spent about five and a half hours inside the museum the next day. I feel like I didn’t even come close to doing it justice. I bought postcards of Liberty Leading The People (Delacroix), and the descriptively titled Young Man Sitting Naked Beside The Sea (Flandrin)>. I did not buy postcards of the Mona Lisa or Venus de Milo, or contribute to the epilepsy-inducing flash photography in their general vicinity. I did, however, take pictures of the people looking at them. Go figure. Overall verdict: Loved the Louvre.

Typical holiday morning conversation:
(mobile phone alarms go off at 9 am)
Me: Russ, wake up.
Russ: I’m awake.
Me: Well, get out of bed then.
Russ: You get out of bed then.
Me: I can’t. If you get out and keep nagging me, then I’ll manage to wake up.
Russ: I can get out of bed, but I’m not going to until you do.
(etc. etc.)

This is why we generally didn’t get out of the hotel till noonish every day…

All in all, a good holiday. :)