Thursday, September 27, 2012

En famille à Paris

Apologies, I've been quite a bit quieter on the blogging front this month than last. Mostly because a lot of what I've been up to lately hasn't involved having to change out of my PJs - after staying in my PJs all day on Tuesday, I hurriedly got dressed while watching the TV & only realised when I was outside that I had my dress on inside-out, oops! Luckily I was only going around the corner to help a friend practice for an oral presentation in English (and boy, does she need the help!). Partly because I went out a few too many times last week (Wednesday, Thursday, all day Friday in Paris and an all-nighter on Saturday, oops), which left me with a bit of a cold this week.

Tonight I'm supposed to be going to a pub to celebrate Guinness Day, which is totally made up & I don't like Guinness, but whatever. The main problem is, it being the end of the month, I'm as poor as a whole church full of mice (why are churchmice so poor anyway? Body of Christ not filling enough for 'em?). I have a cunning solution for this on Saturday though: Step 1: lure people around to my place with the promise of homemade hummus and carrot sticks (who could resist?), Step 2: ???, Step 3: profit! (by drinking the wine they bring me, muhaha). ((PS Not really, I'll let them have some of my wine too, I'm not evil.)

Anyway, one super fandaddydocious thing that I have done lately is a daytrip to Paris! My Uncle Jack-John-Jackie-John-Jack (so called by me because we have entirely too many Johns in our family and because everybody seems to call him a different variant of "John"), his daughter Jacqueline (my cousin, although I call her Auntie because she's old enough to be my mother - in fact her kids are older than me) and HER daughter Vanessa (first cousin once removed) are doing a bit of a tour of Europe right now & it was their last day in Paris. Ness lives in London, but I hadn't seen the other two since I left NZ three years ago, so it was a great opportunity to catch up.

Typically, since I suck at all things Paris, I got lost on the way from the metro to their hotel, literally just around the corner in Saint-Germain, but I went the total wrong way. Still, at this time it was beautiful and sunny, and I got lost next to a lovely church (Saint Sulpice). In fact, I think I've never even been in the Saint-Germain neighbourhood before (you may recall that I tried to find the St G-d-P church the last time I was in Paris, without success). I must say, Paris is starting to grow on me a little bit, as I realise how many things there still are to see and do, despite the fact that I must have been there a dozen times (short trips).

Saint-Sulpice

Fountain in front of Saint-Sulpice
Once I found their hotel (very classy, and great location), we decided to take a metro to Clemenceau-Champs-Elysées and then walk up to the Arc de Triomphe. By the way, Ness had awesome Paris navigational abilities, while I bumbled about saying silly things like we were going the wrong way when she wanted to get on the RER to go there (she was right, but I have an instinctive/stupid horror of the RER and would never voluntarily get on one other than to go somewhere like the airport. This one was actually quite nice though) and having no clue where we were when we came out of the metro station, and then almost getting hit by a car while asking a cop where to go. It's always a bit embarrassing, because people seem to expect that Paris=France and I will have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the best hotels/restaurants/itineraries etc., whereas I am in fact a Complete Womble.

I have seen the Arc de Triomphe before, years ago, but it was nice checking it out in the company of Uncle J, because he particularly wanted to see it as he remembered watching footage of German troops on the Champs-Elysées and Hitler visiting the Arc when he was a kid (Uncle J, not Hitler). It's always kind of mindblowing to remember that there are still people around with a connection to these historical events. I asked him what the war had been like for him in Liverpool - I didn't realise that there was a lot of bombing up there, I tend to just think of the Blitz in the south - but he told me that, while he lived a bit out of the city and so wasn't really affected (other than hearing the raids and going into bomb shelters etc.), he had an aunt living in the city, and he'd cycle in after every air raid to make sure she was still alive.

Awesome photo - you can neither see us properly nor tell we're at the Arc de Triomphe!

As you can see, the brilliant sunshine gave way to cloud while we were at the Arc, and it started raining as we headed back down the Champs-Elysées, so we decided to head into a brasserie for lunch. I normally wouldn't eat somewhere like the C-E, due to a general suspicion that places on notorious tourist spots like that tend to charge a lot and not try very hard, but in fact the food was quite nice. More importantly, we had a leisurely lunch (and half a bottle of rosé each for me and Ness) and just got to chill out, chat and people-watch for a couple of hours.

And I had frog's legs! For the third time in my life, so not a great novelty, but they are yummy.
After that, the rain had stopped, so we took the metro to the Louvre, got out, and walked back to the hotel, where they checked out & we took a taxi to Gare du Nord for their train.

Another not-very-good photo, but here we are at the Louvre
Me and Ness saying goodbye at Gard du Nord. Standing next to an ex-model, current personal trainer does nothing for a girl, I tells ya!
And after that, I headed for a much-anticipated meeting with one of my favourite blogging ladies (stay tuned, that's on the next exciting episode of Where in the World is Gwannel Sandiego)!

15 comments:

  1. Yay a new blog!

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  2. Loved this post, as I hadn't had an account of the meeting with the fam! It was quite a surprise that you didn't realise about the bombing. I thought you knew that my mum and older brothers and sisters had to be evacuated out of Liverpool city! Mum xxx

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    1. No, I did know they were evacuated, I suppose I didn't really think about it being because of actual bombing...

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  3. Love the fact you are luring in with home-made hummus :) I reckon you could go mad and provide a hearty home-made soup and bread rolls too...then drink that wine!

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    1. I do a good minestrone and chicken soup (two separate soups, just in case). I'll bear that in mind if I ever need to lure you somewhere ;)

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  4. That's a good plan to get your buzz on early, have people "pre-game" at your place and then head out. Maybe bring the carrots and hummus to the bar and exchange munchies for brewskies?

    Does Tours have Picard? That's always a cheap solution to provide food for friends, and then you can say you're cooking because it has to be heated up. Aren't we such sneaky gals? ; )

    Great photos! I really do hope that you weren't too chilly in the dress!

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    1. We do have a Picard, yum yum! Hopefully won't go out, although there might be a change of plan anyway cos a friend's invited us to her choir recital, we'll see.

      Nah, I'm hot-blooded, check it and see. :)

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  5. Enjoyed reading your Paris post - look forward to the next! Cheers.

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    1. Thanks! I'll have to get on to writing it then!

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  6. We had a carrot party once. We got gate craashed by 3 donkeys, 4 rabbits and a hare!

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    1. Oh-oh, I'll watch out for that! They might have trouble getting up my stairs, the donkeys at least...

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  7. So I've been staying tuned and haven't seen the next exciting installment! Please hurry because I've bitten my fingernails down to the quick in anticipation! ;) Hmmm, momentarily distracted while googling "down to the quick". It's an interesting turn of phrase, isn't it?

    I'm happy to hear that Paris is starting to grow on you!

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    1. Oops, can't have that! There's a new post just for you!

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    2. Thank you! As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

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