A Travellerspoint blog

Time to say au revoir...

Today is my last day here and I have to say I am a little sad...I think Paris is a little sad too as the weather is very grey, quite cold and overcast!!

I have had such a wonderful time and really enjoyed the city and all it has to offer...I didn't get to see everything on my list so I guess it is a good reason to come back again next year.

I figure it must be time to come home when
...the people around you who are speaking french no longer sound strange
...it seems normal to be jumping on the metro and changing platforms to get yourself around
...bonjour and au revoir seem like the only way to be polite
and an espresso and a croissant is what you want for breakfast!!!

I decided to order a shuttle to pick me up and take me to the airport as I was told a taxi may not arrive and the train takes a long time...so now I await my charriot to deliver me to Charles De Gaulle airport for the L o n g journey home!

I just brewed my last coffee and walked to the boulaingerie to get my last "real" french croissant (for now anyway) and climbed UP those 5 flights of stairs for the last time!!!

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My little apartment...
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The advantage of the stairs is you get a view...
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So many wonderful memories to take home with me and many more hours of learning about the treasures I will seek out on my next visit.

au revoir...

for now....

Posted by thewoodsies 00:20 Comments (0)

Rodin and Saint Germain des Pres

My last full day in Paris began with clouds overhead and a little rain.

Today I decided to visit the Rodin Musee and then spend the afternoon wandering around the Saint Germain district.

I arrived at the Museum about 11.30am and was dismayed to see a sign to say that due to renovation work a large part of the exhibit was closed...so to compensate they were letting everyone in for free...but of course I had already paid through my Museum pass!

I headed in and was sad that the part under renovation was a big section of the gardens...the museum has a lot of Rodin's sculptures placed throughout the gardens...but I was still able to see all my favourites and once again find a few more.

The most famous of course is "The Thinker" just amazing to see it for reall!

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They also had a smaller version inside so you could see the detail...

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There were also the "Gates of Hell" very spectacular and large...

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Not so threatening when you include the garden...

Inside there were a lot of sculptures as well as bronze casts...one of the more famous sculpures is "The Kiss". It is quite beautiful.

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The detail in some of the work is just breathtaking...

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The grounds outside were really lovely and when they finish replanting all the lawn it will be spectacular...This museum relies solely on donations to run, it gets no government monies so it has to do the upkeep when it can despite the season.

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Now versus the picture of the projected outcome for my next visit...

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The current gardens were stunning!

Off to Saint Germain des Pres

I caught the bus part of the way there and then decided to walk the rest of the way...I knew what was to come later in the evening and I knew I would have to do a workout!!!

This area is so lively and has a great vibe about it...I will probably try for an apartment closer to this area for my next stay...loads of restaurants and shopping...some very upmarket stores in amongst the typical Parisienne local scene. I specifically wanted to find Cafe Flore and when I did it was packed to the rafters ...so no coffee for me there...never mind I knew there was a treat to come...

I followed my map and eventually went the right way to find...

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One of the most famous patissieres in Paris!

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I have been told by others that a French Vanilla Slice is fantastic...so I searched one out...it is called "Mille feuille" in french...so what better place to find one to try than at Pierre Herme's!! This one was vanilla but they also had a caramel version!! I am saving it for dessert back at the apartment...my last hurrah for my last night in Paris!!!

They had the most amazing array of goodies...all absolutely stunning...they are also very famous for their macaroons of many flavours and colours!
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These were also tempting!!!
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Just on the next corner was the Saint Sulpice Church...it wasn't open to go inside but was very spectacular from the outside...

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NOW...I am home...it is dessert time!!!

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Mmmmmm...boy am I glad I have done lots of walking!!!

Posted by thewoodsies 11:47 Comments (1)

Shopping...Parisienne Style...with a touch of Modern Art

Time to go shopping!!!

The sun even came out and the rain rolled away in preparation for a big day out.
I headed out on the bus to the two big stores here in Paris...one is called Printemps and the other is Galleries Lafayette. They each have a multi-level store dedicated to Women and another for Men and another for Home and Printemps even has another for Beauty...OMG!!! Shopping heaven!

I couldn't believe seeing all the big name brands we mostly only hear about all in one department store...Dior, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton...just to name a few!! I wandered around admiring all the things on offer...most of which were out of my price range, but a girl can look! A whole floor dedicated to shoes and another for handbags and jewellry...real jewellry, Bvlgari, Tiffany etc...

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I was excited to get to the 6th floor of the Printemps main building as my cousin Tori has suggested I should treat myself to lunch in the restaurant with the beautiful dome glass roof...absolutely stunning...both the food and the decor.

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I have tried so hard to do everything in French...each time I have sat down for food I have only got the menu in French...today the waiter offered it to me in English and I folded...it was so nice to know exactly what I was ordering!!
I had the most delicious appetiser I have ever had...Tomato Tartare and creamy Buffalo Mozarella...OH yum!!!

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OH...and of course I had to have wine with lunch...just like the locals do...

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And for dessert the biggest ...best... Creme Brulee I have ever experienced!!! To die for...

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I loved every mouthful!!!

I then left Printemps to head for Galleries Lafayette...all the same kind of labels and another spectacular building and decor...

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I could get used to this!

After all that shopping I decided I needed a little sit somewhere and realised I still had my ticket for the hop-on-hop-off tourist bus...so into the open topped bus I got and headed up the Champs Elysees and to the Arc du Triomphe...the shops long the Champs Elysees are spectacular with price tags to match!

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I then hopped off because I wanted to go and see Monet's paintings, especially the water lily series at the Musee Orangerie...my book said it was open till 7pm...but to my dismay when I arrived at 5.30pm they were not letting anyone else in as it closed at 6pm!

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SO...THAT'S IT...IT IS DECIDED...I SHALL NOW HAVE TO COME BACK BECAUSE I COULDN'T GET IN THIS TIME AROUND!!!
(hahaha...knew I could find a good reason for another visit next year...)

Next...Georges Pompidou, Musee of Modern Art is open till 9pm...or so the book says...AND I have a large Creme Brulee to walk off...so off I go...just time to fit it in before closing.

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I loved the Objects d'art and the furniture...

The views from outside on the terraces were spectacular and they had some quirky sculptures outside too...

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It was then time to find my way home...so I headed underground for the Metro...I wandered in the depths of Paris for a good 15 minutes going through tunnels, up and down stairs, escalators and along travelators to find the Number 7 line to take me home...

I have to say by the time I got there at 10pm I was totally exhausted!!!

Posted by thewoodsies 13:07 Comments (2)

A very wet day in Rouen

I had a very early start to the day...I was up at 6am to get organised for a 7.15 bus to the train station on the other side of Paris.
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I was booked on an early train to Rouen(Le Havre) to meet my friends Joelle and Ian Purdie. Joelle was my Principal at Gooseberry Hill for a number of years and now runs a B&B about 40 minutes out of Rouen in the Normandy area of France. The area is predominatly a farming area with cattle, corn, canola and apple orchards for making cider.

I arrived and Joelle met me at the station...I haven't seen her for about 8 years and it was nice to see that she still looked the same...

The weather for the day was terrible!!! Very heavy rain and wind which was a little sad as it was difficult to see the beautiful countryside. We arrived at "Chez Chloe" which is a very large 3 level farmhouse down a delightful country lane in the small town of St Pierre Benouville about 90 minutes train ride from Paris. They have 3 large rooms that they rent out and have done an enormous amount of work restoring the house since they purchased it about 5 years ago. Unfortunately due to ill health and the amount of work involved to run it they have had to put it up for sale. They will still stay in the area as it is where Joelle grew up.

I have stolen some photos from their website as the weather meant there were no photos of the B&B taken today...
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After the grand tour and lots of catch up chatter I was treated to a lunch fit for royalty!! We had a traditional french lunch consisting of 5 courses and 3 different wines!!! Definitely no dinner for me tonight!!! Joelle is still a magnificent cook and lunch was amazing.

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After lunch Joelle and I braved the weather in the car and she drove me to Dieppe, which is a lovely beachside town...but unfortunately the weather got worse as we got closer to the ocean and we could only just see the beach when we arrived! There was a large ferry in the harbour and it takes cars and people over to England, it only takes about 5 hours to cross the channel....OH how lovely to be so close to so many amazing countries!

Unfortunately day visits come to an end very quickly and so did mine... it was 5pm and we were headed to the train station yet again.

It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and with a fond farewell I hopped on the train once more to head home to Paris. I have to say after a long day of travelling it was nice to eventually get back to my cozy apartment...now for some sleep so I can hit the shops of Paris in the morning!!!

Posted by thewoodsies 13:15 Comments (0)

Saturday at Le Louvre

Saturday morning dawned grey and cloudy so it seemed like a good day to head to Le Louvre to explore... I wanted to get there reasonably early to hopefully miss the crowds. I caught the bus and arrived just before 10am and walked straight in courtesy of my Paris Pass...magic! It was not yet too crowded so moving around was fairly easy. I opted out of the headsets and the guided tour to discover on my own.

WOW! The paintings and sculptures were amazing! I found all the things I wanted to see without too much trouble and found many more new favourites as well! I loved the sculptures, they were so detailed and some of them so quirky and fun...the ornate ceilings and huge paintings were inspiring. I was truly in awe of my surroundings. I wandered for 4 hours which went in a flash! You could certainly spend a whole day exploring.

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The inverted Pyramid was very cool...
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I laughed so hard when I walked through the mall to the exit when I saw a Starbucks...and Apple store...and a Virgin music store among others...kinda didn't go with all the history I had just spent my time with...
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The tour guides were so funny...the English group got to literally "follow the Flower"!! And the Americans got to follow the "Liberty torch"...a large cone shaped piece of rolled paper...Hilarious!!!!
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I exited into the not so nice weather and wandered through Jardin du Tuilleries.
There were hawkers everywhere selling "cheap" Eiffel Towers and other junk to waiting tourists!
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I headed for home...then as evening fell I headed up through Rue Moufftard to find a little Brassierie for dinner...tried their Beef Bourguignon...but I think ours was better!!!

Tomorrow I am off to Rouen for the day...

Posted by thewoodsies 13:15 Comments (1)

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