I’m falling behind again in this blog- I completely neglected to write anything in France, and it’s only now as I sit on a Japanese train that I’m even thinking about it! It still hasn’t really set in that I’ve left Europe- or that I’ll be home in less than 3 weeks, on that I’m about to see Emma and Ally, or that I’m in Japan…
ANYWAY: Paris was brilliant! I really see why so many people really love that city. Although maybe it was just France I loved in general, who knows. My entire knowledge of Paris comes from Imi and movies, and of course from Madeline. Walking around the city it was just how I expected, except that there is no flag on the top of the Eiffel tower- Madeline lied to me about that one. And despite what everyone says about Parisians, I found that no one was that terrible or particularly rude. I thought Parisians were more like the Germans, just not overly friendly. Either way it was such a grand city to walk around in, with the very manicured lawns and old buildings. I really noticed how well kept all the gardens were, all the branches of the trees were clipped and the hedges all had perfectly straight edges.
I’ve never really ‘got’ French food before (in that I’ve never been like ‘OMG I love it’). But it must be said that we ate VERY well in France, I can also see why the French tend to be wine snobs- French wine is very tasty indeed. I even quite enjoy reds these days. But anyway back to the food, it is all quite fatty, and I still haven’t been sold on paté (or duck actually), I am however far more fond of lamb and pork these days, and I’ve found myself quite enjoying the stinky French cheeses. On my first day I went to the Christmas markets and bought some churros- not realising that I would get 9 of them all to myself! Needless to say, after such a heavy snack I was in the mood for a nice, cleansing salad and that’s what I ordered for dinner. At least that’s what I thought before my salad arrived and it was more like a cheese plate with a lettuce garnish! Delicious though :D
It was great to meet up with mum and graham again, and to be staying with an old friend of mum’s- it’s always weird to meet people who have known her long before Ellie and I were born. It makes me wonder what my relationship with the girls will be in 25-30 years. If one day my children will be spending a week in Berlin with their Aunty Imogen :P.
Anyway, for my first day in Paris I went to the Lourve with two country boys from Gympea who were also staying with Galenya at the time. My oh my that place is HUGE. It’s just as everybody tells it, you can get lost in that place. It’s free the first Sunday of every month (as are most museums in paris- HOT TRAVEL TIP), which I’m actually very glad of because I would have been disappointed if I’d had to pay. Of course there was tons of really amazing things in there but when it’s that large and crowded it’s a bit too overwhelming. It wasn’t long before I was suffering from art fatigue. Plus, I prefer more variety in my art galleries- I know it spans millennia, having all the ancient Egyptian, Greek and roman stuff, but there’s only so much ancient things I can take in. I much preferred the Musee d’Orsay. I visited there a few days later, although both of them were just absolutely gorgeous buildings. Either way in the d’Orsay there were Van Gogh’s, Monet’s, Manet’s, Cezanne’s, Le Trac’s- Much more the style of art I’m in to, and they had some interesting ancient type things as well. If you’re going to see one museum in Paris I’d pick the d’Orsay (and I recomond stopping to check out the view out the old clocks).
I managed to make it up to the eiffal tower too! On mum’s last night Galenya took us for a drive around tour of Paris’s main tourist attractions, so we drove through the Lourve, down the Champs Elysees (supposedly Europe’s most beautiful street), around the Arc d’Triomph and to the tour Eiffal. When we got there we managed to nab a parking space right out the front so we hopped out to look around. After much photo taking we happened to notice the non-existent queue to go up the tower and jumped on the last elevator up to the top. It was good fun, and Pairs at night is a really beautiful city. I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t get to live my childhood dream of climbing up (I always had it in my head that I would want to climb the Eiffal tower), but there was no convincing mum and Galenya at midnight to climb 1,003 stairs :S and even if I could the top was closed that late at night as well.
Anyway so France was actually pretty great- despite what everyone says about Paris being a massive tourist trap I managed to thoroughly enjoy myself and found it to be a fun and charming city- one I’ll definitely head back to when I get the chance :D
But I’ve been in Japan for 2 and a half weeks now, so all this France stuff feels like it was a lifetime ago! I’ll put in an entry about Japan soon too (although realistically it won’t be up until I’ve already come home). Can’t believe I’ve only got 3 days left :O!!!