PARIS 2002

OCTOBER 24 - 26

Have you seen the latest photos from 2003?

Click Here to see photos from Paris 2001

We had planned to celebrate our 4th anniversary on British soil, due to cost of foreign travel and the amount of travelling we will be doing in the months ahead; however, a "special deals" leaflet from Air Miles inspired us to return to the romantic capital of the world, Paris. (Thank you, Tesco Air Miles).

Now seasoned travellers, we drove to Gatwick airport the night before - stopping at Arundel along the way for a delicious multi-course Chinese meal - and checked into the Europa Hotel for a few hours' sleep before our trip to the airport at 5.00 a.m. on Thursday.  
Arundel town
N Metro boy
On the Metro
 We arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport and made our way easily to our hotel by metro. We stayed at the Opera Madrid Hotel, which is situated between the Opera House and Montmartre, placing us within walking distance of most of the things we wanted to see and do.
This was the first trip that we had programmed our itinerary into our Palm Pilots, making us both super organised, high tech travellers. Nick also beamed me my bingo card - the 49 items I had to find in Paris were written on the plane journey - and I was able to delete them as they were found.
Fireman Police
  FIREMAN and POLICEMAN were both on my bingo card.

Our trip to FNAC afforded us some of our bingo items: Robbie Williams, and a Jacques Brel CD which I bought for school, plus I picked up our pre-booked tickets to the Boris Charmatz "Spectacle" we saw at the Pompidou Centre. The spectacle involved lying alone on top of a "piano" in a darkened room, a leather pillow, and a panic button. Click here to find out more!
Boris Charmatz
Wilde's tomb
Oscar Wilde's tomb
Edith Piaf
 Next stop was an autumnal walk through the blustery rain at the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, where we visited Oscar Wilde's tomb and searched in vain for the grave of Edith Piaf. Thwarted, we headed instead for the indoor Musée Edith Piaf, a two-room shrine to the 'little sparrow' which included her tiny black dress, shoes, letters, and photographs. This was a valuable excursion for me because of my planned French Valentine's Day cabaret at school that will feature Piaf songs such as La Vie en Rose. I was excited to find, later that afternoon, a small music box that plays La Vie en Rose at a gift shop. I will be able to use it to touching effect in the musical.
Our first evening was spent in my favourite area of Paris, Montmartre. We visited the Musée de L'Érotisme, which is packed with objects telling the story of eroticism through the ages. Decidedly un-seedy, the seven-storey showcase was an interesting diversion aimed at male/female relationships. Next, we passed the time drinking huge Hoegarten beers at an outdoor café on Rue des Abbesses. This is what Parisian life is all about in my opinion, and Nick and I fantasised about moving to France and living for a year just to soak up this wonderful atmosphere. After drinks, we had an excellent meal of spinach salad, wild boar casserole and steak, profiteroles, and rich chocolate mousse at Gille et Gabriel, a friendly, romantic, and authentically French bistro that was recommended by our Out Around Paris guide book. Hoegarten
Sweet, sweet beer
Sacre Coeur


After dinner, we staggered up the picturesque steps to and admired the moonlit city below us. We could see the Eiffel Tower lit in the distance and although it was late, there were still some artists sketching portraits in the little square.

We ended our first evening at the dark, atmospheric Mec Zone bar and then headed back to our room for some sleep.
The next day, Friday, started out just as rainy as the previous one, but this didn't deter us from walking down Rue Montmartre to the Marais area, where we shopped along the rue Ste-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie visiting shops with varying stocks of books, kitsch, feathers, leather, and pastry. We ate lunch at Le Open Café and then at 1.30 Nick went off to his appointment with Boris Charmatz at the Pompidou Centre. My appointment was at 2.30 and afterwards we did some more shopping in Marais, checking out the interesting video shop before going back to our hotel to change for the evening. N Pompidou
Nick outside the Pompidou Centre
G Open Cafe
Me (and innocent bystander) and the Open Café
G L'Amazonial
We had a nice dinner including Camembert fondue and appropriately flaming Calvados crepes at the rather touristy L'Amazonial (again recommended by our guidebook). After that, we headed for 'Our Bench' on the Ile Saint Louis to drink a celebrational bottle of champagne beside the Seine. We even had accordion music this year provided by an elderly man on the bridge. Full moon, no more rain, accordion music, and champagne? You bet.
Next we visited Le Quetzal bar where we got our money's worth of a 1 Euro coin by playing a Strip Solitaire video game. Despite winning the game on the very first time, the video model never did remove all of his clothes; however, we got two free games after that. Realising that we didn't have much money left, we went to our final destination for the evening, the dark and familiar Depot. Unfortunately, during our explorations of this club, Nick had his wallet stolen, but it wasn't nearly as disastrous as it could have been as he had removed all but one credit card and about 10 Euros cash before leaving the hotel. When we were leaving, Nick reported the theft at the desk and it turned out that someone had found and given in Nick's credit card, so the only thing lost was the actual wallet and a bit of cash. We walked home, relieved, and playing the 'What If' game, thinking how lucky we were that there was no passport, plane ticket, or other money in the wallet. Kiss
We saw this painted on the wall of a Marais bar.
Truffles cave
Truffles shop
This is my favourite photo. Please click on it to see larger!
Our final day was Saturday and after breakfast and packing, we headed for the luxurious gourmand area of the city to admire the beautiful window displays and to sample some of the delicacies. We saw a shop devoted to truffles and fantastic displays of autumnal fruits and vegetables. The world-famous Fauchon was similar to Harrods in its array of fine foods and we admired the rooms full of spices, teas, pastries, mustards, and chocolates.
N Fauchon
Nick outside Fauchon
Look at this fruit tart!
My favourite dessert
Tea Room}
The Tea Room at Fauchon
G Toilettes
Mosaic toilet walls in Paris
Gutter lemons
I saw these lemons lying artistically in the gutter.
We walked back to Marais through the Tuilleries gardens, basking in sunshine at long last and taking some nice photos. The Eiffel tower gleamed in the distance, and statuary everywhere was radiant in the light. We passed the Louvre and saw the beaded Metro entrance. Eiffel
The Eiffel Tower from the Tuilleries
B Tuilleries
Enjoying the sun
This statue is of Spartacus
N Metro
The Elaborate Metro entrance
This photo was taken for Joyce and Maurice, who own a sylish Westie named Bertie.
B lunch
Lunch in Marais
We carried on walking until we reached, after getting slightly lost and agitated, Rue des Archives, where we ate an excellent final meal of hamburger and chicken in a creamy sauce (served with tiny bits of lobster!). Again, we marvelled at how relaxing and cosmopolitan everything felt. The restaurant next to ours served only fresh bread, but with a huge array of spreads including chocolate, marmalades, and (object of lust) peanut butter! It's given us an idea of hosting an at-home bread and spread party, so watch this space!
 It's always sad to leave a holiday destination, but nice to get home. The blustery weather followed us back to England where we had a comfortable time indoors eating chicken soup in the warmth of the kitchen, snuggling under the covers watching Jonathan Creek mysteries and planning for our anniversary celebrations on the 28th.  


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