THE CITY OF LIGHTS
23.04.2012 13 °C
So much is said about Paris and we now now that it's all true. YES, Paris is that beautiful, YES the sights are that grand and YES it is that romantic. Something else is clear, Paris is the perfect place to start our honeymoon.
We arrived on Friday, opened the shutters of our room to see the Eiffel Tower rising over the rooftops of arrondissement 7. The tower hence was our natural first stop and when you turn the corner, there she is - you know you've arrived in France. We took the opportunity to walk up the first two sections, were able to take in all the major sights and get a sense of how Paris is put together. A rickety lift to the open air observation deck at the very top is one of those experiences that you don't forget.
From the tower, we walked passed the Palais de Chaillot up to the Arc de Triomphe and down des Champ-Elysees where it was about time to get into French cuisine. Our first foray was a success - sitting in a tightly packed bistro with the Arc in the background we had escargot and a classic french onion soup with baked gruyere cheese on top with a lovely bordeaux. This gave us the kick start for some shopping and stroll down to the Place de la Concorde and the peaceful Jardin des Tuileries. People of all ages hang out here in reclined chairs and catch up on the day over-looking the various ponds and gardens.
As our day was coming to a close, we got the Metro across to the Bastille. History buffs will know the significance of this area, but now it's all about pocket bars and eateries. We chose a little locally recommended place to enjoy more French faire and bordeaux. Our evening walk took us by the Siene to the Islands where we could see the best of Paris at night. Waking by Notre Dame and its gargoyles, we heading home and collapsed after our first full day.
Breakfast in Paris is simple & perfect - coissant, baguette & jam with coffee. Today is our day of culture and we start at the Louvre to be blown away by the shear size of the place. We navigate through to catch the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and countless other masterpieces, including a whole room of roman emperors just for me. For lunch, we got a tip that the top restaurants which are usually impossible to get into offer very reasonable lunch menus. We found a Michelin star restaurant with an interesting set menu - French fusion on the edge I think. It gave me the opportunity to taste really good Foie Gras so another tick on the cullinary list.
The afternoon was spent at the Musee d'Osay which is a bombardment of classics from the impressionist and art nouveau movements. We're not art experts but it's nice to spend time with some recongnised pieces and works that just look good without your having to study it. The art and the building itself was amazing. A siesta, another local restaurant (steak tartare - tick) and an evening stroll close out another perfect Paris day.
Yesterday, we want out to the Chateau de Versailles to experience one of the world most extravigant expressions of wealth and power. Size, gold lining and ebriodery are the key elements of the Chateau and the gardens equal it for scale and design. Sitting in the garden by a fountain and listening to soft classical music was the highlight. Another siesta, a wander down the Canal St Martin and a hideaway brasserie filled the evening before our 11pm slot at the Moulin Rouge. This late night show had a bit of everything - flesh, dancing, acrobats, modern disco, ballads and of course the can can. All enjoyed with a bottle of french champagne. Spectacular, spectacular.