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Chris & Lindee see the world


FRANCE | Tuesday, 3 January 2017 | Views [230]

We sped through the French countryside in our first class TGV carriage on Friday 30 December. Not much to see as the landscape was blanketed in a thick fog. Our arrival into Paris had us there in good time to meet our airbnb hostess, Victoria, in her lovely studio apartment in the 7th arrondissement. We chose this spot particularly for the proximity to (and view of) the Eiffel Tower. The fog remained so thick for most of our stay that the top of the tower was continuously shrouded. We did still get to see her sparkle most nights though. 

My sickness had us holed up in our apartment for most of the weekend. It was also one of the coldest Paris weekends of the winter with temperatures not lifting above about minus 1 each day. Sooooo cold!

New Years Day was also terribly cold & we managed to stay warm inside again. In the evening, however, we had our big night out. Our much anticipated dinner and show at the famous Moulin Rouge. What a truly memorable experience! Our seats were so close to the stage it felt as though by the end of the evening we had just about danced every step with the performers. Wow! The tour company that our evening had been booked with provided transport back to our accommodation. We were the only ones heading back to the 7th and had our very own double decker bus all the way!

Monday we made use of our Big Bus ticket. It was a good way to stay warm and dry while exploring the city. It also got us across town to visit Sacre Coeur and view the city from on high. Then a chance to stop at Gare de Nord to purchase our train tickets through Belgium and on to London. We had a lovely lady look after us who spoke very good English and managed to find us a pretty good deal for Eurostar.

Big Bus continued with us hopping off to visit Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter. Then a walk along the Seine back to our apartment.

We decided to book a tour to get us out to Versailles on Tuesday morning. Nice to be able to gain priority access with our guide and then be able to explore Louis & Marie Antoinette's final country home on our own. An incredible history of the extravagant lifestyle of a renowned trio of kings. Spectacular paintings, gilding on every surface and the expansive mist filled gardens. Wow! When we returned in to the city we utilised day 2 of our Big Bus pass and our included Seine River cruise to watch the lights come on all over.

Wednesday dawned not quite so cold (and I was feeling much better) and our plan was to walk as much as possible. Musee d'Orsay and the Impressionists were the order of the day. And they didn't disappoint. Monet, Manet, Gauguin, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, and many more including, I think, my new favourite, Sisley. I loved it! After walking back to our apartment through the narrow, cobbled streets of the 7th and stopping for a short break we headed off for our Priority Access tour of the Eiffel Tower. Arriving on the 2nd floor we jumped at the chance to head to the summit before the weather closed in (the summit had been closed over the weekend due to ice). At the top we ticked that bucket list again and shared a champagne in the wind and rain. Quite an experience!

On Thursday morning we said goodbye to Paris and headed in the direction of Belgium on the high speed (up to 300km) Thalys train.

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