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Paris in the Spring - The Paranoid Android
...musings of a mechanically depressed robot...
Paris in the Spring
Lisa and Chris were here, in Blighty, for 10 days or so.  As my two previous phone posts indicate, their journey here was not as smooth or well oiled as might be.  After they arrived we headed home to dump the luggage and then, with not a moments shut-eye, they were in full tourist mode and we were on our way back into town.

We met Misty for lunch at the Cross Keys near Fenchurch Street.  After a nice pub lunch and a couple pints of warm English beer we headed off to see the sights.

We walked from Tower Bridge to Westminster - crossing the river a few times - in about 5 hours.  I'm no stranger to a long walk but I was knackered.  I may have had an early start but Lisa and Chris had been up for two days!  The about wore me out!

We ending in the St Stephens Tavern (just opposite Westminster Clock Tower) for a couple of pints of Fursty Ferret.  The glasses had logo's on them so we had to steal a couple!

We met up with Misty again and went home.

Friday was less of an early start.  We started where we'd left off from the previous evening - Westminster... well almost.  We got off the tube at St James's Park looking for meat pies... because Americans don't do meat pies!  We ended up back at the St Stephens Tavern for more Fursty Ferret and another pub meal.  Misty kept denying Chris his Fish and Chips until he'd tried our local fish shop's.  We had a quick trip in the London Eye and wandered around the London Aquarium.  We went back to St James's Park and took a walk to the Queen's house.  She was home, but did not invite us in for tea.

Saturday was Soho/Leicester Square day.  We did a little Easter Basket shopping and met Dora and Andrew for drinks in the Round House.  I then chose the best restaurant in China Town (and probably the most expensive! =O)  There was much crispy duck and black bean sauce to be had.

Sunday we rested.  Almost.  We had a quick walk(!) in the fields opposite our house, Lisa and Chris helped me build the new barbecue and I burnt meat for the first time this year.

It became more than apparent that Lisa and Chris are both fire-bugs, so we burnt some of the garden rubbish in the old barbecue.  At one point we had 12' flames and Chris was still stacking it on!  Misty and Lisa were bravely sat on the garden chairs warming themselves, whilst Chris and I had a quick exit down the garden planned.  The hose pipe was on standby in case the trees at the bottom of the garden caught!

Monday was an early start.  We had to catch the 10:05 from Waterloo to Paris!  We were hampered in our attempt by the tube train we were on breaking down.  The driver sounded like he was on crack - or had just faced Tyson in the ring.  His announcements were not helpful or informative.  We were at Mansion House early morning on a bank holiday.  I was worried.

Fate was smiling at us as we managed to hail a cab almost as soon as we got out of the station.  We arrived at Waterloo with just seconds to spare before they closed the gate.  I believe we were perhaps in the last 5 or so to get on the train.

The trip was quite uneventful, and we arrived in Paris on time.  I braved a ticket booth to get some Metro tickets in my best French (which is about none) and managed to get a pack of 10!  We found the right platform and almost got on a train.  I mean to say *I* almost got on the train and the doors closed behind me leaving the other three on the platform.  I fought with the door and managed to get out.  The doors all opened and Chris got on the train, leaving us on the platform.  Chris got off as I got on.  There was much dodging about before Misty or Lisa called for order and we waited for the next train.

We only had one stop to go and got off at Châtelet-Les Halles.  Les Halles is now a subterranean shopping mall, and the station exit we took puts you into the middle of it.  Every sign we followed (Sortie) took us nowhere or to a car park.  We ended up walking along the side of a road, underground, with very little in the way of pavement, looking for daylight.

I thought I was going to get arrested just moments after arriving and without being able to leave the damn station!

We did eventually find daylight of course, and found we were not far from where we were supposed to be.  We walked past a bunch of old guys playing boules on a nice sunny day.  We found the hotel, which looked out on the Fountain of Innocence.  It was very beautiful.

We started in Paris as we meant to go on.  We dropped off our luggage (and my jumper!) in the hotel and headed towards the tour eiffel on the Metro.  It's a bloody long way up, the Eiffel Tower, and Misty was not enjoying it at all!  It was also bloody cold!  I wish I had brought my jumper with me, the wind cut through my light jacket as if it wasn't there!

We walked back towards our hotel along the river Seine as the sun set.  It was amazingly beautiful.  Many pictures were taken in true tourist fashion!

We found a nice looking restaurant not far from our hotel (after a couple hour walk!).  Our main waiter was a real gem who didn't seem to mind at all that none of us spoke a decent word of French.  The food there was very good, and the wine he recommended was perfect for the meal.  He was a damn good waiter.

The chef was not hanging around for us night owls, which prevented Misty from having the dessert she wanted, but she seemed more than happy with the chocolate ice cream substitute!  When we had finished our meal the waiter (who seemed more and more like the owner or manager there) gave us a guided tour around the restaurant!  If I can remember the restaurant name I will recommend it to everyone!

When we got back to the hotel I watched Storm Troopers 2 in French!  I'm not sure it would have been much better if it was in English - it looked that bad.

The next morning we check out, and hit the streets.  We wandered around Notre Dame where there were a lot of inconsiderate bastards using flash photography and talking.  It's a frickin' cathedral!  Even if you are not religious in any way you should respect those that are in their place of worship.  There were also a lot of beggars hanging around the cathedral with little notes written in English asking for money.  After the third one came up to me asking if I spoke English I said no.  It seemed to confuse the hell out of her.

We wandered and Misty spent all my Euros... even after I got some more out!  We had a "bit of fun" trying to get back on the RER as there didn't seem to be anywhere open that sold tickets!  We finally found a machine that worked and found our way to the B or D line.  The train had two levels... a strange sight to me.  We sat "upstairs" just for the sheer hell of it.

We managed to arrive at Gare du Nord in plenty of time to check in and catch the train.  We found to my great dismay that we were in the child carriage!  To make sure we didn't forget it there was a screaming child.  Why they would put a party of 4 adults in the children friendly carriage I have no idea.  Chris and I got around this small problem by disappearing into the bar and staying there for the duration of the journey... leaving Misty and Lisa to it.

Yup - we're bastards.

We arrived in London just in time for Misty and Lisa to go to the Poetry Café... and for Chris and I to prop up the bar in a nearby pub.  We drank copious amounts of warm beer while watching Italian football on the TV.

The copious amounts of beer was probably not a good idea... we had an early start the following morning to get Chris and Lisa back to Gatwick.  Luckily there were no incidents on the way... and Chris slept for most of it :)

Current Location: London EC1
Current Mood: chipper chipper
Current Music: Antony & The Johnsons - Deeper Than Love

6 comments or Leave a comment
(Deleted comment)
paranoidandroid From: paranoidandroid Date: April 26th, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes you do! :p
(Deleted comment)
nuala From: nuala Date: April 26th, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, that's who you are. ;-)
(Deleted comment)
nuala From: nuala Date: April 26th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
We did a little Easter Basket shopping and met Dora and Andrew for drinks in the Round House. I then chose the best restaurant in China Town (and probably the most expensive! =O) There was much crispy duck and black bean sauce to be had.

Dude. It's the Round TABLE. Getit?
And that restaurant was the shizzle. Must go back yet again.
6 comments or Leave a comment