The loveliness of Paris…

…Seems somehow sad and grey.

For our 25th I booked a surprise weekend to Paris.  When we got to Ashford She was surprised by the Cooler bag.  "It’s for breakfast, of course."

On the Eurostar I started to unpack.  First the tuppaware cup half full of water with the two roses I had picked at dawn.  Then the pan au chocolat.  "Do you feel like a fruity tart?  I know I do."  Two fresh fruit patisseries.  Two cut glasses, for the chilled bottle of Bucks Fizz, of course.  Double bonus points for making the women opposite jealous of such a romantic.  No matter what I do for the rest of the day, I will be on top of the high score table for this.

We drop the suitcases off at the hotel.  The fittings are tatty and the room tiny.  I wonder if we got a discount for renting by the day rather than the hour.  But the place is clean and the staff very friendly.  Then we hit the Isle de la cite – Notre Dame, imposing and huge – Sainte Chappelle, an amazing church whose roof appears to be supported purely by stained glass – The Conciergerie, a bit of a dissappointment, really.  Then back to the hotel for a quick change and off to dinner.

I had booked dinner on a boat.  Very nice food and wine, and all the time we were going up and down the Seine, seeing Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, The Statue of Liberte, and all the magnificent buildings.  At some point my score hit all the 9’s, a max score for the first time in my life, and still the bell keeps chiming.

As we sit outside a cafe sipping beer, watching the evening sun on the towers of Notre Dame I go for it.  "As I have made such an effort, and seeing it is 25 years, and you love me so much, can I ask you to do something special for me when we get back to out room?"

"What?"

"Massage my feet.  My plates are killing me."

Saturday we do the Louvre.  It is big.  I mean, big.  B – I – G.  If you jogged around it it would take 4 days to see every painting.

From the Louvre you can see the Arc de Triomphe along the Champs Elysee.  So we walk there.  And walk.  And walk.  We stop off at a cafe a couple of times.  We grab a bite to eat.  It is pigging miles.  Worth it though.  We climb to the top of the arch and there is Paris spread below us.

Afterwards we walk down to the river, sip another beer at a cafe, then start to walk along the river.

My feet are screaming at me.  We decide to catch the metro back.  She is tired, as the constant police sirens in our part of Paris kept Her awake last night.  As I step off the metro I realise my phone has been stolen.  I can pinpoint the exact moment it happened, the technique they used.

She finds it funny.  It’s only a cheap phone with all of 11 pence credit on it.

But it’s not the phone.  I feel sick inside, violated, angry that someone could just take what they wanted from me and I could do nothing about it. 

That evening we decided to go for a walk near the hotel.  After five minutes She wants to go back.  This part of Paris is not meant for romantic walks.  We find a cafe to have a small meal in.  Back at the hotel it is full of American kids.  They shout and call to each other till gone midnight.  The rooms are sound-proof, but apparantly not American Youth proof.  They leave at 7:30.  We know this because of the noise from 6:30 till 7:30.

Sunday morning we go for a last walk through the gardens at the Louvre, and then by the Seine to la cite.  We spoil ourselves with a genuine Parisienne patiserrie.  Home to find the house hasn’t burnt down in our absence.

Would I go back?  It’s good to have the tick in the box, been there, done that.  Parisiennes were not at all surly as their reputation suggests.  But Paris is expensive, there is dog crap everywhere and the theft of my phone has dampened it somewhat.  So probably not.  But I am looking forward to Montpellier next week.  All the good bits of France combined with Mediterranian lifestyle.

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About snodlander
Snodlander is the nom de plume of Bob Simms. He is an IT trainer, but it's not as glamourous as it sounds. When he's not enthralling classes with adventures through SQL Server, he writes, draws and drinks his own home-brew. Buy his novel on Amazon Kindle at The Young Demon Keeper, It's 74p, for crying out loud!

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