Aug 2010 is the month of our 20th wedding anniversary. We were together for 5 years before that, so its really our silver wedding. So we celebrated in style, with a trip to Paris, the first of our European trips, for the princely sum of 60 quid! We stayed in the Latin quarter, close to Arenes des Lutece, the roman arena. Saturday saw us on our feet for 8 hours - first to Notre Dame, then into the Congierge, which is not the nice boy at the front of the hotel, but a palace built for French kings that was then used to house prisoners just before thier appointment with the big blade, including Louis 16th, Marie-Antoinette, Danton and Robespierre. The list of 2000 who copped it included a musician - Stuart will be careful to play in a Republican style from now on.
Next was the Tuilleries quarter, past the lourve, thro the gardens to place de la concorde, the site of many of the guillotine executions in the late 18th century. Place de la C is 20 acres, the gardend much better, then lourve probably bigger still - the space in Paris is quite remarkable. Marie Antoinette was beheaded in site of her Paris appartment - how apt.
The Orangerie is in the SW corner of the Tuilleries Gardens and houses the spectacular water lillies by Claude Monet. Two rooms have been built to house the most amazing 3d effect artwork that reflects the lillies at different times of day. And downstairs there were impressionist paintings that we could get round.
It was not beer-o'clock, so we headed back home, failing miserably to get the Velib bike system working. There are many stations around Paris with lots of bikes parked there, and the idea is that you pay a few euros to use a bike for a short term trip. Great in theory, crap in practice as half of them have no pedals, brakes, air in the tyres etc.
Stuart ordered Steak Tartare, by mistake - do the French really eat a pile of raw mince??!!
Sunday was much of the same - we headed off to Gare du Nord to drop off bags, then schlepped up to Monmatre and Sacre Coeur. The cheese wire fiddle playing has to be heard to be believed - see video! After and amble thro the streets of Monmartre we ended up at the Moulin Rouge (yes, you know the tune, get those knees up). Having bought a musee passport, we went to Musee D'Orsay to be totally overwhelmed by impressionist art and Rodins. We got to the stage where we walked into a room and commented, "oh right, another 20 Renoirs..." What an amazing gallery - so rich.
The Velib machine then did its stuff and we cycled past the Louvre, up to Opera Garnier, and onto Gare du Nord, before heading back to Charles du Gaulle airport and back home to Bristol. Legs were aching, diets needed to be restarted but a wonderful weekend was had by both of us.