Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ponce-alot and Flatchat* we've spent a few days in Paris.

It only took us a year and a half to get there but when you're only a three-and-a-quarter hour train ride away, there's a half term break and reasonable-ish ticket and hotel deals on, the siren song finally hooks you in and lures you irrevocably towards it.

I first visited Paris as a twelve-and-a-half year old with my parents in 1981, during our whistle-stop three week driving tour of Europe in the Scottish summer holidays. How Dad managed to drive the UK-licensed Bedford van on the wrong side of the road without a GPS or chemical assistance of any kind is still an admirable mystery. 

The ultimate holiday souvenir gifted to myself was an oh-so-classy gold coated mini-Eiffel Tower sitting tastefully on top of a small bottle of green-coloured violet scent, all encased in a spray of fake flowers inside a plastic cube. I didn't open it for years as it was far too beautiful to desecrate.

The second time was in 1991 as a twenty three year old with an unforeseen Easter break. The family I was housekeeping for in London were Jewish and, at the last minute, gave me the entire weekend off. None of my friends had the cash or the time to join me, so I booked a flight (this was pre-chunnel days) and spent a rather lovely but slightly lonely time in the city of romance by myself. Couples seemed to gravitate towards me, all cuddled up, kissing, walking hand-in-hand and generally smooching their smug happiness in front of my singleton self as I sat on a park bench opposite Notre Dame eating a baguette and a bunch of grapes. I swore that next time I visited Paris it would be with the man I loved.....

The holiday souvenir was not a one night stand with Pierre de Milliardaire but a tiny watercolour of a Parisian street bought off a market stall for 10 francs, stuck on a white tile. This was proudly displayed on assorted bookshelves in various states of Australia until Love Chunks' Flemington Fireplace Flop of 2010 rendered it entirely black.

This time, twenty one years after my repeat trip, I had my husband, my child and her best friend Imogen with me.  No sleeping with my mother in the back of the Bedford as my Dad and brothers got wet in the cowboy tent or stuck in a hotel room in a freezing double bed watching Paul Hogan in the ANZACs speaking in dubbed Francaise.  No, it was a funky hotel in an arty farty neighbourhood and company aplenty. 

Sapphire and Imogen both had digital cameras at their disposal and were determined to end up with pictures that would stand the test of time, such as being bozos on the blue bus tour:

Melting mud face masks in the miniscule hotel room:

Caffeine-crazed cackle faces:

Appalling appearances at the Eiffel Tower:

Silly sugar highs at Champs Elysees:

......and toothy goofiness. 

..... I joined in, sharing their disappointment when we slogged our way from one side of Paris to the other only to find that the much-anticipated Catacombs were closed:

Still, consolation could be found in a new hat.....

.....and in adding another 'Munching in front of Monuments' pic to my growing collection.

Love Chunks reached for my hand many times. It was his first visit to Paris. "It's so beautiful," he whispered. "There's so much more for us to see, so we'll have to come back again. And again."

I squeezed his hand in return. "I always said I wanted to come back to Paris with the man I love," I said, voice filled with emotion.

"Oh well, better luck next time."

Pens shaped like baguettes, smelling a guy's nuts all the way up the Sacre Coeur (roasted almonds, you perverts) and making my migraine move on in front of the Mona Lisa were just some of the highlights.

This, however, was probably the best one:

* names of two French scientists that appear - among others - on the Eiffel Tower 


Red Nomad OZ said...

Hahaha! I've often wondered what I've missed by not (yet) ever visiting Paris!! But at least now I know I wouldn't have to change my camera technique too much!!

MedicatedMoo said...

Nope, or the way you pose :)

Anonymous said...

I have one hundred witty responses to write in my mind, but I will just say, nice post.

Wait, Pierre de Milliardaire comes up in google search, but in French! I never got past ouvre le fenetre. I'll go back and select images.

Hoges in Anzacs in French must be like we had to watch Country Practice in Vietnam.

Paris is so beautiful. Just today this arrived in my inbox.

LJP said...

"Oh well, better luck next time."
CLASSIC... way to ruin the moment!

You guys look like you're having so much fun - except for the catacombs!

Love the smell of roasting nuts in the morning!

nuttynoton said...

Looks like you had a good time, one of our favourite holidays was me with Mrs NN in paris for 4 days, very romantic and enjoyable. There is a lot to see and looks like you just scraped the surface, being so close I am sure you will go back a few times! Good post and photos, dont you just love teenagers photos!

drb said...

Hey, you didn't answer my question on your FB, "Did you kick or kiss LC after his comment?"

Glad you enjoyed your trip in Paris.

Our Paris trip was doomed from the start:
1) Walked into the Ladies in airport and it was full of men!!!!! WHY????? When the Gents next door is empty???!!!
2) Dragged the luggage in the smallest hotel lift - seriously it can only accommodate 1 person and a luggage bag or 2 people embrassing. The en suite had a big window which can't be shut onto the street with neither frosted glass or curtains.
3) Saw a gypsy trying to pick another Sinaporean's bag, so warned her in Chinese and gypsy and gang tried to turn on us.
4) Rob's mood was fouled the whole day when the Cafe on Avenue des Champs-Élysées refused to sell Rob filled baguette as it was meant for takeout and the rest (my mum, brother and I) wanted to sit down and have a coffee. Filled baguette are not allowed to be served in the Cafe!!!! You figure. Rob started to have an argument with the woman and wanted to leave but it was the only Cafe opened at that time 9am!!!!
5) Saw human or very big canine faeces littered in the back lanes. My colleagues actually stepped on some.
6) Above all, not to mention the French condescending attitude.

Rome, Venice, London, Tokyo anytime.

Pandora Behr said...

You and I have similar recollections of Paris - the first time I had the same experience, taking a flight over and spending time with a Quebecoise talking Franglais met at the hostel. The second time I went with a friend who I was ready to kill after 12 hours of being there with him.

Swore to only go back with the man I love in the future. Still to find the bloke, but LOVE the city to death. Next time try get to the Pere Lachaise cemetery and visit Oscar Wilde xx

franzy said...

Oh, Kath. I too understand the feeling of traversing Paris alone. Mele was sick in the hotel and I had to see the Eiffel Tower by myself.

I am impressed that you are still letting Sapphire wonder around - in public no less! Is the convent full or something?

No but seriously, you all look like you're having a beautiful time. Beautiful life. I've read you for years and, just quietly between you, me and the internet, you've earned it.


Elephant's Child said...

How many people would I offend if I say that Saph looks very like her mother.
Wonderful post, and I loved the one-liner to Love Chunks.
Eating in front of monuments could be/would be very addictive.

diane b said...

You certainly write travel posts with a difference. You make me feel so boring. I'm going to try your style one day in describing the "club meals" we encountered on our country trip.
Paris is a great city. It grows on you the more you visit it. Unfortunately TOH has forgotten how to be romantic.

MedicatedMoo said...

Andrew, Pierre was just a French name and 'milliardaire' was supposed to be 'billionaire.' All I got, during the 1991 trip, was a bloke with very bad teeth offering me a ride on his motorbike!

LJP, I can always rely on Love Chunks to provide the right comment at the right time. Very very early on in our relationship, I was teasing him about something and said, "Oh, I can read you like a book," but he shot back with, "I can read YOU like a factsheet."

Nuttynoton, I'd love to go back to Paris with LC on our own, but, then again, it added several more layers of hilarity with two thirteen year olds.

drb, I laughed, then squeezed his hand and *then* we kissed. Sapphire saw this and first said, "Oh yuck," and then concluded with, "Well it's kind of cute that my parents still like each other."

Pandora, I'd love to go to Pere Lachaise next time, along with a solid day in the Louvre and the catacombs.... oh and a day trip back to Versaille, Monet's garden, Loire Valley....

Thanks E-Child, but Sapphire would be horrified. To be honest, I didn't look like her at that age and LC and I often wonder just how we created such a pretty beast.

Franzy, if LC had his way, Sapphire would remain a dutiful virginal daughter until long after he departed this earth. As for me, I just hope she brings someone home who doesn't wear low slung jeans with his jocks on show and treats her very, very well. Oh and you've made me a little bit sobby and teary now with your lovely compliment.

dianeb, you'd be surprised at what 'romance' means to fellas. LC has told he me loved me at the *precise moment* I was bent double, under the sink, trying to yank out an overfilled rubbish bag from the fliptop bin. Wearing trakkie daks too, of course!

River said...

This is lovely!
Views of Paris AND some of my favourite people!
I chuckled quite a bit at Sapphire and her friend making faces and laughed out loud at love Chunks comment!

MedicatedMoo said...

Thanks River - I think I'm an easy source of comedic material for darling LC!

Hannah said...

Oh, I do so adore your family. And Paris.

MedicatedMoo said...

Thanks Hannah - we're expressive, I'll say that at least!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

I love Paris too - and it is great with Mrs PM as she speaks fluent French - as opposed to my pigeon French.

I loved the comments from Love Chunks. That's my kind of comment.

I hope he got the slap he deserved (I know Mrs PM would have slapped me!).




MedicatedMoo said...

Nah, PlasMan, LC made me laugh!

Kirstie said...

I'm still yet to visit Paris, but do dream of going there one day. I placate my urge to see the Eiffel Tower by thinking of Tokyo Tower.
I love Lovechunks's response to 'the man I love' line.

MedicatedMoo said...

Kirstie, I've never been to Tokyo tower - or anywhere in Japan, so I'm envious of you!