France - Paris & Bordeaux. Days 1-6
05.09.2010 27 °C
Paris, days 1-4
Finally! After a boring trip across the Channel that was delayed by an hour (at 4am that is not a good thing) and 40 minute stop in the middle of farm country to have a sleep, we made it to Paris.
We spent the afternoon setting up the tent, checking out our supplies, our campground and the neighbouring village, ready for the next day.
Tuesday we went to the Eiffel Tower, which was amazing! There is so much up there, and we only went to the second level (Which is still very high off the ground) Got plagued by the rogue salesman selling 5 mini tower keyrings for 1 Euro. Very illegal, and when they see/smell/sense a cop nearby, they pick up a string in the middle of their display cloth and the whole thing folds up into a bundle and no one is the wiser. A gypsy also tried to scam us while we were having our lunch. This is quite common in Paris.
Next we went off to the Champs Elysees and Arc d’Triomphe, which is beautiful and dramatic, especially from a distance. And the drivers around it are just as mad as they are always said to be.
In the afternoon we went off to Versailles. We didn’t go through, but walked around the promenade and checked out the little village. It’s such a spectacular sight, hard to imagine someone used it as somewhere to live. We could fit most of Guildford in there.
Wednesday we spent most of the day at the Louvre. This was sooooo exciting!!!! We got to see so many well-known pieces of work, plus some weird things as well. The Mona Lisa was a bit surreal, it didn’t feel as though you are actually looking at it! Liz was very excited to see paintings she had studied at school. We had lunch in the gardens and got a massive fright when 4 soldiers armed with AK47s strolled past.
After the Louvre we decided to walk to the Notre Dame because the map said it was close. It wasn’t. But at least it made for a lovely walk along the Seine. And we found a nursery/market around the corner which was so stunning and full of the funkiest little bits & pieces. The Notre Dame was eerie but beautiful, as most Cathedrals seem to be, and very full of tourists taking photos when they’re not supposed to, which really got on Stu’s nerves.
That evening we met another kiwi couple in the campsite, who have kindly passed on loads of food and equipment for us to use on our trip. They have just finished a 3 month camping trip through Europe, so our 6 weeks seems quite short.
Today is our last day here. We went to the Pere Lachaise cemetery and the saw the graves of a few famous dead folks, like Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, George Seurat and Theodore Gericault ( whose paintings we got to admire in the Louvre yesterday)
We also went past the Moulin Rouge, which is huge, and spent the afternoon lazing away next to the fountain in the Jardin des Tuileries next to the Place de la Concorde. Tonight we will head back to the Eiffel Tower to take some photos, and to try have a coffee somewhere nice(but cheapish). Paris is as hideously expensive as everyone says! Then tomorrow it’s off to Bordeaux!
Bordeaux, days 4-6
Bordeaux is stunning. We stayed in St Emilion which is the most quaint, picturesque little town ever. Very expensive though. Needless to say, we’re not doing much shopping in France. It’s perched on a hill, with age-old buildings jammed in wherever they fit. We missed out on a wine tour due to a strange episode with our GPS. It decided that Bordeaux city was actually halfway back to Paris so we got very lost. However, we got to see some amazing countryside and castles. The campground we were staying at was in the middle of vineyards and had a lake, so it was great just exploring around there. We have also stopped at some sweet little villages where no one speaks English but they smile a lot! Pics coming soon.
Today we are off to Spain – St Sebastien & Bilbao.