Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gay Paris? Not Really

The trip that I had been longing for and waiting for is now over I am back in the drizzling London. The trip technically started on Friday after spending the day with Mitch and Muffintop trying on some VERY important outfits, Mr B and I ran home grabbed our packing and stayed over at Muffintop’s (she lives in Islington and it was much easier to be at St Pancras at 5.30am) after some of her legendary pizza’s and quite a lot of wine. We went to bed at 12.30.

Only four and a half hours later and we were awake again ready for the off, well I say ready Mr B doesn’t do 5 minute get up’s sadly. The taxi was early, Addison Lee sometimes being a little too prompt, and within minutes we were at the station, and a BIG drama happened as within 10 minutes I was in Kings Cross Station in tears.

I had forgotten to get out money to change at the Bureau Du Change so I went up to the (very grumpy and sleepy) man behind the counter who said the nearest cash machine was in Kings Cross. Now you would think when building what they are claiming is the ‘best train station in the world’ they might have thought to put a few hole in the walls in? Apparently not, I trundled to Kings Cross where my bank card got stuck (I asked people to help, they wouldn’t) and swallowed. I burst into tears. Fortunately Mr B had the emergency credit card… I was still in tears.

A cup of coffee later and I was feeling better, until the woman at customs decided to empty the contents of my bag (we so won’ mention some of the joys in there) and check as the fabulous ‘new Paris’ bag I had bought still had the gel shit in it that keeps it fresh and that they thought were drugs. Don’t worry it gets less dramatic until we come home from now on.

The Euro Tunnel was so smooth and fast (on the way there) I actually didn’t realise we had been through it. From rainy London we were suddenly in the delightful sunshine in Paris. Over the space of two days we had mainly sunshine with small bouts of drizzle, bloody painful hail and snow in Calais on the way back, more of the latter later.

By lunchtime I was sat with omelette and fries happy as a pig in the proverbial. I am sorry no one does omelettes like the French… no one! We had been on the metro the wrong way, up the Sacre Coeur and back down, all around Pigalle and its sex shops and we’d nipped into the Museum of Erotica – very insightful. I think Pigalle is now my favourite part of Paris; it’s got a Soho sort of vibe about it.

Onto the hotel The Hotel Royal Monceau please do check the website out and especially the health spa, you don’t have to want to go there I just think it needs to be seen to be believed. The Hotel was wonderful the staff very friendly. Our bed was changed twice in the space of 5 hours and we hadn’t even used it the first time… honest! The bathroom was marble and basically it was heaven. Off up the Arc De Triomphe next, and then off to the Picasso Museum via several metro’s where we got lost.

We got lost the following day and I have to say it was two of my favourite parts of the whole weekend! Getting off the tourist trap and just loosing yourself in such a beautiful city is a rare treat. The Picasso Museum was sadly shut early which caused a slightly large bottom lipped sulk from me for all of 5 minutes before we found a Super Market and I found chocolate and crisps. Why in what was basically a Londis did they have more fun food of a much wider variety than my pissing massive Sainsbury’s down the road? I don’t understand. Mind you I also didn’t understand some of the flavoured processed cheeses that Mr B was eating as we made our way through the gay area of Paris. I call it a gay area, it was two pubs on a street, and we found another randomly the next day in a completely different area. They call it Gay Paris… why? It’s not remotely. A few bars does not make somewhere gay, I felt sorry for the French Poufs who only have that, not that I am a scene queen.

A delicious Crepe outside the Notre Dame, got lost again near St Michael found some great restaurants to come back to, back to the hotel. We had the spa to ourselves. For two hours Mr B and I jacuzzied, steamed, swam – the works. Pure decadence and I was so relaxed when I got out of there it was bliss. Back on the metro and off to find one of the nice restaurants, sadly they were all closing as it was now almost 11pm. The one that was open was… indescribable, sadly I didn’t have my camera at this point. Mr B had snails (disgusting), I had French Onion Soup (amazing) we shared Fondue. To cut a long story short I officially hate fondue. I had to find a supermarket on the Champs Elysees on the way back to the hotel.

The next day the start of 7am actually became 10am as we were both so knackered. We did a boat tour up and down the Seine which was beautiful. We were very lucky with some wonderful sunshine. We managed to get lost via all the designer shops and the Louvre before finding a lovely square near the Pompidou Centre to have lunch in before heading back to the Gare Du Nord.

A final farewell was had in a lovely Tabac down the road from the station. Oh, after being hassled by several homeless people. Now we get this a lot in London, it’s not so common in Paris though. Homeless people and beggars are around (there are a huge amount of drunks on the metro’s at night all seem much more harmless than in England, I don’t live there so cant comment) but very silently. I think it’s much more effective than the women outside the station who were literally in your face. Mr B got questioned to death at customs, I have never seen him so nervous ad upset. It was a lot of ‘what do you do’, ‘why’, and ‘how long for?’ made the last bit of his holidays a bit sadder though as is quite stressful.

My stress levels were next up on the agenda. Got on the Eurostar fine, it stopped just outside Calais for AGES! No explanation why, we thought it must be the masses of snow. Then it was onwards and into the tunnel where ten minutes in the whole carriage (probably the whole train) jumped at the scraping banging sound. We came to a short holt in the tunnel and I honestly thought something awful must have happened, I think everyone did by their faces. We were soon on our way again with no explanation. We got diverted at Ashford where the previous train boarded on to ours… very odd.

All in all an amazing holiday, we both think we might move out there now, we just didn’t want to come back.

No comments: