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France (Oct 2002)

After a very nice time in the Black Forest, we took a train from Germany to Paris, where we spent another couple of days...


WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE RAIN - (I MEAN, PARIS)!  As Murphy would have it, the weather was awful during our four days there. Though we'd both been to the city quite a few times in the past, the weather had almost always been really dismal, so we'd been hoping for better luck this time around. Fat chance. 

CAFE SOCIETY... PARIS MATCH. We spent a lot of time inside cafes, not just because the weather was abysmal, but because they were damn fine places to while away the time. It was also quite a nice surprise to realise that I had not forgotten how to speak French.
P-ALAS .One of the things we'd been looking forward to was a visit to Versailles Palace  outside Paris. I'd stayed in the town of Versailles for a while in late 1988 and was hoping to go back to my old palatial stomping ground with Laetitia (we've both been to the Palace, but never with each other). Unfortunately, the rainy gales which accompanied our time in France made this impossible, but there's always a next time...
MEAL OF THE DAY? On the only sunny afternoon we had there, we ambled through the Paris districts of Ile de la Cite and Ile St. Louis, two small islands on the Seine which many consider to be the true heart of Paris. After some wandering around looking for a tea room where L used to like going when she was here last, we stumbled upon a restaurant whose name was pretty difficult for us to ignore (see the pic), so in we went for a brilliant traditional French meal. (Historical note: the name 'Lutetia' is actually the original Latin name for Paris, and means 'joy').  WHAT'S IN A NAME?
NANA NANA NANA NANA, BOATMAN!!! IN SEINE. For some reason, I really like taking boats wherever I can. Rivers are always interesting. We've been on the canals of Venice, up the Turkish Bosphorous from Istanbul to the Black Sea, done a lot of Bangkok's waterways, rowed around the ornamental lakes in the heart of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and then there's always the Thames, but this was the first time I'd been on the Seine. 

DONNEZ-MOI LES SERIOUS NOSH! Even though the weather was miff, we definitely had a decent time and, after so long in Asia, really dug getting our teeth into some seriously-appreciated European food. Despite the fearsome reputation of the French, we've always found the people to be nice (probably because we always spoke French) and the weather even cleared up for a few hours as we left by bus for London...


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