So yeah, like I said, I’m not running the Paris Marathon. I’m down the entrance fee (not transferable or refundable, fair enough) but there is no reason why I can’t still go to Paris, right? And, excuse the expression, but no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater? Exactly.
So, flights and a fabulous apartment just near the Arc de Triomphe paid for and an extra 4 hours to spend in the capital (not to mention the extra energy I will have from not dragging my ass around the 26 mile course) we went.
What went down in the city of love? Settle back, this is quite the photo montage.
I think it’s almost illegal to blog about a trip to Paris without getting a dreamy summery day picture of the Eiffel Tour. So let’s get that out of the way.
As is now habit, I organised us on a bike tour – the very same one I did with the girls back in September. The Husband wasn’t that keen. He’s an actual cyclist with padded shorts and proper cycling shoes, so this was the equivalent of him offering me a handbag from Asda.
But he agreed on the basis I took flattering pictures and there was beer at the end of it.
It served a purpose (to cram seeing as much as we could into as little time as possible) and well, we had fun. Note though: they never once offered us a helmet – interesting for those in countries where skid lids are mandatory.
I’m true to my word and we went for drinks afterwards. Fancy drinks, of course – this is Paris. And that means getting a frock on. Here’s another rare shot to prove I actually have legs.
What better place to go for drinks than Harry’s Bar – hat tip to Bardon – an American style bar in central Paris. Home to the Bloody Mary, amongst other drinks, apparently.
I was here for the atmosphere and the music. Of course.
Then a booking at O Chateau, one of my favourite places to visit. The dishy french owner used to give wine tastings in his loft somewhere in the Marais, but he’s gotten so popular that he’s had to open a restaurant with a wine tasting room. Ooh la la. The food is even better than I remember it from September. This, for example was gorgeous, and I usually hate being served a plate of vege.
Desserts are my thing and it was just as special as I’d hoped. Mine (above) was the ostrich egg styled white chocolate shell with mango sorbet and something creamy that probably doesn’t even have a word in English.
The Husband plumped for a chocolate ice cream / nut / chocolate extravaganza. Well played.
This of course is the famous bar and is the site of where some pissed up girls allegedly danced in the small hours to the Sound of Music. I have the footage on my phone of this. So do the bar staff, apparently.
Lacking imagination and wanting more of that Harry’s Bar feel, we promptly placed ourselves back there for a night cap. My tongue was still blue the following morning.
After all that drinking and eating, we decided to do what the french do. Then decided we didn’t know what that was. Apparently it is sitting around a big old pond in the city and staring at it. There are no fountains, no waterfall features, just a bit of water and two ducks.
But sitting around staring at ducks makes you super hungry. So we went here.
And contemplated eating this. I reckoned I would get maybe halfway down before I vomited it up. The Husband wasn’t as ambitious and thought maybe just the top layer or two would be his limit.
Did you really think I wouldn’t squeeze in another shot of the Arc De Triomphe and/or me in another cute dress? Oh please.
One of the four ‘love lock’ bridges. Here’s the deal: you buy a padlock, write your names on it, declaring everlasting love, lock it to the bridge and throw the key in the Seine. I didn’t buy a lock not because I’m cynical about love (The Husband really is a keeper) but because I firmly believe that the guy you buy the lock from comes along at night with a master key and some ethanol to retrieve the lock and clean off your name, ready to sell it to another doe-eyed couple the following day.
We had a strong recommendation from my friend Red (see Maaaates) about a spot to eat. We tried going there on the first night, queued for 30 minutes until they told us the electricity kept going off and they were no longer cooking. Damn you Chartier, we vowed to come back another night.
And we did. This is what it looks like inside. Nice.
The curious thing is they give you your bill on the table’cloth’. There is a VERY good reason for this. I’ll explain later.
Stomachs bursting with undercooked steak (sooo french) and frites, we signed up for another bike ride – this time at night. Because cycling through french traffic with no helmets in daylight is not dangerous enough.
Fair play though, the night ride is excellent and we covered a lot of ground. About 8 miles all up I think.
And Paris really is pretty as night falls.
Our glamorous peloton recklessly dominating the streets of Paris. Approximately 20 to a group, which makes it easy to lose someone. Fortunately we didn’t.
Unfortunately, about halfway through, I started to feel a bit unusual. Remember that steak, the undercooked one from Chartier – the place the curiously doesn’t give you a receipt to prove you ate there? Yeah, that kicked in. I tried to deny the gurgling, then I tried to ignore it. I held it in for the next 3 hours. So did The Husband who began to suffer in the exact same extreme ways. We were both feeling decidedly ‘conservative of sphincter’. At one point, I sneezed and we both looked terrified until I assured him that I was still intact.
But this picture will forever remind me of how badly I wanted not to be staring at the Eiffel Tower, but rather at a pristine convenience where I could have some quality time for ten minutes.
Oh, yes, the marathon! The marathon (not my picture) took place of course over the weekend, and I was indeed very sad to not be on the start line. So sad I nearly ripped the medal off a finisher later in the day, running down the streets (fat chance they’d have energy to chase me, right?) and screaming ‘I could have been a contender!’ Except I didn’t. Probably got distracted by choux pastry or champagne. But there will be another chance for me. It’s still on my list.
Besides, I was able to indulge in all the booze and blue cheese I could find. And the cakes, because that’s really the best thing about Paris – la patisserie. The very best.
There you go – a weekend in Paris. The next trip was going to be to Svalbard, but frankly, I can’t wait until the end of May, so I goaded Red into a weekend in the sun. I figured she owed me for that steak experience.
Stay tuned for adventures with Red, a Twin Bed and the Med.
Fat Tire Bike Tours – click here for their site
O Chateau – book yourself the best meal you’ll have in a long time here