Saturday, 22 December 2012


Monday 17 December

Well, the world has not ended (at least not in this neck of the woods) and I have promised another update today, so here we go...

The trip started on Monday, as you may remember, and we drove to the TGV station in Valence where we were to pick up our hire car and to park René's car for the duration of our trip to Paris.  As you may remember, we are limited to 350 km from the house if we want to take his car.  Something we are not going to agree to again if we will receive a similar request in a future exchange.  It makes travelling unnecessarily complicated.

The weather wasn't too bad, just a bit cool, but no rain yet.  Other complications, that I won't go into here, made it necessary to make the trip in one day and we had roughly five hours to make it to Bussy-Saint-George before dark, so we took the toll road from Valence to Paris.  This first part is the A7 from Marseille to Lyon, the next one is the A6 from Lyon to Paris and together they are called: l'Autoroute du Soleil (Motorway of the Sun) although the sun was hard to find on this occasion... ;-)

on l'Autoroute du Soleil...

a pretty church in the distance

Lyon, driving along the Rhône

driving downhill

close to Paris the clouds the rain starts...

... and the clouds close in

Of course we didn't quite make it before dark and we also had to deal with peak-hour traffic close to our destination, but all in all we'd done well and arrived at 5pm.  My brother and sister-in-law, Wim and Gerrie, were expected to arrive soon after us as they had taken the train, however, they also had to deal with peak-hour traffic at the stations and in the train.  Never mind, we waited in the hotel lounge with a nice cup of espresso until they arrived and after we had all settled in and unpacked we walked to a nearby Chinese restaurant where we enjoyed (to a degree, because the food was only lukewarm) a buffet meal.  The choice was great however, so it wasn't all bad.

the hotel lounge decorated for Christmas
After dinner we settled in the hotel lounge with a drink and talked almost to the early hours of the night.  It was great to catch up and we were going to have this luxury for the next two days.

Gerrie, moi, and Wim in the hotel lounge
Tuesday 18 December

Next morning after a not too early breakfast we decided to go to Paris first as the weather forecast was for NO rain on Wednesday and we certainly wanted to keep it dry on the day we were going to be at Euro Disney.

Frank making his choice at the breakfast counter
So, after breakfast we took the train to the Charles de Gaulle station close to the Arc de Triomphe and walked from there to la Tour Eiffel.  

Arc de Triomphe

and we talk, talk, talk...

Gerrie and Frans

One guess...

The stalls of a Christmas market in the distance

A line of school children highly visible to their teachers!

Such beauty in simple metal works
From the Eiffel Tower we walked along the Seine to Les Invalides and via the Pont Alexandre III to the Haussmann Boulevard.

Walking along the Seine

L'Hôtel national des Invalides
The bridge is lavishly decorated with lampposts and sculptures of cherubs and nymphs.  On each end of the Pont Alexandre III are large gilded statues on 17 m high granite pillars.  Each of the ornaments on the bridge was createdby a different artist. 

Le pont Alexandre III

Frank and Gerrie taking pictures of Les Invalides...

...and Wim taking pictures of the river

walking across the bridge
Next we walked towards the Haussmann Boulevard, because we wanted to visit the store Le Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, but on the way we came across another Christmas market and various small streets and arcades.  At the market we bought lunch at the various stalls.  There was a huge variety as usual and we all found something we liked, which for me was Tartiflette, which really is no more than a cheese and potato bake.

One of the larger stalls at the Christmas market

A train ride for the children

The big stores were impressive, from the toilets, to the Christmas decorations, to the roof and the windows with special moving scenes for young and old alike.  The toilets were something special, if only for the price:  €1.50!!!  Have I complained before about the French toilets?  Well, forget about my complaints, this was something special.  For the €1.50 I got a private cabin(!), the door was opened for me and.... I got a heated seat.  How's that for a visit to a toilet in France?  I nearly expected somebody to....  no, no, let's not go into further details...  :-)

Moving scenes in the shop windows

The Christmas tree at Lafayette

The dome at Lafayette

Different colours
Another arcade

I think it was at the above arcade that I discovered a dollshouse shop which I just had to visit.  Luckily Wim and Gerrie were very patient.  Of course we stopped off for coffee somewhere at one of the cafés that we passed and we had dinner at the Halles, which is a huge underground shopping centre near the railway station where we got on the train back to the hotel at Bussy-Saint-Georges.  Again we spent a pleasant evening drinking and chatting till it was time to go to bed.

Talking about bed....  It's time for me as well, so further updates tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Ziet er mooi uit...Parijs in december! En dat toilet klinkt wel heel erg speciaal LOL


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