The love supreme

13.3.15

Europe 2014 - Paris

25th October 2015

This morning we were up at 6.30am and saying farewell to London.
We headed into St Pancras Station ready to catch the Eurostar to Paris.
We had a little panic attack when a very loud alarm sounded and we were all told to evacuate immediately. 
Fortunately it wasn't for too long and was apparently caused by an unattended bag.

Back inside we settled in and waited to board… we got a little surprise when Drew Barrymore came through the gates and sat perched on her bags like the rest of us.

The Eurostar was FAST…. we zipped through the tunnel….I think we napped briefly and when we woke we were in France…we could see the scenery had changed.

Or Motel was awesome….I loved it. 
Ian and I were up in the attic I'm sure. 

We had a the most quaint little room with French windows onto a balcony…and the best bit was the coffee machine…yippee ... our first room with decent coffee.

We made the most of the day buying a Big Bus ticket and taking a lap of Paris… it was crazy travelling past so many iconic sites.
The Paris Opera - founded in 1669

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is a triumphal arch in Paris, located in the Place du Carrousel. It was built between 1806 and 1808 to commemorate Napoleon's military victories of the previous year.

The Louvre


Markets..

(Les Invalides)


Notre Dame


We were totally shocked to see the amount of padlocks (love locks) that were on the bridges over the River Seine. We didn't add a lock but we did sign our name among the thousands of others.



(Arc de Triomphe)
During the day we had noticed a French restaurant (Chartier)around the corner from our Motel…it had a very long queue at lunch time but as we walked past in the early evening the queue wasn't too long so we decided to give it a try.
We were ushered in and seated reasonably quickly. 
It was buzzing with atmosphere and our waiter was very ‘French’ ..or course we couldn't read the menu so ordering was a challenge. 
Donna tried the snails and I think she sort of enjoyed them.

Our meal and drinks tab was written on our paper tablecloth...such a cool idea. 
On leaving the restaurant we realised how lucky we had been…the queue was now stretching down the street and around the corner.

We headed to bed on our first night in Paris feeling so excited and looking forward to what tomorrow would bring.
We were up bright and early… and set for our ‘skip the queue’ visit to the Eiffel tower
It was a misty morning as we arrived and traveled to the top… 280m.
The view of Paris from the top was spectacular.
The next stop was the Louvre and of course the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. 


The famous ancient greek statue 'Venus de Milo'  from 100BC

Then of course we were following the signs... looking for this chick...
and we found her..... she had drawn quite the crowd..
"Mona Lisa" c1503

We could have spent so long wandering the museum here it was enormous….but with such limited time in Paris we checked out the ‘world famous’ exhibits and ticked them off our list.

Tonight we headed out to Moulin Rouge
… its crazy to believe we were sitting there sipping champagne and watching the acts… such an amazing night.

27TH October..
This was an amazing day…it started bright and early...as we left Paris little did I know how much I was going to enjoy it. 
When we were planning this trip Ron had mentioned he would love to visit the WW1 Somme battlefields and Villers Bretonneux cemmetary of course we were all happy enough to make the trip.
 I am so grateful he suggested it…we felt so proud to be Australian and so touched and saddened by the loss of life and sacrifices made in WW1.

We were collected from the Motel by our tour guide…as luck would have it ...the other couple on the tour today were also Australian..they had travelled from Melbourne.
It was an eerily misty morning and it was quite a long trip out to Villers Bretonneux and the other WWI sites… a lot of our stops were various war cemeteries and sites of battles throughout the war in 1914 – 1918.

We made a stop at a little village for the purpose of seeing their school. 
We all felt so touched that in among the French buildings stood this very Australian school. 
The story behind it was just so beautiful and when we entered and saw all the touches of Australia and that the kids had artwork on the walls which was Australian themed even now in 2014 we had goosebumps.

The Lochnager crater site was enormous…. It measured 91m in diameter and 21m deep.





Lunch was at a lovely little cafe…which was sort of just inside someone’s home. 
In the garden were all sorts of relics dug up as they gardened … that was such a common site in this area...as we drove the streets we could see stacks of relics ..old artillery shells etc lined up against fences everywhere.
At this particular cafĂ© they had not long come across some bodies in the backyard as they were digging….apparently this is not an uncommon occurrence.
 Lunch was delicious and home cooked and just sitting and chatting here was lovely.

We visited a site with some trenches still intact and were able to walk along the very trenches that the soldiers were in 100 years ago.

The cemeteries were dotted around the countryside everywhere…. Lines and lines of white tombstones all maintained and manicured perfectly …all those lives lost.


It was a late evening returning home and we were so thankful to have been out in the countryside all day…and to have paid our respects and visited these sites today.
It certainly was a day we would never forget.

Tomorrow we began our flight home….so we had some major packing to do that night.
We were all so sad that our holiday was over but also super excited to be seeing family again…we had missed everyone SO much.

So that is the last of our Europe trip 2014 ...its been a real trip back down memory lane writing these posts...editing the photos and researching the links...each and every post has made me wistful and sad... wishing I was back there...even if just for a moment.
Thankyou to everyone who has followed along...and sent me such lovely comments.
Thanks also to my dearest friends Ron and Donna for being the best travel buddies anyone could ask for...and for allowing me to steal their photos as if they were my own...which I have done on a number of occasions.

2 comments:

  1. Your trip was very inspiring and so glad to read this post as I am heading to Paris later in the year for a trip of a lifetime with my daughter. I also intend to visit the battlefields as my Grandfather fought there during WW1 and was fortunate to come home.

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    Replies
    1. Paris was amazing.... I was truly pinching myself that I was there... and I know you will LOVE as much as we did. How very special to be travelling with your daughter too....what special memories you have of that time together.
      The battlefields are highly recommended.... just for the chance to pay respects and touch the ground where so many of them lost their lives...what sacrifice they made.
      Your comment made my day.....I loved that you found it of interest. Thankyou SO much for taking the time to drop me a message.
      Travel safe...and jot down your notes each evening....it gets so overwhelming its hard to remember "what..where and when" once you arrive home.
      Mardi xx

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