As a birthday treat, Claire took advantage of an excellent Eurostar offer to pop over to Paris to visit her friend Sylvie in October.
Sylvie and I have known each other for many, many years, ever since I was a student at Sciences Po (a grande ecole specialising in political studies) for a year as part of my degree.
We decided to spend the long weekend enjoying all things cultural about Paris. This included a visit to the amazing Musee d’Orsay, which I had never been to before. It was originally a railway station and was opened shortly after my year in Paris ended. We thoroughly enjoyed the Degas exhibit, as well as the impressionist section on the top floor.
We ended our visit in a bar nearby, on the banks of the Seine, overlooking the Louvre. A very nice Pouilly Fume kept us company! Then we walked back to the metro over the pedestrian bridge that lovers used to put padlocks on as a symbol of their enduring love – until the weight of them got too much as the bridge was about to collapse!
On another day, we went to le Marais, one of my favourite quarters of Paris, with narrow winding streets and quirky boutiques.
It has also become a very popular hangout for the Parisian gay community, as you can see from this boulangerie!
We found another bar in the Place des Vosges and a delicious Sancerre joined us.
We also went for a walk and picnic (and a tasty Chablis) in the Bois de Vincennes – the weather was fantastic – and rounded things off with a trip to the Orangerie to see Monet’s Water Lilies and a restaurant, with a smooth Pinot Noir.
Walking back to the Gare du Nord, we saw this amazing pumpkin in the Place de Vendome, next to Napoleon!
I came home exhausted, especially after speaking nothing but French for four days, but thoroughly delighted with a wonderful cultural trip (art and good wine primarily) and a great time spent with a very good friend.