Six days in Paris - 2002.
Arrived in Paris late morning and took a taxi to our Hotel “Star Hotel” in Charles de Gaulle area. The hotel seemed fine on the outside but the inside was another matter. Our room was the size our bathroom at home. We didn’t even have enough space to put our suitcases in – a shoe box.!!!. I was not happy….as I knew this room would get the better of me. I was too pissed off about it I just went to sleep, hoping it would be different when I woke up. Later we decided that tomorrow we would venture out and find another HOTEL.
In the evening, we took the Metro and had dinner with all the Australian delegates in Montmartre. Taking the Metro is no easy feat, working it out one really needs to be a Mathematician. Dinner was at a lovely French Restaurant outside the Artist quarters. Cobble streets and Artist selling their works. The dinner was so boring as we had to sing Australian songs all night. Waltz in Matilda must have been sung at least five times. It seemed ridiculous as we had just arrived in Paris, we certainly didn’t feel like being reminded of Australia, we had just left home.
The next morning we went looking for a better Hotel. It was raining and naturally, we didn’t have an umbrella. (The first thing to buy.) After much searching we eventually found this fabulous Hotel in Argentine called L’Hotel Pergolese a four Star – small six floors, late nineteenth century freestone façade yet reassuring and bourgeois. I’m so in love with it, so excited about leaving “Star Hotel” I can hardly hold myself together.
The Hotel is in a great position because it’s close to Argentine Metro station, Porte Maillot, Champs-Elysees, Palais des Congre, and Arc de Triomphe. It is still expensive but every Hotel is expensive in Paris. We are paying 240 Euro’s for the VIP room. The room is fabulous although it is small, everything is ultra modern and the bathroom is to die for. I’m feeling happy being in Paris now. I can’t wait to explore the city, I’m a little scared about doing it alone but I suppose if I get lost, I can always catch a taxi home.
Moved all the bags over from one Hotel to another and Peter had to register for his conference at Porte Malliot conference centre. Later on walked up to Champs- Elysees and looked at the shops. Everything is just so expensive, its look do not touch. In the evening, we went to dinner with Phillip, Lenore and Roberto to a very upmarket Danish Restaurant in Champs-Elysees. It cost Roberto 750E which is $1600.00 Aus Dollars for five people. Peter was pleased he wasn’t paying the bill.
Peter and I left the group and had coffee in a café a few doors up the road. We meet some friendly Muslim ladies who told us about this street in the Saint Denis area, which is primarily a wholesale district for clothes and accessories. I’m happy now !!!! Happy, happy, happy……. It will be on the must list of things to do.
In the morning, Peter went to work and I walked up to Champs-Elysees and had a look around the shops. Brought myself a pizza for lunch and hurried home to collect camera etc for tour of Paris in the afternoon. I took the bus outside the conference centre with the other ladies from the conference at 2.00pm.
We travelled through the streets of Paris to the Eiffel Tower, Opera, and Concorde to Notre Dame and through the back streets of Paris. It really is the only way you can take in a city this size. I really enjoyed sitting on the bus and taking the sights in. I’m hoping Peter has time off to do a tour with me. Arrived back about 5.30pm and then got ready for dinner. In the evening, we walked down to a little Italian restaurant close to the hotel. All the Australians were eating there so sat around chatting for a while. Retired early, as we were both feeling tired.
Hubby had the day off, so we decided to do some sight seeing. We caught the city Tour bus and went to the Eiffel Tower. Peter wanted to take the lift up, I would have preferred to stay on the ground but didn’t. It was a rather cloudy day so really we couldn’t see that much. Continue on our bus tour around the city and got off at Gallery La Fayette to do some shopping.
It is so expensive, but Peter did buy me some underwear, which I needed. We had lunch in the department store, which was great and then walked through the streets of Paris until catching the metro home
In the evening, we meet up with an American couple, whose hotel was in the Victor Hugo area. We had dinner a very ordinary meal which ended up costing us Aus$350.00. It would be bread and cheese if you where travelling alone. Later we went back to their apartment and had drinks with them. The hotel had a great view of the Eiffel Tower and the Americans were extremely nice and friendly people. We all enjoyed ourselves.
In the morning, we took the Metro to Saint Denis area to see if I could see the Wholesale district for clothes. Peter helped me work out the Metro system and then he left me as he had to return to work. It was a fascinating district. Black hookers hanging out the doorways, men wheeling trolley’s of clothes hurriedly down and up the streets.
The shops were great; at least I could afford to buy something today. Ended up with shoes, shawls and presents for the kids. I love finding places like this. I really did feel like I was in the heart of Paris. Had lunch in small café, which was for once cheap. Headed back on the Metro for home. I was exhausted when I returned and shopped out. Had a little nap until Peter returned home.
In the evening, we took the Metro to Chateau Landon where we had dinner with 4000 people from the conference. It was just such a fascinating place and experience. They had the function in an old sandstone warehouse, which is only opened once a year. The theme of the decor was Medieval.
Everything was fitted out in medieval style, from games of horses, to riding carrousels. The food was excellent and so was the entertainment. I really enjoyed myself and it certainly was a great experience. Caught the Metro home and had a glass of wine at local café before hitting the sack.
In the morning I met the Aussie Ladies and took them to Saint Denis to buy wholesale clothes. We had coffee in a quaint little café and then we all went our separate ways. I found some great shawls and a few little necklaces for presents.
Later, I took the Metro to Opera and had a look around the shops. Went to the Ritz where Princess Dianna stayed before she died. All the expensive shops like Dior, Channel, etc.etc were displayed around the fantastic façade. Arrived home around 5.00pm and then met Peter at the conference centre. We decided to go to Saint Germain to have dinner. We had a great French dinner until a blackout occurred.
Unfortunately, we had to wait until the lights came back on until we could pay the bill. The whole ordeal took about one hour, so hence we had another late night.
We woke up early to get organized to catch the train to Geneva. Packed our bags and had breakfast and then headed off by taxi to Gare de Lyon to catch out train. We left around 12.30pm and arrived in Geneva around 5.00pm. The train trip was enjoyable.
We played cards and generally amused ourselves. The scenery through the two countries was beautiful, green pasture, rolling hills and mountains touching the lakes.