Day 14 : Our full day in Paris

After a 9hr sleep in Paris, it was time to begin day 2 in this wonderful city. The weather was forecast to be 20º and sunny. After a predictable Parisian hotel breakfast of bread, ham, cheese, yoghurt and croissants we headed on our way. Our first stop was to the shopping mall, Galleries Lafayette. An increasingly sprawling network of old buildings linked together by overhead covered gangways. Each building catering for each requirement. There was the womens fashion, perfumery and fashion séduction (lingerie), mens fashion and ‘David Jones-esque’ food hall and so on. It is an amazing building inside with stain glass windows, vaulted dome ceiling and all the opulence by an bygone era. First stop was the fashion séduction level so Tory could browse for some new sexy undergarments. The selection was to the horizon. Every shape, colour, style and fabric was catered for. The change-rooms even catered for men, with each booth, a comfortable a pink ottoman awaited. Quite the ‘experience’. Some choice numbers were selected, paid for, tax free refund was collected and we made our way to the men’s building. After walking the several levels we were soon convinced that french men dressed like girls and besides that, the size XL did not exist.

Next mission was to find the food market area (Rue Montorgueil) as described in a book that Tory recently finished, ‘Almost French’ and also described in an article I read in the Weekend Australian before our departure. After some very good navigating via the map we found the district and it didn’t disappoint. We purchased a selection of cheese from a Frommagerié which included goat, sheep and cow milk variants. Some beautiful ham (Jambon) from little Italian Deli, a Tradtionalé Baguette and 2 punnets of raspberries. All that was left was the champagne. After some extra exploring we found a place that had all the best French in a fridge, chilling down. It seemed ‘right’ to get the Moét as we were in Paris. Lucky for us they sold glasses. We weaved our way around to the Louvre and found a lovely spot on the grass of the Jardin du Carosel (ohmigod – allowed on the grass in Paris?!?!?!!?!?) to sit and enjoy our lunch. A lightheaded champagne-y walk through the gardens, then to the d’Orsay for a look there. We got there just in time for a tour, and after our experience at the Orangerie yesterday where all signage was in french, we thought it would be a good option. The tour took us past only a dozen or so pictures and sculptures, but the basic art history lesson was very interesting.

We then walked through the back streets again, again marveling at just how French the buildings and streetscapes are, before getting to the Musee Rodin. We opted for just a wander around the garden, which this week is free as they are doing some building work in the garden, so it is not as peaceful as it could be.

We tossed up going to the catacombs, in the dying minutes of the day, but decided that after 26 km of walking so far today, our feet had had enough. We caught the metro back home, and rested up for dinner – an afternoon of texts home to Mike (armed with a computer and internet) and to Michelle (for her memory after Mike’s googling skills didn’t quite get where we want) and we asked our concierge to book a table for us at Chez Francoise – the restaurant in the old Air France terminal.

Chez Francoise was the locale for our wrap party over 2 years ago when we were shooting a travel doco. In between the haze of the night I remember it being a cozy, out of the way, French Restaurant. It is downstairs of the old Air France Terminal. Long before school dropouts with towels for hats decided to set light to their shoes and bring down planes, you could actually check-in to your flights in the city, hand over your luggage and then make your way to the airport. The old terminal still houses some car rental offices, but other than that it is mostly empty.

The restaurant was French the whole way, we guessed our menu items (Foie Gras was easy, aubergine with chevre was manageable, De Carnard – Duck and Grilé Bouefe – Grilled Steak), ordered a bottle of wine from Burgandy and enjoyed the atmosphere. We quietly poked fun at the rich upper middle class French types, tanned like buffalo leather and draped in gold and expensive glasses. Clearly several tables of clientele just arriving back from their mediterranean holidays, when in August 30% of French locals disappear on holidays. It was a great romantic 3 course meal and at just under $200 seemed like a perfect way to almost end our holiday of holidays.