12hrs and 43mins later we arrive at CDG (Charles De Gaulle). After enjoying the relative comforts of the Exit row on the Singapore leg, we had to endure row 78 Upper Deck of the new A380 on the Paris leg. Cramming our tired chassis into the middle row of a jam packed flight at 11.50pm we made our peace with the flight gods and we were on our way.
5 Movies, 9 meals, 6 TV shows and some inflight magazine reading later (at least it felt that long) we arrived at CDG 40 minutes ahead of schedule at 5.48am Paris time. Clearing customs and negotiating our way through Dr Octogon’s wet dream of a airport that is CDG, we made our way to the train that would take us to gay-Paris.
At 7.50am, Paris wakes slowly. Street sweepers are out, tables and chairs are being arranged on the sidewalk, deliveries being made, girls in high heals and make-up peddaling along the Rue de Rivioli to work.
We walk along the river toward the Musee d’Orsay checking out some sights along the way. Today’s mission is find a French Bakery, practice some of the local dialect and hunt down Tory’s favourite ice cream store. We may even stop at the Notre Dame and enjoy a cold beer in the gardens. Quite a full morning!
After sampling some French baked delicacies we keep on walking towards d’Orsay hoping to beat the crowds and get inside for a quick look at the world’s largest collection of French Impressionism. Of course we turn the bend and 769 japanese and italian tourist had the same idea. We shelve that idea until our return in weeks.
After 1 hour of walking with my 13kg camera pack my thirst levels hit critical, so we duck into a café for an icy cold Heineken and hot chocolate for Tory.
Tory is a great sympathetic fellow traveller with a passion for all things sweet – there is an unwritten code that if I can source a cold beer when needed, then an ice-cream or chocolate purveyor mustn’t be far off, or preferably in same building. We have our vices, and ours are almost balanced.
Further towards the Notre Dame we find the holy grail of gelati. Well, kind of. There was no chocolate so we had to settle for Orange Sanguine (Blood Orange) and a scoop of Poire (tasted just like mushed up frozen tinned pears!). Also luckily enough they sell icy cold Heineken. Our purchases complete we went to enjoy in the gardens behind the grand old church and watch the other tourists taking badly composed snaps of their un-interested teenagers. After some cursory shots of our own it was back to the train station for our ride back to the airport.