Cecille et Jean in France

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I think that means Cilla and Ian in France.

Just to remind myself what we have done, for posterity:

Vendredi  1 Janvier:  arrived in Paris late in evening. The shuttle buses had stopped for the evening, so we got rammed by the taxi service. Had quite a good sleep (thankyou illegal melatonin).

Samedi 2 Janvier: Got up and had a wander around Paris. Found the tourist office and organised some metro tickets. Like a moth to a flame (or flies to poo) I managed to find Galeries Lafayette, an amazing department store, topped by a stained glass dome. I nearly shit my daks in excitement at the shoe section; a whole floor of high end footwear to die for. The food section was equally amazing. Finally Ian extricated me from the store and we mosied down to the jardins Tulieries. Very cold, but full of folks seeing the sights. From there, on to the avenue des Champs Elysées, all lit up and pretty. On that famous street, there is a patisserie called Ladurée, which is quite well known. The specialty there are the macaroons and teas, both to die for. The parisians had no qualms about queueing up for half an hour in the cold, it was that good!

Dimanche 3 Janvier: Off to the palace of Versailles. C’est magnifique is all I can say, but they lost a lot of the loot and bling in the Revolutions. Then off to Montmartre to see the Sacre Coeur cathedral, getting confronted by big dark men trying to sell us useless stuff. For Ians benefit (? titillation), we went to see the Lido cabaret, basically music, girls in sequins, maribou feathers and other bling, most with boobs out. I had seen a similar show a few years ago when I first went to Paris…I don’t remember there being that many boobs out, and the girls were a bit more powerfully built then!!

Lundi 4 Janvier: Just a wander about Paris. We took in the Sorbonne and the Saint Sulpice church (as described in the Da Vinci code) and the Pantheon, where all sorts of famous frenchies are buried; Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Monsieur Braille and Alexandre Dumas to name but a few. Then more bloody shopping.

Mardi 5 Janvier: on the TGV to Bordeaux. Very fast, about 200km/hr.

Wednesday (forgotten the french translation) 6th Janvier: off on our Wine tour, with Xavier, our french host. Unfortunately the day started with snow and the Bordelaise are not used to driving in it so we started a bit late. We drove around while Xavier explained to us about Bordeaux wine, the strict production process governed by strict rules. We learned about appelations, terroir, grand cru and that 2005 was a really good vintage. We visited some chateaux and learned about winemaking processes; now I know why they use egg whites in winemaking, and how they use the yolks (FYI to make pastries called Canalés which are really yummy). We found a new respect for the grapes, and the French who take their food and drink really seriously.

Today, just bumming around Bordeaux, off to Barcelona tomorrow.

Some random thoughts:

The food is sooooooo good here, even something as simple as bread and Jam tastes amazing. The portion sizes are much smaller here which probably goes some way to explaining zhy the frenchies don’t pork up the way we do. A couple of nights ago, we went to a restaurant called L’Entrecote, basically all they had there was steak, thinly sliced? drowned in Butter and Garlic, served with plentiful frites. So to undo all the delicious damage, we went to a wine bar to partake of red wine and dark chocolate, strictly for medicinal purposes.

Not having learned French at school, we have had to make use of the French phrasebooks and we have had great fun speaking it; it is such a fun language to bastardise!! Naturally I am very good at asking for food.

Youse may have heard of the cold snap affecting Europe. Thus far this has precluded running (tthe temp has averaged 0°C) but we have been walking everywhere so getting a lot of exercise.

The shopping OMG!!!! It is sooooo good here and every 2nd shop sells shoes!! I have already spent the GDP of a small african nation. To keep myself honest, I admit I have bought 2 pairs of boots, a jacket, some Christian Dior makeup, some shirts, 2 jumper dresses, angora tights, leggings and socks…..Ian has had a quiet word with me and the limiting factor is the suitcase size and finances!

Until next time…..

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