Au revoir, Paris


Well, j’ai dit bonjour, and then a pretty swift au revoir a Paris, though I shall be back. I’d never really done Paris before. Changed trains there, been through it on a coach, killed a couple of hours there while interrailing. The one time I had been there even halfway properly was during a French exchange when the host family and I drove  from Normandy in their big old Citroen.

The minute I sat on the soft, acrylic fur fabric throw on the back seat and slammed the door, I knew I was in a sickmobile. Dear heavens. I didn’t actually throw up, but the first two hours of my four-hour visit to Paris were spent wobbly and woebegone. The next two hours I dedicated to worrying about the trip back again.

This time was a v different matter. It’s so walkable! With a street map, small bag and a sense of purpose, I walked from the railway station down to the Marais and spent three days visiting museums, talking to locals, checking out markets (le Marché des Enfants Rouges – brilliant), antique shops (Village St Paul – gorgeous), listening to buskers at the Pompidou and soaking it all in.

It was for a cover story I was writing, so I really did have to pound around and get the info, scribbling volumes of notes as I went, and probably ended up walking for about six or seven hours a day. But it was just fantastic and, now I know that hotels do last minute deals and they actually respond to email requests, I shall return. My French is still bad, but enough to get me by. And I still haven’t met Jean-Hugues Anglade.


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