Wednesday, 27 July 2011


The holiday is now well and truly over. Work, with all of it's trials and tribulations, is now back at full throttle.
Our holiday in Paris was magical, romantic, exciting and all over too quickly. There is far too much to tell on here, and there are many garden and plant associated bits to talk about as you may probably imagine, and so what I have decided to do is break it into two seperate posts. This one for non-gardening, and the next for gardening - I hope it works. I could write masses about the things we did in the pictures below, but will try on this post at least to keep it brief.
I must start with what was one of the highlights for me, and something that came about as a trange sort of coincidence. Or was it the man upstairs guiding....who will ever know?

We had planned to visit the Saint Chapelle near Notre Dam, as the stained glass is world renowned. We joined the queue to enter, and thirty minutes later were still in the queue. We then noticed a small sign advertising a very small gathering in the chapel that same evening for a quintet, with a harpsichord, three violins and a cello to play Vivaldis Four Seasons and Pachelbels Cannon. This is not too small a strange coincidence, both are favourites of mine, Pachelbels Cannon being tops, and Four Seasons being so loved that we named our company after it. And so we took a chance, left our place in the queue, and went to see if we could get tickets for that instead......the chapel AND concert rolld into one.

And as you can see, we struck lucky. The chapel is breathtakingly beautiful. he glass you can see wraps entirely around the walls, leaving the visitor wondering just how the roof is supported sufficiently. And the concert was one of the best we have been to. Four Seasons was played masterfully, and Pachelbels Cannon, let's just say I had a tear! (that hasn't happened before)

 Even had a chance to meet and talk with the lead violin, David Braccini, afterwards.

 We walked and we walked, and at one point reached the Eiffel Tower. Having been up it before, which is by no means an easy task on the old heart, we decided to stroll around the gardens at it's base instead this time. We wanted to get a picture of the both of us together, and so asked a passing Korean who seemed VERY camera savvy to take our picture. She proceeded to do all sorts of strange things with our camera, pressing combiations of buttons, laying the camera on the floor etc, and we were rewarded with a very odd shot indeed of us illuminated by bright light, whilst the entire eiffel tower rose phallically behind us. I'll leave that one out!

 The Pont Neuf is a very famous bridge over the Seine. Beautiful by day, and even more so at night. So we decided to wait an hour or so for darkness to fall. Others were waiting too, and a strange quietness and expectation fell on all as we waited for the lights of Paris to come on. It's very strange because all of the lights in Paris appear to come on at the same moment.

And at ten o' clock, although already illuminated, the Eiffel Tower sparkles with thousands of flashing lights, making the whole scene quite magical.

 When we first met, Amanda had a huge poster of Psyche revived by Cupids Kiss, from a visit she had made earlier. On our last visit ( and first together) to Paris, we both went to see this intense sculpture, and if you get a chance to see it yourself, look at the intensity of that kiss!
This day saw us excitedly heading towards The Orangerie and Monets Water Lilies. Outside the entrance is another famous kiss sculpture, this time Rodins "The Kiss". Now THAT is a tender kiss don't you think?

 Of course the water lilies aren't the only paintings here, but although very famous works by most of the great masters can be seen, the two oval rooms housing Monets famous lilies are the most enthralling.

 As you walk around Paris you may notice that one or two bridges are covered in padlocks. A very romantic thing to see close up as they are left by lovers who either etch or write a message of love on them, pledge their everlasting love to each other, and throw the key in the Seine.

 As we were staying in Mont Martre, we just had to head up to the Sacre Coeur one or two evenings. A place full of a sense of love and community. We spent a couple of hours in fellowship with this crowd on the steps of the Sacre Coeur, chilling out to the music of the jamaican you can see playing the guitar. We left in the early hours after exploring more, and could still hear his music....the man was a dynamo!

 The Sacre Coeur

 One of the many street artistes of the evening.

And a late night meal at La Mere Catherine on the square at Mont Martre, whilst enjoying the songs of Edith Piaf.

 This was the courtyard of the National Museum of the Modern Age. I had spotted a rather ornate door to photograph for my other blog, and thinking that Amanda had disappeared to the ladies room, was unaware that she had sneakily taken this picture of me taking a breather.

 An accordian player while we had a coffee.

 A non-korean photo of us both at Notre Dam.

 This was at the end of the island on which Notre Dam stands. We went for a lovely trip along the Seine from here, but not before being singled out by a photographic group who were entering a national Canon photo contest, and had us pose for a very abstract picture. Both of us several yards apart, faces flat against the stone wall, arms stretched out horizontally, and fingers joined by a long chalk line with a heart in the middle......can you believe it? I wish we had asked for a copy!

 Another street artiste at Mont Martre, this time a sort of jazz, skiffle type of music.

 And of course, on the day we had to leave, the Tour de France. We stayed to see most of the action, secured our place on the Place de la Concorde, and having cut our return time to the station to an absolute minimum, found ourselves totally boxed in for miles, with all of the nearby metro stations closed for the event.

It was panic stations, but after much running, pushing, jumping over barriers and pleading, we made it to Gare du Nord for the connecting train to Charles de Gaulle airport......and home.......sigh! The gardeny bit is in the next post.


  1. Very jealous of the whole exciting romantic trip ! Wish my husband and I could just pop over to Paris , unfortunately we have a rather large ocean to cross and additional extensive funding to do so. Everyone in Europe is so blessed to be able to go anywhere, at much less cost and time involved ( travel )to do so. I have no idea if Europeans, Brits, etc. appreciate this fact. Longing for Paris ( for the last 40 years or so ! ) take care , Gina

  2. So much to take in. Thank you for sharing a bit of your trip. I'd never heard of the padlocks before. What a fun tradition. One never knows what you'll get when someone else takes your photo. Often, we're pleasantly surprised. Sometimes, just surprised! I try to be mindful of the setting when I take photos for other people.
    Glad you had a enjoyable vacation.

  3. Gary,

    I am going to start having you and A book my holidays for me. You guys always seem to find the best, most fun and extremely unique places and things to see and do. I have always heard Paris was a magical place and you photos prove it. May be some day I will have my great adventure in the City of Lights.

    Glad to hear you returned safely home even though there was the mad dash there at the end, but some how I feel you guys may have been laughed all the way to the train station. – gary

  4. Hi Gina,
    I don't know if all europeans feel the same, by we both feel very blessed indeed to be able to live the kind of life we have now, especially in terms of where we are able to go and see.Things for both of us were radicly different and harder some 20 years ago. Even if you and your husband have to remortgage the house, you must both find time to visit Paris, it is a wonderfully exciting and romantic place, which reading your blog would suit you both perfectly.

  5. Hi Sherlock,
    I loved having the camera, as always, at the ready, and must confess to taking random shots of other people when they don't know I am doing it. As I said to Gina above, make that trip before it's too late!

  6. Hi Gary,
    You and your partner would love Paris I'm sure. Make sure you take plenty of spending money though, as it's hefty on the pocket.

  7. Really enjoying seeing Paris through your eyes, Gary. I lived in Paris for a bit in the mid-80s, near the Eiffel Tower. Paris seems to have greened up quite a lot since then.