Monday, September 18, 2006

Bonne Anniversaire a moi!

I currently have limited access to the Internet as once again I am down in the Dorset countryside at my ma's cottage, in the middle of fields. Her cottage has no phone and zero computer access which while I don't miss the phone I do miss the computer. Fortunately my grandparents do have Internet access but it's dial-up and now that I'm used to wireless FIOS find it painfully slow. Still beggars can't be choosers and just having the ability to get on-line in rural England is lovely. I have MANY photos to add but keep forgetting to bring my flash drive up to the grandfolks however I did want to blog a little about our fabulous forty-eight hours in Paris.

We left Manchester airport late afternoon on the Tuesday and arrived at Roissy CDG on time, flying sans problemes through passport control, etc in surprisingly easy fashion. We then managed to locate la gare and climbed aboard our train to Paris la cité. And not to my surprise in true French fashion our train journey which should have been little more than 40 minutes took us almost two hours. I merely assumed that the driver had had a few too many verres de vin rouge. We did meet a couple of nice Zimbabwean chaps who were in Paris for a trade show. As my cousin is from Zim it's always interesting to meet others from there and hear about the state (very much not improved) of life out there. Eventually we arrived at Porte d'Orléans metro station. By the time I'd found my French tongue again (no comments thank you!) and able to ask someone the way to our hotel it was well past ten o'clock. We arrived at our hotel, a beautiful 4 star in Moroccan style. Except that the receptionist had bad news for us. A film crew had been using the hotel to film (we decided it had to be porn judging from the costumes and it being Paris and all) and that our room was not available. I really thought Keith would freak out, being that it had been many hours since he's eaten and he has that whole low blood sugar level equals very pissy American thing going on, but he was totally cool and went with the flow. The hotel told us that they had booked us into one of their other hotels and had ordered us a taxi to take us there. So while waiting for le taxi we chilled out listening to jazz in the reception of the Moroccan style decor feeling like we were on a film set ourselves.

Our new hotel, Villa Montparnasse, was, ironically in Montparnasse and was absolutely beautiful, far better situated than the hotel we should have been in. Our room was amazing and had a gorgeous wrap around balcony that overlooked the Cemetiere Montparnasse and with a view of La Tour Eiffel. What more could one have asked for of a hotel in Paris? By the time we had dumped our bags and freshened up it was close to eleven pm. Fortunately there was a little bistro on the corner next to the hotel and so because it was Paris, we were able to sit down and order a three-course meal so late at night. The waiter was so apologetic as well as the bistro was closing the following day due to refurbishment and so the entrecote and crevettes were off the menu! Keith and I then enjoyed the best meal that we have had since leaving Europe six, seven years ago. I enjoyed a kind of bruschetta for starter with warm toast covered in pesto, mild fromage de chevre and warm but still firm sliced tomato on a bed of endives delicately laced with balsamic vinegar. Keith had sardines on toast which were heavenly. We then both had bass in a creamy red pepper sauce with sautéed red and yellow peppers and onions. Pudding I had a chocolate soufflé filled with hot chocolate sauce. Keith had lemon and ginger syllabub on a shortbread biscuit. It was absolutely delicieuse. We also had a beautiful red wine from the town where the writer of Tin-Tin lived. This meant nothing to Keith who had never heard of Tin-Tin but I found this terribly exciting. We then decided that despite it being close to getting up time than going to bed time we had eaten so much that really needed a little promenade and so walked around the beautiful Montparnasse cemetary on what was now officially my 30th birthday.

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