Thursday, August 25, 2011

City of Love

After much thought over our choice of holiday destinations which included Galapogos, Amazon and South Africa, we decided to venture to the City of Lights, mainly due to the zillion ‘Oh you must go to Paris’ responses we got.

Rest assured that Paris is still an European city and one of the main tourist destinations in the world, though you might not think so after reading the rest of the blog.

The train ride from London to Paris was lovely. The arrival at Gare du Nord, considered to be the busiest railway station in Europe, was a SHOCK! The unbearable smell of urine was overwhelming, the bird poo, the cigarette butts, the dirty stained glass, the little food outlets which offered seats covered in bird poo, the lack of information and the lack of proper sign posts, was not what I expected to see in Paris.

Though old, dirty and smelling of pee, the Metro in Paris is still better than the Underground in London. The Metro runs on time and is regular and costs less than half the price for what seemed like a much better service. However, all signage was in French and there was no clear indication on how to use or buy tickets.There are a few sign boards in English placed at random intervals which I am sure an Englishman planted on the sly and the French would remove if they ever discovered them! Also God help you if you are obese or even slightly chubby  because you will not get through some of the Metro gates, which seemed to have been designed for stick insects. Any kind of luggage, dogs, goats or cattle will most definitely have to be left out as not all stations  provide luggage exits!

The very picky DH (Dear Husband) booked a lovely hotel in what seemed like a nice part of town. With kids dropping their ice creams in wonder at the sight of me clinging to what must have seemed a crossbreed of a Frenchman in his hat, I wandered the streets looking for a café that had an impressive menu. Cafes were aplenty; food was not. All cafes seem to serve the same 5 main courses. Very little choice, very bland food and yes, they speak only French in France.