It took just two hours to get to Paris by train from our quiet backwater of south west France. It sped through fields and chequered countryside and stopped once at Poitiers. We arrived just in time for an allongee at a nearby cafe and carefully planned our day. We had both been to Paris before with our darlings and decided to stick to just one district. We headed by Metro to the Champs-Elysées to hit the museums and the shops. Culture and credit card vulture in one hit - a perfect combination.
We visited the Grand Palais Museum first, an impressive building with a huge glass dome at the top. Apparently the Germans parked their tanks under it in the last war. What a cheek! There was a huge queue outside and we nestled at the back and snaked our way to the main door to view an Irving Penn Exhibition.
He was a Vogue photographer in his time and there were many striking black and white photographs of famous people and models. Audrey Hepburn looked delicious as per normal, and I smiled when I viewed a very young Richard Burton. Was so nice to have a little bit of Wales on show in this chic City.
There was the usual room full of French nudity and original copies of books and magazines lay in pristine glass cases. A video of the photographer in action was on a high wall at the top of a sweeping staircase. It was all very enlightening!
Lunch time beckoned and we rushed over the road to the Petit Palais, its sister museum. This building was even more impressive. Huge ornate gold gates at the front, beautifully painted vaulted ceilings inside.
The most incredible feeling of space. An exotic courtyard sat in the middle of the building with a very smart restaurant. We queued and feasted on salmon, mashed sweet potato and salade des fruits. My halo almost fell off in my plate!!!
We then viewed amazing paintings by artists we had never heard of. Oh Les Anglais!!!! 17th Century furniture that would not have been out of place in Versailles and cabinets of dainty Staffordshire pottery made for the French market, well before we were born.
All cultured out we headed for the main street in Champs-Elysées. It's uphill to the Arc de Triomphe so it was necessaire to switch to my emergency shoes in my large chocolate brown handbag (flat fold up ballet pumps, yes really!). We refuelled with peach Kirs in George's Bar and luckily we got the HOT waiter!!! Voila!!
A young woman in a black velvet dress and donning high heels, sped past us on the pavement on an electric bike. She was being chased by a young man with a video recorder. As she rushed past we viewed the back of her dress which was backless and braless. She looked so gorgeous. Only in Paris!! Now fully motivated I put my heels back on and soldiered on. Most of the shops were quite uninviting with bouncers on the doors, the biggest queue being outside the sport shirt shop. (Try saying that after two Kirs!!).
We headed back to Montparnasse tired and hungry (with crippling feet). A leisurely champagne for me and a cocktail for Debs - fuel, then we sped off down the side streets to where the Parisians eat. We decided on a small Middle Eastern snack shop selling fresh falafel in a homemade flatbread with crunchy salad. It's not very French I know but it's difficult to find falafel where we live!! A gooey baklava and sugary mint tea followed. The halo slipped off!!!!!
We rushed to get our train, which then meandered noisily through the cool dark night and took us both safely home. A very successful day and our next trip is already planned (flea markets and not so touristy shopping) but I must remember to wear sensible shoes - or hire an electric bike!!
Next week I will be back to earth in the garden. (Excuse the pun!).
See you then.
I'm just a Welsh girl living in France- with an uncontrollable writing habit!!!!!
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