Thursday, October 4, 2007

We arrived in Paris on Sunday night, September 30 and took the Metro to our hotel, which is located in Chatelet, close to Pont Neuf and Notre Dame. Once we got settled in our rooms we met up with Dan and Rebecca and set out in search of a place to eat. There are many choices, but everyone was a little tired and hungry so we picked an Italian restaurant in nearby Les Halles, a very busy shopping area with a busy night life. Wine flowed freely and before long we were all feeling pretty good and very happy to be in Paris, a city where every way you look is a piece of art. After dinner we set out for a walk along the River Seine towards the Eiffel Tower. It turned out to be a long walk, but full of beautiful sights. We ran into lots of inebriated Irish drowning their sorrows after losing in a rugby match to Argentina. Natalie selected high heals for her first walk about in Paris, against my advice, I might add - a big mistake! She ended up barefoot, and the next thing I knew an Irishman was giving her a foot massage, with the best intentions, I'm sure. By the time we climbed the stairs to the Palais des Congress (littered with more revellers) we conceded defeat to the walk and hailed a taxi. We asked the driver to take us to our hotel via the Champs Elysees, making for a spectacular ending to a perfect day. The following day (Monday), we spent at the Villepinte Exposition Park - a massive conference centre out near the airport. We spent the better part of the day looking at spa products and equipment. There certainly is no shortage of choice. One of the more exciting areas was the "green" area, full of "Eco-Cert" products made with natural and organic ingredients. After returning to our hotel for a rest, we set out on foot to Sacre Coeur, a spectacular basilica overlooking the city. Just as we completed our trek and made a final dash up the last set of stairs, a thunderstorm erupted. We all took this opportunity to lose ourselves in this beautiful and holy place. One member of our party was brought to tears, she was so moved. When the rain let up, we assembled with the intention of making the last part of our journey to Montmarte to have some dinner and check out some of the art on display in this area. Unfortunately, in all the commotion we lost Chef Christopher. We had arranged that if anyone got lost they would leave a message in a prearranged voicemail box, failing which they would return to the hotel. I looked everywhere for a pay phone, and finally found one after walking at least 3 miles. I guess cell phones are making phone booths obsolete. Not finding a message from Chef, I returned to the group and we decided to head back to the hotel, where we found Chef, who had arrived a few minutes before us. I was really proud of him - finding your way around Paris is not an easy task. We went out for a pizza supper in our neighbourhood once again, and turned in for the night. On
Tuesday we set out for Notre Dame and then to the Chateau Versailles. There really isn't any point trying to describe either of these places - you just have to experience them. For me, visiting Versailles and Marie Antoinette's Maison after seeing the movie by the same name, was exciting. In previous visits I'd never been able to find her collection of buildings. They are quite unique. One can't help but feel for her - she must have had a lonely life. That night everyone was really tired, which made for an early night. Dave, Chef and I went out for some sushi, a nice light meal to end another perfect day in Paris.

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