Saturday, August 20, 2016

Interlude in Paris

The ghastly ducks quacking on Lorraine's phone this morning, and I slumped down to make us tea before our epic journey back to Blighty. A last pack and clear out, and then to the car. Dropped our recycling off, then Lorraine drove us to NĂ®mes under a leaden sky. Made excellent time, and despite being a bit stressed by having to buy petrol (first find a petrol station, which was tricky) and ridiculous things like having to queue for ages for the men's loos at the station, and finding it hard to get onto the platform, we made our train in time, and headed off to Paris.

France for the most part swathed in low cloud, skimming the hills and blocking the views. The train did not serve coffee today, so we had a breakfast of coke and small pieces of cake. Made Paris Gare de Lyon on time, and then caught the metro up to Gare du Nord. Eventually we found the left luggage place, dropped our cases off there fore a few hours and sauntered out into Paris.  Ended up on the Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis after walking about in what seemed quite an African area, passing hairdressers with dozens of well dressed African ladies having their hair fixed. We found a bistro called Le Napoleon. We had wine and food there. I had the best of it I think, with an onion soup with a melted cheese topping, and duck and fried potatoes. Sat in Le Napoleon for a couple of hours. A lively argument breaking out on the street outside at one point, which everyone seemed to enjoy, and others sitting at tables chatting for hours too. At one point a man came and sat on the pavement opposite, who I photographed below. A lot of need in Paris, people begging or with mental health problems very noticeable to the stranger. No worse than London though.

Then back to Gare du Nord, gathered our cases, and went through passport control. Drank some cold beer there. Then we boarded and had a game of scrabble on the train ending just after we popped out of the English end of the tunnel. Hopped off and then caught the train to Brighton. After a few stops it filled with drunken, drugged people heading off to Brighton for a night out. By the time they burst out at Brighton, they were almost incomprehensibly off their faces. Wandered what someone from France newly arrived would make of them.

A taxi home, arriving a bit before 11.  It had been a long journey. Beth sleepily in bed, Calliope incredibly vocal when we got back.  Ate some pizza and drank a final drink, and repaired to our own comfortable, cool bed. Bliss.

Below a man on a busy street in Paris.

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