Thursday, June 26, 2008

Farewell Italy, Hello Paris!!

The Last day in Paradise!! Leaving Tuscany

Up and an easy start. We didn't want to leave until midday so ther

e was time to pack and clean. To Florence, where we dropped the car, “left” the luggage and just wandered around one of our favourite places. It was a bit hot so we didn't do too much - went through the Duomo and ate our packed food in Place della Signoria before heading to Stazione for dinner, decamped to Campo di Monte (Florence's second railway station) where we waited for our (late) overnight train to France. While it was somewhat cramped and crowded we all managed some sleep in our “couchettes” before arriving in Paris a

round 10.30.

Paris – in the Springtime (well almost!! - early summer!)

Our little flat in Rue Jean Beausire (just off Bastille) is just fine. It is light a

nd airy and is just right for the four of us.After showers and a quick lunch we headed off for a taste of this new delight. Together around 8 for dinner at a nearby restaurant with Genevieve (MaryAnn's schoolchum and best friend who lives in Paris) and Kate (likewise MaryAnn's longtime friend and cousin of Gen – from Oz but here for the same wedding as MaryAnn).

It was a great night to be out. Almost like NYE!! It was a Festival of Music which encourages musicians of all genres to perform for free – so every back alley, archway and bridge resonated to rock, hip-hop, classical, bagpipes, flugelhorn, organ, accordian, folk etc. it was quite amazing. We wandered for ages through huge friendly crowds – there was still light in the sky at 11.15 p.m. A terrific way to begin!!

The next day we were up surprisingly early and off to the markets at Richard Lenoir to play at being Pariesiens stocking up for the next few days. It is a great market with a wide variety of food really well patronised. In the afternoon we joined a small walking tour around Pigalle with an entertaining English gent who has lived here for forty years – the tour focused on Piaf, Jane Avril et les autres femmes de l'etage. It was good fun and a different way to go!

Paris is for wandering, looking and enjoying and that is what we have done in various combinations. Sung Mass at Notre Dame; Musee Carnevalet; an evening chamber concert n Sainte Chapelle; Latin Quarter; Marais; lots of river views and bridges; coffee and crowd watching and more to come!!!

Mick achieved a lifelong ambition by riding his Velib (commuter bicyclette) across the Place de la Concorde, a full lap of the Champs Elysees (including around the Arc) and along the river. The locals were confused as to whether he was Stuey, Robbie or Greg Norman(he wore his Akubra!) and all that was missing was the maillot jaune!!! (For authenticity sake it is acknowledged that this video was actually shot at Bastille - he really did the Champs!!))

MaryAnn left us today (Wednesday) for the family wedding in the South but the three musketeers are carrying on!!!

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