And so the end finally arrived. I knew it would end eventually and I suppose it's best to end while the going is good but it doesn't stop it from being terribly sad.
My last day with the girls was lots of fun. We went with Ludo and Fantiq to Acrochat which is like Junglemania or whatever your childhood children's indoor play centre was called. It was so much fun running up and down and around and around and going down slides. Even the girls had a good time! Loll!!!11! That evening the family went off for a weekend away while I stayed at home to pack and meet my big sister who was coming for the final weekend. After I had waved them off I went back into the house and after only a few minutes the phone rang and I heard this little voice at the other end saying 'Hello, hello?' It was Saskia.
'Hello Saskia, are you ok?'
'Eleanor, I'm a bit sad.'
"Oh dear, why are you a bit sad Saskia?'
'Because you're not coming with us.'
What a tug at the heart strings. What a wonderful girl. Why am I leaving?
The next day I finally got to go the Orangerie which is an exhibition space by Concorde where you can see Monet's big waterlily paintings. It's a great space, very impressive, very beautiful. And below the rooms with the Monet painting was a series of more impressionist works. I went with Mairi so as an art student she was able to tell me a little bit about some of the artists, her favorite paintings. It makes it so much more fascinating. That is something I am so grateful for this year, that I have had the chance to learn about art. And what a place to learn. What a cliché but hey nevermind.
Alice arrived the next morning and our first port of call was the catacombs. When I went before I walked straight in, no queue. This time we got out of the metro and saw huge mass of people and I thought this can't possibly be for the catacombs. Well it was. We were going to attempt the queue but then a man came round and said the queue was about 2 hours long and not all of the catacombs were open. So that put an end to that. Just another excuse for Alice to go back another time. Instead we went to Musée Rodin and Hotel des Invalides as we were kind of nearby. We then strolleda round St Germain des Près and I showed Alice all the rich and bourgeois Parisians. We walked past the Christian Louboutin shop, Balenciaga, Dior, they're all there, the big names. And then I though ha, I know where we can go. Now I'm reluctant to tell you really because it's such a great surprise. I was taken to this place as a surprise and was gobsmacked when I walked in. But I suppose I won't be having any more guests to Paris now so I will tell you. It's a shop called Deyrolles. On the ground floor it looks like a gardening shop. Then you walk upstairs and you realise it's actually a taxidermy shop. Suddenly you're surrounded by wild animals, lion, polar bear, brown bear, giraffe, tiger. And everything is for sale. Now I wouldn't want any of that in my house but as a kind of natural history museum, it's amazing. And it had the desired effect on Alice. You must visit.
We also came across a protest whilst we walking through St Germain and just as we were wondering what it was for a lady came up to us and asked us the same question, with a microphone in hand. She was a reporter for radio France bleu and she wanted to ask us a few questions about what we thought about the situation for homeless people in Paris, as that was what it was about. So I managed to stumble my way through a response about how there is a very evident disparity between the rich and the poor in Paris and how it is much more hidden/not such a big problem in the UK. The lady even praised my French! What a compliment.
We ended the evening with a feast from La Grande Epicerie, eaten back home, before settling in for an early night to profit from the following day - the Tour de France...