Tuesday, 23 August 2011

This is the end (Part 2)

Sunday. The penultimate day. And what a day. The sun was shining, the Tour de France was coming into Paris and the family were coming back to L'Etang.
We started the day in the Marais where I had to take Alice, not so much for the beautiful cobbled streets, the boutique shops and the chic cafes, but for the falafels. We joined the queue for L'As du Falafel, soon joined by Flo who was in Paris for the weekend and ordered our feast of falafels and tons of veg in a pitta (Alice was so taken with this that she recreated it for us back home in England).
We then decided to go to the Paris Mosque before going to the Champs Elysses to see the cyclists come in, but as we arrived at Gare d'Austerlitz we saw that the Tour cars were beginning to come in and there was not much of a crowd. We reasoned we would have a much better view of the Tour here so decided to stay as they were meant to be arriving in the next 40 mins. So we got our spot and waited. And waited. And waited. An hour and a half later we finally got what we wanted. A helicopter flew overhead and all of a sudden there was a big WHOOSH and the pelaton whizzed past us. It was an impressive sight, even if we did wait a bit long...

We then pottered over to the mosque, through the Jardin des Plantes (Paris' botanical gardens) and took our mint tea in the courtyard garden. By this time, it was getting late and we needed to get back to have dinner and rejoin the family. So we took one last stroll through the Latin Quarter, through the old greek arena, past rue des Descartes, to the Pantheon and saw one of my favourite views of the Eiffel Tower, and into the Luxembourg gardens where there was a free Chopin concert being performed.
Capital cities are amazing. We saw some of the most wonderful sights and we had barely even covered one quartier of Paris. I hope I won't get bored not living there.

We arrived back at the house to have the apertitif with the family and some friends and talk about our respective weekends. We had champagne in the garden followed by a dance show from the girls. I wish I'd filmed it, it was too cute. And then to bed for the final time in Paris...

Monday was spent doing last minute packing and playing with the girls. Alice had brought over the game Tummyache, which was one of our favourite childhood games, as a present for the girls, so we spent lots of time playing with that. Alice fast became the girls new favourite playmate so I was left feeling a bit redundant. How fickle children are. But when we got into the car as they took me to the station, Saskia cried and said 'I don't want Eleanor to go.' Yes! I am still the favourite!

It was very sad to say goodbye and there were tears, hugs and promises to be back as soon as possible. And then we went. The end of a fabulous year. What more could you ask for. A great family, great friends and great memories. Thank you Paris. Thank you Kirsten and Romain. I will miss you.

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