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Fifty shades of grey nomad- part 8

Unchain my heart

Mavis Davis with ‘the Princess’ and company explore Paris

The day started early with a bus trip to Toulouse airport to catch a plane to Paris. The early start took its toll on our pious group but those who didn’t slide back into slumber sat in awe watching the sun rise through the mystical fog, as our valiant bus driver navigated the traffic.

The plane trip was mercifully short. After the Princess’s monologue about the requirement to navigate a short flight of stairs on the way to our rooms, I carried both our suitcases upstairs, lifted her suitcase onto the desk and we all settled in quickly.

Once fortified by a light crepe lunch, the Princess and I ventured out to visit the wonderful Musee D’Orsay, marvelling at the artworks and the view of the enchanting city of Paris.

The nearby bridge, the Pont Des Artes groaned under the strain of the infamous lovelocks attached to bridge railings.  We were aware of the lovelocks, consisting of millions of locks, engraved or marked with the initials of the lovers, attached to the bridge, the keys immediately discarded into the swift flowing Seine River; however nothing prepares one for the magnitude of the problem.

The sign requesting lovers to stop this practice is ignored, especially by the many and sundry purveyors of locks and permanent marker pens. A sign ineffectually bleats “OUR BRIDGES CAN NO LONGER WITHSTAND YOUR GESTURES OF LOVE. NO MORE LOVE LOCKS! Unchain your love on”. This request for lovers to declare their love online appears to go unnoticed.

The next day was very exciting, the main highlight being meeting up with our relatives from Germany. Our cousins travelled on a quick two hour train journey to Paris (as you do), and we met at the North Pier of the Eiffel Tower, to join our tour group for lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel.

We experienced a brief delay because two of the teenage cousins were reluctant to temporarily relinquish their state-of-the-art skateboards, which are apparently forbidden in the restaurant.

After some gentle, but charming, pressure from our tour guide, Nagis, the staff at the restaurant at the Eiffel tower were extremely accommodating and ensured we had tables next to each other so that we could eat the magnificent fare of ‘chic picnic’ (and wines to match) with relatives we hadn’t seen for 14 years.  Our tour group seemed as excited as we were.

FIGJAM, our tour director, had two extra tickets and really made the day of a young British couple, chosen by random, to join us, thus negating hours of queueing and a spectacular free lunch.

After lunch, and hoping to delay the inevitable separation, we prepared for a long walk around Paris with our cousins. First stop was a foot selfie on the perspex platform, marvelling at the tiny antlike creatures visible below. I am informed by a reliable source that this is a legitimate form of selfie apparently called flanking. On further investigation, I have discovered a Facebook account dedicated to foot selfies and their connoisseurs.

We walked and walked, enjoying the attractions on the banks of the Seine, stopping for ice cream and drinks at the café FIAT which was an interesting mix of café and luxury car showroom.

Suitably fortified we passed Cartier, Chanel and their ilk along Rue Faubourg St. Honore, saying tearful goodbyes at Place Vendome. At this point the Princess was faint with exertion, which necessitated a substantial meal of toast with duck paté and steak at most delightful art deco Capuchin restaurant.

To be continued

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