We had a great flight from Adelaide to Paris, where we set up the WBG pop-up bar on the Emirates 380 business class. On our arrival we went straight through immigrations and customs, which amazed us both. There are lots of security guards everywhere, which is fine by us.
The snow covered mountains over Turkey were a brilliant white as far as you could see.
We travelled to the outskirts of Paris and bought our new Adria, Matrix Platinum 670 SBC motorhome which we pick up on Friday 17th March, after it has been fitted with an enclosed awning on the side, reverse cycle air con (it has gas heating already fittered), large GPS and security alarms /lock. It is on www.campingcar-77.com under motorhomes-new.
Sue, outside the Louvre. It took nearly an hour to get in on the last free Sunday until October, but well worth it to look at the breadth of the collection.
Michael, with his new French hat in a beautiful park near the Palais Royale. Lots of daffodils already in flower and other bulbs just poking through. Roll on Spring! It has been raining most of the days in Paris, and we mean raining all day!
Champagne / red wine time....people watching. The cafes and networks of arcades calles 'passages' are cosy and offer great browsing of old books, antique oddities and artwork.
This is the restaurant we had a long lunch in yesterday. Twenty-two people in a little upstairs room and we were the only non-French speakers. We had the Plat du Jour (classics of escargot, boeff bourgionne and duck confit) and also une coupe de champagne. Delicious! Michael embarassed himself by asking for a glass of 'french champagne'. Doh!
And again. There was a mass going on, but how anyone could concentrate with all the tourists milling around is a wonder.
Every window is stained glass and they are spectacular.
Sue doing what we've been doing....walking, walking, walking. We use the Metro occasionally when we want to be efficient, but you miss so much of the ambience and all those intruiging and surprising sights.
Sue and Michael working on our plan for France. We are really looking forward to Grubie arriving on the 10th, although she might not like sitting in the cafes when its only 10 degrees.
Michael visited the Mona Lisa. Well, you just have to really! Sue spent ages looking at the paintings, especially from France and Northern Europe. Most seemed to be of religious topics, at least until the 18th century, although the works of Arcimboldo are always a refreshing change.
Inside the Louvre, often the architecture is as fascinating as the exhibits. There is an interactive exhibit about the history of the building itself, from fortress to royal palace to museum.
There are floors and floors of marble sculptures from all over the world and across many centuries.
Roman marble scupture
Many of the paintings in the Louvre are on a huge scale.
Sue had a wonderful time browsing the bookshops of the arcades.
Michael made new friends in a little bar /cafe next door to our appartment
Our appartment is just to the left of the bar/cafe on the second floor
We spent ten days in Paris, enjoying playing tourist for some part of every day while we also organised our lives as travellers. While the weather was cool and it rained heavily all day on a couple of days, there was still plenty to enjoy. There were fewer tourists, so access to all the sights was easy - the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, Monmartre, Eiffel Tower and more. We walked for miles every day, loving the surprise of a monument or statue or a stunning historic building around every corner.
We had a very roomy, warm and convenient appartment about 15 minutes walk from the Louvre in the 2nd arrondissement, with so many cafes, bars and restaurants within walking distance. We loved the champagne, wine and food - the quality was consistently good everywhere and we had a few standout dinners.
Michael couldn't help himself! I think he took this photo to annoy his mates on FaceBook.
While we were in Paris we were really counting down to the arrival of Grubie, the wonder cavoodle. We hired a car and went to Charles de Gaulle to pick her up. She was travelling for 72 hours, with a stop over in the Dubai 'dog hilton' and we were nervous about how she would go. She arrived in top shape, alert and calm - until she saw us, then we all went nuts!
Thank you so much to Lindy and JB for looking after her and getting her on the plane in great shape. Thanks also to Ian and Kathie at Animal Travel for making sure it all went smoothly.
Once we picked up Grubie we headed to Epernay, in Champagne-Ardenne, staying at a little AirBnB in the midst of the vineyards 2k from Avenue du Champagne. It was very quiet and cosy, with friendly hosts who spoke very little English (but better than our French). The yard had 5 chooks and 2 huge geese, so Grubie has had to stay on her lead. She is dying to go hunting!
We enjoyed some rare sunny weather while in Epernay, so we took the opportunity to enjoy a champagne tasting on the Avenue du Champagne. Grubie got into the swing of being 'un gentile chien' immediately, atracting lots of pats. The architecture along this stretch of champagne houses is stunning! It's worth a visit just for that. There are 110km of caves under the city of Epernay, housing 200 million bottles of champagne just waiting to be popped!
Our AirBnB hosts, Phillipe and Rosa invited us to their home for 'aperitifs'. They pour very generous whiskies and wines and Rosa is an amazing cook. We had a great conversation, thanks to a combination of charades and the translating apps on our phones. We would recommend their 'Chambre au milieu des Vignes' in Epernay.
Michael was very taken with the dispenser from Portugal, filled with a delicious white port. Philippe is a very keen rugby supporter and tried to talk Michael into attending a local game.
We are picking up our motor home next Friday. The payment and registration have gone through and the optional extras are currently being fitted. We are now looking around at things to fit it out and organising insurance.Soon the adventure will be underway........