Enroute: St. Fréchoux to Paris.
Saturday, October 9th, 2004: Enroute to Paris, France
October 8: St. Fréchoux to Issoire: 265 kilometres
Overnight in an Ibis hotel in the middle of nowhere. Beers in the lobby before a mediocre dinner at a French “Ponderosa” style steakhouse restaurant before going back to the Ibis lobby for more beers and the company of a rollicking British couple Glynn and Marcelle. Bed late/up early.
October 9: Issoire to Paris: 455 kilometres
Ahhhh, Paris. Wonderful, glamorous Paris. Hustling and bustling Paris. The Paris that is so far from St. Fréchoux, Paris. And why is it that every time we come to this magical city it rains? There is a constant and persistent rain pelting the City of Light as we arrive in the early afternoon but it is the kind of rain only the wonderful city of Paris can pull off. The romantic “Paris is for lovers” kind of rain that doesn’t even get you wet. You know what I’m talking about.
We have rented a garret right in the heart of Paris: rue de l’Odeon and boulevard St. Germain, near St. Germain des Pres, and what it lacks in some amenities, it makes up in its location and is a fabulous spot from which to explore Paris. We are feeling lucky to be in such a busy and glamorous arrondissement, so close to everything Parisian. We unload the car amongst the very chic shoppers and Saturday strollers and lug our bags to the very top, top of the building before we drop our car at the apartment of our friends Francois and John. We met them in Croatia and they have graciously offered us their parking spot for our ten days here. They live on the Quai de la Seine near the Gare du Nord and we have a surprisingly easy drive through Paris to get to their apartment.
The car safe and secure, we quickly get caught up with John (Francois is at work) before we head back downtown to our garret to do some organizing before our dinner rendezvous with our Toronto friends Bill and Bob, who are also in Paris at the moment. We weren’t supposed to be in Paris quite yet; we were going to explore Bordeaux, but when we heard they were going to be in Paris right now, we changed our plans to spend some time in Paris with them.
The garret organized, we take the Metro to the Place de la Republique where Bob and Bill are staying. They have a great B&B overlooking the Place and it is very Parisian: a dark, winding, dangerous stairway included. They too are on the very top floor, and we huff and puff our way up the ancient stairwell to the top.
We have our traditional martini(s) before dinner in Bill and Bob’s room and we head out into the Marais for a rollicking Saturday night dinner, with lots of wine, toasts, and stories to welcome us to Paris.