Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Paris, France

Well, I've plucked up the courage to tackle my Paris trip on Squish Pages. We crammed a lot into those 6 days, which is why I've been putting it off for so long. But what I'll do is write until I write too much, then, the rest will go into another post.

To set the scene, Gregg wanted to go to Paris to see the work of one of his favourite architects who went by the name Le Corbusier. He had a lot of buildings in Paris and the plan was to see as many as possible in the time given. For me and Dan B, it was a trip to a great city; no more excuse needed. In the end we only saw 2 buildings:-

The house on the left is called Villa Savoye. A 3 bed house, just outside Paris, with servant quarters and integral garage and was built, believe it or not, in 1929! On the right, a chapel called, Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp. Built in 1954 and is in east France near the Swiss border.

The Trip

In usual Gregg and Sacha style, the only thing booked prior to leaving the UK was the Eurostar train journey to Paris and back. Just the way I like it; kinetic, unpredictable and exciting. The train out of Kings Cross was leaving the station at 3.30pm on Saturday 1st December. I awoke at 11am and had to pack my case. As it was I only and ready to leave my house 45 minutes before the train's departure and only reached Kings Cross 10 minutes before the train drew out of the platform. In fact we played a trick on Dan, who was waiting at the new Ebbsfleet International station, by pretending that I had arrived too late, and that Gregg and I would try and catch the next service and meet up with Dan in Paris. In fact we arrived at Ebbsfleet from Kings Cross so rapidly that we had to hurriedly ring Dan to ensure he was actually on the platform and ready to board the train!

We arrived in Paris's Gard du Nord with nowhere to stay that night, or indeed any night. However Gregg had a 2 year old Paris guide and the email address of the owner of some apartment's. Our first call to a local hotel bore no fruit but we got lucky on our second call. We had somewhere for the night, in the morning we would find an internet cafe and email a request for one of the apartments. That night we had dinner near the Pompidou centre, then took a walk to find a club Gregg had been to once before. He remembered it being on the banks of the Seine underneath the arches of one of its bridges. We eventually found it by about 1am and joined the already substantial queue. Its obvious that this place was quite exclusive and once at the head of the queue a burly doorman says something to us in French. By our blank stares it only takes moments for him to work out we may not be French. A lady doorman asked, in English, how many of us were there; we indicated 3 of us. To which they looked us up and down a few times then said, 'Sorry. It is not possible.'

We immediately walked away. Maybe because we were trying to get in by disguising our 'English' we took the knock-back as being caught, but as we walked on, we pondered on the fact that we were all dressed incredibly smart, we had money and we're not exactly spotty teens. Why were we not let in? Nevertheless we had to find another venue and fast. We were sobering up, and Paris at 2am is as cold as London at 2am. We headed to Pigalle, where we knew of an all-night club. I think we got back to our hotel at 5am.

to be continued...


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