Padlocked in Paris

Things you can do with a Pretzel

Ah Paris; the cafes, the gilded palaces, the shopping, the more shopping, the Moulin Rouge, the back street bars, the strange behaviour of my family on the loose (or on the hooch as Son would say)…

The Eurostar was the only disappointing thing about our weekend. I had imagined some streamline modern version of the Venice -Simplon Express. Sadly, what we got was a grubby Mad-Max style grey train,   with an understocked buffet car and a madam of a Madam behind the counter.  But bah humbug to that, my little family of four went to Paris!

We stayed in the Hotel du Louvre – a charming place located right next to The Louvre Museum.

The view from our room

The metro was seconds from our door, the Galleries Lafayette and the Champs Elysee both within walking distance and the Eiffel Tower in all its glittering splendour just a hop and a skip down the river.

Not just any shop....Galleries Lafayette

Our first night in town, we went for a stroll along the river and found a bridge covered in padlocks left  by  lovers – it was charming and, though we didn’t know it then, lodged in Son’s head. We were stunned by the splendour of the Galleries Lafayette and had to recover  in a  curry house where we found our terrible French didn’t matter because Indian menus are the same the world over.  Afterwards, we meant to head back to the hotel  for an early night, and we sort of did, via the Cafe Comedie for obligatory Champagne, finally landing in the hotel bar.

New installation in the gardens


What every Palace needs, donkeys.
Part of Marie Antoinette's 'village'.

The following day we ventured to Versailles on the RER – a sort of double-decker version of the London Overground.  The Palace  is incredible – it knocks Buck House into a cocked hat. However, though the grandour was indesputable – I do think  the French miss a trick selling their history – we managed to leave Versailles having failed to map out the history of the French Royal family or where the Treaty of Versailles ( either one of them) was signed.  Son was bored witless ( which has never happened visiting an historic house elsewhere) but he recovered in the gardens.  There’s a  huge amount of space for a boy to run about in and the bizarre English village that was Marie-Antoinette’s playground was hugely entertaining being both bonkers  AND full of small animals.

Tres Bon

Friday night we went to the Moulin Rouge – the food was superb, the service fabulous, the show spectacular – girls swimming with snakes, a talking dog, incredible dancing, a record breaking juggler and the original French CanCan. Feathers and sequins and foof of all kinds – completely wonderful – an institution and rightly so.

Saturday our party split – the boys went off to the Musee D’Armee the highlight of which seems to have been some armour belonging to tiny baby  King Louis the Something,  right up to a full grown man version …though yet again Son felt let down on the history – despite having audio guides that were actual Ipod Touchs (his current most coveted device)  their ‘way coolness’ was let down by a failure to fully utilise the potential of the technology.

Daughter and I, meanwhile,  went in search of Flea Markets in the north of the city at Porte de Clignancourt. Despite me being a massive idiot and failing to see a huge blue arrow that said ‘Flea Markets’,  we managed to find our way to the tumble of alleyways that make up the various different markets – it was heaven for a forager. Daughter indulged her love of vintage clothes and found the stallholders , mostly, very willing to bargain.

It's a potato brooch. She bought it, obviously.

When Daughter and I got back to the Old Quarter, we went to the Louvre – she was all excited to see the Mona Lisa, then all disappointed, the other paintings being ‘Way better’ apparently. The Venus de Milo perked her up for a bit but then, light weight that she is, she went back to the hotel  for a nap and I got to wander the Louvre for a couple of hours on my own – wonderful.

That evening we took a trip on the Bateaux Parisian – what could have been  cheesy was chic and welcoming thanks to our lovely waitress Sandra. Under the glow of the Eiffel Tower we set off down the river, ate fabulous food, drank champagne cocktails and laughed so hard we nearly wet ourselves. It is entirely possible we let down our nation with our complete lack of decorum. Sorry about that, especially to the  French man who was sat behind us, (though if you’d try talking to your wife a little more,  you might have found us less annoying).

During dinner we realised we had all done something we really wanted to do except Son. Beloved had his Army Museum, I had the Louvre,  Daughter had her Vintage purchases. What did Son want to do that was all his?

‘I want to put a padlock on that bridge for our family.’

Pont des Arts

On a Sunday morning, with not much time to spare,  we could only find one lock. We took it to the bridge and wound it though the fence. We should be able to find it again, it’s pretty obvious which one the Evans’ family left.

It's not just Lovers who Love.
The council might not like it but we do :O)

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Nick Cross says:

    Ah, the problem of finding a suitable padlock in a foreign city 🙂 I think you did a fabulous job with that one, though – very distinctive!

  2. Wonderful – I want to go to Paris and do all of that. SOLD.

    In fact I tried once – we went to Paris for our first wedding anniversary. New husband decided he didn’t need to book dinner in advance on the Bateaux Parisian, that the Moulin Rouge would be horrible and he refused to go near a flea market.

    Our Eurostar was four hours late, so all restaurants were closed by the time we got there, our hotel was a hell hole, our actual annivesary dinner was in whatever restaurant we could get into last minute, then we forgot to change our watches, so we missed the reservation by an hour anyway. We couldn’t afford any of the shopping and I’m pretty sure it rained.

    Maybe I should give Paris another chance. Possibly without Andy!

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Oh No! Lovely idea gone horribly wrong. Funnily enough my son was worried about the naked ladies…really it’s a lot like and upmarket circus – it hugely exceeded my expectations – not at all seedy – wait until Maisie’s older then you can do the flea markets together – Em’s spent 50 euros and bought a pair of 50’s shorts, a seventies skirt and a vintage couture jacket!

      Must be honest and say I had planned most of the weekend before we went – get so little time off I new I needed to make the best of it. Mind you , you must have enjoyed the architecture – the city is just beautiful….

  3. How fabulous. You obviously had a wonderful time. A great account.

  4. rob says:

    What a wonderfully described and hilarious account of your trip! It sounds like you had a great time…I’ve always had a secret desire to visit the ‘pointy tree garden’ at versaille ever since Napoleon first clapped eyed on its splendour and uttered those immortal lines ‘…thats class that is!’
    I have a notion to visit the Rodin Museum again and to be stunned by the sublime beauty of a Japanese girl I once met on the steps of the Sacred Heart 20 years ago. I had also been reading J.G. Ballards, ‘Empire of the Sun’ at the time and through the glaring sunlit afternoon this exquisite creature came towards me, and asked me in a broad Mancunian accent – “ow do I get t’Pompydooo t’centre?” It turned out she wasn’t Japanese but third generation British Chinese and her name was Mei Ling ….all very exotic…ahh Paris…

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Lol! Ah Paris indeed – can’t believe it took me 40 years to get there. ( Not literally, the Eurostar wasn’t THAT bad.)

  5. Hi Mrs. Evans,
    We hope you had a nice stay in our hôtel. I can see that you had a great view from your room !
    Best regards,
    Pierre Fauret, Social Media Manager

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      We had a wonderful time – thank you so much – have already recommended you to friends and hope we get to come back very soon :O)
      PS The band in the bar on Friday night were great and the guy behind tending the bar was so busy and efficient – we were VERY impressed!

  6. Sue Hyams says:

    What a lovely delightful happy post! Sounds and looks like you had a wonderful time!

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