Paris - a flat in Le Marais
26 Novembre 2016
Paris is the city of light and one of the most romantic cities in the world. Apparently. Not if you arrive after damn near 40 hours of travelling and all you want to do is eat and sleep. But Paris is Paris. We finally got back after an absence of 10 years. This time with our own kids. Last time we had to baby sit someone else's kids while they went out on a romantic River Seine cruise and dinner. We had Chinese food in a pokey hotel room. Parisian Chinese food, which wasn't too bad though. So kind of romantic for some definitions of romantic.
But we came back. 10 years and two children later. This time we are parents and therefore full time baby sitters. We still wouldn't do a romantic River Seine cruise but overpriced Michelin Starred fine dining was on the cards. Also on the cards was getting some warm clothes. We did come prepared for the European Winter but we weren't as prepared as we thought we were. When did it get this cold in November in Paris? It was freezing. The kids were cold, Michelle was cold, and even I was starting to re-think my usual tee shirt and light jacket. The first thing on the agenda, after eating and sleeping, was finding the the closest Uni-Glo store for some sort of cheap down jackets. Anything. Just as long as it was warm.
But warmer clothes were the next day's priority. Our flights from Australia were delayed so much, instead of arriving in the morning it was late in the afternoon. We'd booked an over night stay in Abu Dhabi then the flight scheduled changed and that went out the window. Then we were hours late leaving Melbourne because, get this, no clean fuel. Something had happened to all the jet fuel in Melbourne so planes were being diverted all over the place. Flights, like ours, leaving Melbourne were diverted to Perth or Sydney to re-fuel. It had been 2 years since we'd been back to Sydney so we were lucky enough to see it from the tarmac for a hour or two. In the end we were 6 hours late leaving Australia. Then we missed our connection in Abu Dhabi but to give Etihad some credit they were proactive in organising later connecting flights so when we arrived in Abu Dhabi they just handed us our new boarding pass for a new connection to Paris. First world problems. Anyway, we made it to Paris late and that only left time to check into our Airbnb apartment and find somewhere to eat.
We picked a small place in the Le Marais because the Le Marais is hip and happening and close to the essentials - coffee and food. It's also a historical area of Paris and close to the Seine where we wouldn't be having a romantic cruise. Again. I didn't realise till I went for a stroll that we were staying only a few hundred metres from the hotel we stayed at on our first visit to Paris. That hotel, and most of the others in the area, are way more expensive now than 10 years ago. But even back then there was only two of us. Now there are four. More people, more beds. More beds, more expensive. For us the only option was Airbnb or not coming to Paris. Okay, two options.
The flat we chose was tiny and expensive but still more room and half the price of a cheap hotel. I'm pretty sure if I was a tad taller or weighed a fraction more there would be no way I'd be able to get into the shower. As it was it was squeezy. I'm pretty sure the acrobatics required to pick up the soap after dropping it would get me in to Cirque du Soleil. The kitchen and the living area / bedroom were squeezy too. Once the sofa bed was layed out for Georgia and a travel cot for Brandy all the available floor space was taken up with our bags. You wouldn't want to be stumbling around in the dark and bang your shin hard on the bed hard enough to leaving suppurating wound that would last for weeks. You might scream loud enough to wake the neighbours if they hadn't had their French talk back radio turned up to eleven and going all night every night we were there. But we did have free WiFi. And fridge for fresh milk so I could make my Milo. Oh yes, I brought a kilo or two of Milo with me.
After flight delays and missed connections we were finally in Paris. Only 8 or so hours late. This was day one of a two and half month odyssey that would take us through Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Venice, Prague and, of course, Paris. But before that we had to eat.