From Frohe Weinachten to Bonne Année

Happy New Year (belatedly)

I am just catching up after travelling back and so only now managing to write up a few notes on the last days of our trip.

New Years eve was a fun run around day.

We had previously failed to ascend the Eiffel Tower (huge queues), the towers at Notre Dame (closed) and the Arc de Triomph (more huge queues). So we set out to conquer at least one of these mountain slopes.

Notre Dame escaped us with another sensational queue but I had managed to procure tickets to the AdT by purchasing them at FNAC digitale (France’s “Virgin Megastore” would be the only way to relate to it for us Anglos) meaning we were able to circumvent queues there.

A quick Metro trip, a 284 step climb up (phew) the venerable memorial and we were gazing out at misty (low cloudy) Paris from the Arc’s wind scoured peak. Really enthralling to look across the city as Paris has deliberately kept high rise buildings from being built in it’s center so the views are extensive.

Following that we needed a bite and a rest before the evenings festivities. We headed down and strolled the Champs Elysees french bread (or bread as it is called in France!) in hand, then mouth, as we headed to the hotel for a nap.

Paris is busy on NY’s eve. A lot of people in town to see the lights, celebrate, eat, meet, make friends and let off fireworks. So we had a reservation at Le Florimond restaurant although it was for the early seating at 7:00pm. We’d have preferred the later seating though on reflection it would not have let us be on the streets with the peeps at the witching hour.
We had a lovely meal, five courses of beautiful cuisine. A little upmarket and delicate compared to our usual rustic tastes but an experience and experiment we wanted to make. If you’re going to try something different food wise then France is a good place to try it. The staff were lovely, Patrick, Laurent and Benedict, not to mention chef Pascal. The flavours were magnifique and the ambience and scale (maybe 10 or 12 tables in the place) wonderful too.

At the end we rushed out as the 9:30 diners started to filter in and we were loose one the streets with a million other folks. Walking and laughing and trying to keep warm then stopping for coffee and champagne before heading to the Parc Du Champs Du Mars to stand and watch the light shower on the Eiffel Tower.

It was frigid but fascinating to watch the crowd bloom and mushroom as midnight approached. The lights changed colours, glowed and pulsed while we watched champagne bottles being popped, glasses filled and then, as midnight struck, toasts made. The Tower sparkled with a glittering effect and we welcomed in the new decade with my classic quote of “Do you want to go now” (M was freezing) before she reminded me we should kiss the new year in… who says I am not a romantic eh!

We thought there would be fireworks and perhaps there were on the Champs Elysees but the only ones we saw were as folks let some off in the park, causing a bit of involuntary ‘dancing’ from the unwary. The Metro was crazed near Ecole Militaire so we speed walked a mile or so before ducking beneath the surface.We arrived back at our hotel, chill but replete in both belly and spirit having seen in the new year properly… our norm being to be barely awake or even sleeping already!

New years day was our anniversary and almost everything was shut. So we wandered the streets enjoying the contrast to the night before as very few people were out and about. It was cold and grey which doesn’t lessen the beauty of the city and we walked the old cobbled streets, the windblown bridges and sheltered in the occasional opportunist store. A lovely set of memories, as was the whole trip.

So with that our journey from Nuremberg’s Christkindlmarket, via “Frohe Weihnachten” on the Danube/Rhine to”Bonne Année” ends (for now) on our dixième anniversaire de mariage in Paris.  Andwith that I’ll end the travel blog and return to more normal matters though I will post a few pics when I can.

Till the next time, may your queues be short and your tickets cheap. Au ‘voir mes amis.

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