Saturday, August 24, 2013

Paris - take two

So here we finally are, in Paris where we had intended to be over a year ago for our 40th wedding anniversary. We are in an apartment in Montmartre, not far from the Moulin Rouge and Sacre Couer Basilica. We are also not far from the Pigalle Metro station and many restaurants and bars. In all, a pretty good spot.

Fortunately we are not close to that notorious street where people swear a lot, the Rue de Remarks (I think I owe that one to Spike Milligan, but I'm not sure). Nor are we near the street where people finally realise they have been wrong all their lives, the Rue de Wakening. Or the street where most people are not able to formulate sophisticated ideas, the Rue de Mentary. Oh I could go on ... as my family knows.

Now the blog will start to resemble a Shakespearian tragedy - you know, the light relief presages a dramatic and significant passage or turn of events. (We have just visited Stratford Upon Avon remember). For our third night in Paris we went to a Cambodian restaurant in Montmartre as we thought (with France's colonial links, it might be authentic and good). We sat at a table on the pavement outside and had our meal which was not that good. But then we got up to pay and found that Milton's bag had been stolen - wallet, credit cards, glasses, passport, iPhone, the whole catastrophe.

Now please don't exclaim that I shouldn't have had them all in the same place, I know that. Let's just put it down to a senior moment. How the blackguards (more Shakespeare) managed it, both Judith and I are at a loss to explain, but the policeman that we reported it to did say that they were experts at it as they had had a lot of practice (!!). (Because they are not being caught??)

Anyhow, long story short, feverish activity for 36 hours had all credit cards cancelled, phone blocked and emergency passport from the Australian embassy. The biggest problem is Milton walking around 24 hours a day with his bifocals (believe me, this is not a good thing!).

Biggest WTF!! moment was going to the Aussie embassy on the second day to pick up the emergency passport and being greeted at reception by a Frenchman who either could not or would not speak English and expected us to understand fluent French (in the best arrogant Gallic tradition). Judith has already e-mailed a complaint to the appropriate embassy personnel and Bob Carr; Milton is having a nervous breakdown as we speak.

All of that notwithstanding, we have tried to have a positive last two days in Paris. Milton has been to the Pompidou Centre where he saw a Roy Lichtenstein retrospective (fantastic!) and to a major exhibition on the Art Nouveau movement (excellent but not fantastic). And Judith had a great time wandering around the sights and shops of Montmartre and downtown Paris.

Today, after picking up the temporary passport, we took a bus out to Versailles and saw the palace and surrounding gardens. When we got back to our apartment we googled the causes of the French Revolution, because seeing Versailles begs the question.

Before the stolen bag incident we also managed a guided tour of the Marais (quite good) and a one hour boat tour up the Seine (also OK). We fly out of Charles de Gaulle airport tomorrow at 1.30 in the afternoon.



michelle bootes said...

Have loved reading your Blogg and loved the pics too. Safe journey home. Michelle B

michelle bootes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hilarious story about the Frenchman at the embassy. I've never been to Paris but Leon tells me the arrogant French waiter is a must tourist attraction. This I gotta see!

Safe travels home. I will finally get to reading your blog now that I have returned from my own travels.