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Paris, Properly...

France Part Four - the beginning of the end

Rob was so happy to be back in France he practically danced a jig across the border (difficult while sitting in the drivers seat!) Unfortunately, as it was a Sunday, we had a bit of trouble finding a supermarket that was open (having resisted buying anything in Expensiveland purely on principle...)

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Pont de la Cable – an amazing bridge at the crossroads of the Alps

We spent our first night back in France at Annency, a beautiful lakeside town, and the following day we went for a wander around the town and were finally able to afford a fondue - at least we were pretty close to Switzerland.

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Annency

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Cheese anyone?

We spent the next 7 days driving north through France towards Paris taking in Lyon and some fantastic wine regions including Beaujolais, Bourgogne and Chablis. We gave ourselves plenty of time to make the most of our final weeks visiting the France Passion sites; but we had such a great time at a slow crawl through the countryside that we pretty much left all of our driving to the day we were due to arrive in Paris! We will let the photos do the talking:

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Billieme in the Rhone-Alps countryside

We arrived in Lyon with plenty of time to wander around and explore before lunch. It took a bit of finding, but we eventually managed to find some of Lyon's famous traboules - a series of secret passages between buildings and joining adjacent streets - which were put to good use by Resistance members trying to dodge the Gestapo during WWII...

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The Notre-Dame-de-Fourviere cathedral overlooking Lyon

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We found a small bouchon recommended by Lonely Planet and shared an amazing three courses for lunch before hitting the road again towards Paris...

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Dessert!

That night we wound up at a brilliant hillside vinyard just outside of Jullie... A stunning sunset, wonderful wine, and a friendly proprietor made this particular evening one of our France Passion favourites!

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Jullie – where we will retire when we win lotto! Eve spent a few hours taking photos while Rob sampled the (entire) range and found a new BFF in the vigneron...

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We have no idea where this is...

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A Cote d'Or vineyard near the village of Vougeot...

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The north Bourgogne countryside

We arrived in Paris on 23 September and were treated to a wonderful week of hospitality with our friends Martin and Isobel, who we met in Egypt. Inexplicably, our arrival coincided with the All Blacks vs. France pool match... Thankfully, Martin was very gracious putting up with our best attempts at sportsmanship...

On Sunday they treated us to a day trip to the phenomenal Palace of Versailles, and despite the unbelievable disorder of the ticket system (see Isobel's take on the whole shemozzle at: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187148-d188681-r118611137-Chateau_de_Versailles-Versailles_Ile_de_France.html) we had a fantastic (but tiring!!) day wandering around the Palace, Marie Antionette's Grotto and an haute couture exhibition (Dior, Westwood, Gaultier and others vs. 18th Century fashion) at the Grand Trinanon.

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The gates at Versailles

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The gardens were massive!

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The desk on which the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 - arguably the principal cause of WWII (the treaty, not the desk...)

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The Grand Trinanon - unfortunately we weren't allowed to photograph the dresses

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Marie Antoinette's grotto

The wide angle view of the Palace...
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... and a 180 degree turn:
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The following day we booked ourselves a night at the Jeanne D'Arc hotel in the Marais district, which Eve's family had stayed at on their previous visits. In the end, we were lucky to get a room, picking up the last one available...

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We had a good time wandering around the Marais, just enjoying being in Paris, before sitting down to a fantastic meal at Les Bourgresses, a little restaurant just down the road from our hotel - well worth a visit, if you're in the area...

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The underground mall at the Louvre is connected to the Musee du Louvre metro stop... Our hot tip for avoiding queues is to head to the Virgin Megastore and buy all your tickets in advance to the Louvre, D'Orsay etc...

The next day we took in the amazing D'Orsay art museum, which is worth going to simply for the architecture (unfortunately no photos allowed), and strolling up the Avenue des Champs Elysees to the Arc De Triomphe.

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The view down the Champs from Place de la Concorde towards the Arc de Triomphe

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That night we met Isobel and Martin at the Cafe Trocadero for drinks and a meal with an awesome view of the Eiffel Tower...

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We probably took too many photos of the tower...

The next day we caught a lift into town with Isobel and headed straight to the Louvre...

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The Nike (a.k.a. Winged Victory) of Samothrace enjoys a commanding position on the Daru staircase

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Typical crowd for the Mona Lisa...

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Eve singlehandedly fought back an entire Asian tour group to get this shot...

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Canova's Psyche revived by Cupid's kiss

After the Louvre we grabbed a quick lunch and checked out the Paris Louboutin flagship headed back to Martin and Isobel's place to reluctantly pack up for our long drive to London the next day...

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Lunch, just off Rue du Louvre...

Unfortunately we didn't think we needed to pre-book our EuroStar tickets from Calais to Folkestone, so when we got to the car train terminal at Calais we found ourselves having to fork out over 200 euros... We also missed out on stocking up on a van-load of French wine because once we were in the terminal, we couldn't leave without voiding our ticket!!

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On our way to Ol' Blighty

Posted by RobandEve 05:08 Archived in France

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