Saturday, 2 November 2013


We love France, and Paris in particular.

It is an unalloyed joy to go there and just revel in the uniquely French 'otherness'.

We do this by wandering around on foot. Not for us Le Metro or l'autobus.

This year's visit was primarily to see our favourite band "Pink Martini" in concert. Neither of us had ever been to a gig abroad before, so it was a first.

Our friend Rhoda, of nb Malus, also moored at The Parish, had never seen Pink Martini.

Or ever been to France, never mind the capital........

Nor, indeed, does she speak any French, having opted for Spanish while at school........

So it made perfect sense that she should come along with us!

Here are some photos:
Parisienne rooftops, 2nd Arrondisement, seen from our room at the top of L'Hotel Tiquetonne.
If you squint, you can just see the Eiffel Tower..........

Slightly clearer with the zoom to max............
(And no we weren't actually in flippin' Blackpool!)

We caught the Eurostar on Saturday morning, arriving at Gare du Nord about 15:00, local time.
We then walked to the hotel down La Rue de St Denis.
Rhoda was quite disconcerted by the number of heavily made-up, and, (though one hesitates to criticise the world-renowned Parisian 'chic'), rather over-dressed ladies standing idly in the numerous doorways of that famous thoroughfare.

I explained that they were probably waiting for their mothers to take them to church...........

Having dropped off our luggage, (Jackie and I travel so light that this amounted to little more than the contents of a spotted handkerchief on a stick), the three of us then went on the first of many a pleasant stroll.

(Actually, for 'stroll', read 'route march': we averaged about 20-25kms a day.......)

This took us first to Sainte Chapelle in the 1st Arrondisement, there to have 8.5euros worth of the world famous medieval stained glass. Jackie took some pictures on her phone......

 T'was stunning.

 Then onward to The Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame.
They rang the bells for us, which was very thoughtful, I felt.......

Our patrol then took us to the tip of the island and the Square Du Vert Galant. There were some jolly nice looking Dutch barges moored up close at hand. One wonders what the mooring fees are like.......

Trop cher pour nous, j'ai pense.........

These wonderful sculpted faces look down from the retaining wall between the upper and lower walkway on the Ile.
View from the steps

Bridge onto Ile de la Cite

At the top of Rue Montorgeuil, pigeons bathe in the water used to give this market street it's morning wash.

 At the junction of Rue des Petits Carreaux and Rue Reaumer is this wonderful vertical garden.

Some of the information about its creator, Patrick Blanc.

We ate at  "Restaurant a la grille Montorgeuil" on our first night. It's very interesting to have a look at Trip Advisor!

Some loved it....... some hated it.......

We, however, had a perfectly good meal and had no complaints at all! My lamb was sublime, Jackie enjoyed some veal, while Rhoda investigated snails. (She finished the lot!)

On the day of the concert, we went on a very long walk.

This entailed walking up to Monmartre and Sacre Coeur, enjoying a real French Farmer's Market, then walking east toward the canal and a place Jackie had been recommended to visit for lunch.

By the time we arrived, I was done-up. But Jackie decided the place looked a bit expensive so we would continue our search for luncheon on foot.

Cue a bit of a melt-down from yours truly, who had navigated us across Paris on foot with no more aid than Michael Middleditch's "Essential Guide" and now needed to sit down and be fed and watered.....

Well, the girls managed to stuff the toys back in my pram long enough for us to walk another 100m to an inviting looking bistro by the canal.
Here we enjoyed a most lovely brunch. If you need to find the place, it's on Quai de Jemmapes just up from the rather expensive looking Hotel du Nord.

This overlooks the Canal St Martin. Not far from the Bistro 'Bang' is the lock where the canal and its traffic disappear into the earth............
Parisienne trip boat, going.....




You will be relieved to hear that, according to the map, the canal re-emerges from The Underworld at Place de la Bastille, where Boulevard Richard Lenoir turns into Bassin de l' Arsenal.

I would quite like to take Pippin on this little trip.......

Anyone want to come?


Anyway, to get to the concert venue, we had but to follow the subterranean course of the canal along Boulevard Richard Lenoir to the theatre called Bataclan.

We queued up and got in. Apparently my face fell further than the level of the watercourse when we realised it was a standing only venue.... (remember we had walked about 25 kilometres by this time...!)

Beer was bought. A leaning place was found. And the concert began......

Pink Martini are a fabulous band. Their singer, China Forbes, is brilliant. She hasn't been too well of late, so the amazing Storm Large was taking her place. But we were delighted when Thomas Lauderdale (band leader extraordinaire) announced that China was appearing.

Cue rapturous applause............

(When I've grown up and understand how these things work, I'll add some links to Pink Martini. For now, if you want some great sounds, Google them and have a look.....)

Some concert photos:

And how better to end our lovely holiday than with an iconic image!


  1. Amour, nous prenons notre bateau pour la France l'annee prochaine.

    1. Etait vous crossing La Manche dans votre bateau, ou dans une lorry/Eurostar comme une sane person?

      Si vous voulez crossez La manche dans votre bateau, je dit simply this: "Bonne Chance avec that, Graham!"


      (Apologies to the late Miles "Kilometres" Kington et son marvellieux livre quelle s'appelle "Lets Parlez Franglais"......)

    2. sur un camio en ferry, moi pas un idiot.

    3. Oui, c'est vrai!

      Mais en France, les Anglais? Ils sons fou! (or 'bonquerres'...... )

      J'ai pense le camion et le grande bateau etait un tres bonne idee.......

      Rien de jamais Terry Darlington........

      "Let the shipwrecks of others be your sea marks!" (T.Hancock)

  2. Jill, Matilda Rose3 November 2013 at 23:14

    Bon nuit