Paris: A (love) story.

6/06/2008 05:17:00 pm

Many many months ago now, we decided to go to Paris for New Years Eve. How Romantic. The plan came about partly because we'd talked about going somewhere for my birthday but it had never happened because of clashes with work, and uni, and life in general. So Paris it was.

We had a look at flights and found some pretty cheap ones that only required us to leave the house at 4am (no joke there, but it's not too bad for budget airlines), and organised from there. This was a trip destined to be bittersweet, even more so in retrospect, because it was taking place just two days before I would leave Sweden, the World, the Universe, for good and fly back to Australia to resume my other life. The life that time forgot. But let's not talk about bittersweet now, unless it's about dark and expensive chocolate, because it makes me sad and I'm sure you can fill in the gaps. I just thought it might flesh out the story to preface it as such.

Day 1. We hit the ground early and set out to find out hotel, which happened to be just a 10 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower in a nice neighbourhood filled with food.

We set out to find the tower, and ended up going on a bit of a round-a-bout wander through the backstreets. Eventually we ended up at the Trocadero, and (don't tell anyone) I was initially a bit underwhelmed by the Tower... I think perhaps because these days we see everything on TV first, and we'd been poring over the guidebooks, so when we finally got there I was sort of like, OK, photo *click*, let's move on!

But everytime I saw it after that it became gradually more impressive, I promise!

From there we headed to Pierre Lachaise Cemetery to visit Jim Morrison, and I didn't complain once. It was actually a pretty amazing place, full of dead famous people like Edith Piaff and Oscar Wilde, and Claude Bernard. But he's only famous if you're a nerd. Anyway. There's over a million graves, and that place is huge.

And we finished up the afternoon at Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur. Damn, that was a big hill to walk up full of nutella crepes. But, the view of the city was pretty impressive, as were some of the things in the sex-shop windows..not that we like...went in to any of them.

I'm actually digressing something extraordinary here, because there was only one thing this post was going to be about: how we missed the New Year's Eve fireworks in Paris.

Day 3
Here's the thing, you think Paris, think Eiffel Tower. WRONG.

Picture the scene if you will; we set of to explore the Champs Elysee before having dinner (more on that kettle of fish in a moment), and it was beautiful. The atmosphere, the lights, the people, the niggling feeling my camera and wallet were going to be stolen. There were many many police and the stores were boarding up their windows, so we start to wonder if perhaps the fireworks are actually up here. Off we go to find someone who will know, a policeman. The first one we find speaks no English, but the second, with our very animated hand-illustrations of fireworks and sound effects, apparently understands and tells us that yes, the fireworks will be at the Eiffel Tower. With that query sorted, off we go, rushing a little, to the dinner that we've booked. But when we get there, two things are off.

1) The restaurant is dark and the staff are still eating their dinners.
2) The menu in the window is a set one for NYE, and it's 100 euros per person. That's you know, about 350 AUD.

1) Turns out I can't actually read the time on my absurdly fashionable watch, and it is, in fact, only 8 o'clock. Not 9 o'clock, ergo, we are an hour early.
2) There we are shitting ourselves because we do not have 200 euros, and I had already had a nervous breakdown earlier that day about how much money we'd already spent. What to do, what to do?! Is it possible that we can also order off the menu? So we decide to call and find out, but we had already called to make the booking, so Robert called and put on a funny voice. The conversation went like this: "Oh yes, hello. Do you have a table available for tonight? ...Oh good. Is it a set menu, or can we order off the menu?... Right. And how much is that set menu?...Right, 100 euros per person. I' you back." And then we ran away.

Anyway, with that behind us, we found a nice pub and ate some steak, drank some wine etc, and at about 10pm began our meander down the hill to stake out a prime viewing position at the tower. There were thousands of people there, the mood was buzzing. We bought some illegal beer from a corner store. The night was set as we snuggled into the prime viewing position we'd somehow scored.

At 10, then 11, the lights on the tower light up and you could feel the anticipation building. Then at 12, people began counting down, champagne corks popped all over the hill, it was electric. But nothing happened. There were no fireworks. Just the lights on the tower.
And then we went home. Anticlimactic, wasn't it.

You Might Also Like

0 comments on this post

Leave a know you want to...