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Dreaming of Paris in the springtime



Paris in spring
Paris in spring
Am I really in Greece in the spring?

Days and days of seemingly endless filthy weather, makes me think otherwise.

A lucky friend of mine, today, leaves for Paris.

Paris in springtime!

I can only dream, and reminisce.

MGG (My Greek God) and I, have been through Paris, countless times, and got lost countless times in the process I might add, on car trips from Greece to England and vice versa, but, we had never actually spent any time there.

Well MGG had, in his youth, this he thought, made him an expert, we still got lost though!



MGG at a very tender age in Paris
MGG at a very tender age in Paris
We kept thinking of having a proper visit, doing all the tourist stuff, but never got round to it, then, in 1992 Disneyland opened in Paris, having two young children, begging to go, this was our chance!

We let it go for a couple of years, the thinking being, it’s new, it’s a novelty, it will be absolutely heaving, in 1994, we booked the tickets.

Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris

Now, my faithful followers, will know, that MGG has a terrible fear of flying, which means, we travel everywhere by car.

This is actually the best way to travel, you get to see so much more, and, if you get lost, you see much more than you bargained for!

We packed the car, to MGG’s military standards, this bag for the ferry boat, this bag for Italy, this bag for France, this bag for the return journey, let me tell you, he was so strict, no way, could the bag for Italy, be opened in France, or the bag for France, opened on the ferry boat!

The bags were put into the car in order of destination, last stops at the back, first stops, at the front; I’m surprised he didn’t label them!

The first stop was Patras to board the ferry boat to Ancona, Italy, then, on through Italy, Switzerland, the Mont Blanc tunnel and into France.

The children were aged nine and eleven, I had worried about the boredom of long stints in the car, but, Nintendos’s Gameboy, saved the day!

We made various stops in Italy, the first being Florence.

MGG was convinced, and still is, that if you leave your car unattended in Italy, it won’t be there, when you return, so, no way was he risking leaving it parked in a side street, just to trek round Florence.

My son, Yiannis, opted to stay in the car with him, while I forcefully dragged my daughter, Nais, around the streets of Florence.


Baptistery Doors. Florence.Italy
Baptistery Doors. Florence.Italy

This forced sightseeing, happened to Nais a lot on this trip.

MGG is just not interested in ruins, churches, art or history, to him, The Acropolis, in Athens, is just a pile of stones!

It is so much easier, and saves all the grumbling, to park him in a coffee shop, and go and do my thing, alone!

If asked about his memories of our trips together, he is likely to say, of San Gimignano for example;

“Is that where I watched them cleaning out the well?

 Or, of Como;

“Is that where I lost my glasses”

Never anything about the actual place!

I do have to say though, he is very accommodating, he will take me anywhere, walk the streets, visit restaurants, bars and cafes, but, churches, ruins and museums, I visit alone.

After Nais’s informative walk around Florence, we went on to Pisa, where we spent the night in a beautiful old palazzo, converted into a hotel, so near to the tower you felt that you could have reached out of the window and touched it.


Yiannis & Nais Pissa
Yiannis & Nais Pisa
The drawback about this historical hotel was that it was hundreds of years old, and smelled like it!

Damp, fusty and musty, so bad, I could not sleep with my pillow, which smelled as if it had been stored in a damp cellar!

Sadly, this was at the time when The Leaning Tower of Pisa was unsafe to enter, not that I would have, with my fear of heights, but the children would have liked to go up to the top.


Yiannis & Nais Pissa
Yiannis & Nais Pisa

After Pisa, we pressed on north, up through Switzerland towards Mont Blanc.

This was before the tragedy of the infamous fire in the tunnel, we have been through it since a few times, and the awful fear of it happening again, is always at the back of your mind.

French side of the Mont Blanc tunnel
French side of the Mont Blanc tunnel

French side of the Mont Blanc tunnel
French side of the Mont Blanc tunnel

We spent one more night, somewhere in France, and the next day arrived at Disneyland, Paris.


Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris 

It’s an amazing place, the children had a ball, we stayed three nights in the Sequoia Lodge Hotel, I really would say, you need three days to see the whole place.


Yiannis & Nais outside the Sequoia Lodge Disneyland Paris
Yiannis & Nais outside the Sequoia Lodge
Disneyland Paris
The enjoyment of numerous scary rides, came to an abrupt end for me, after trying out “Space mountain”, I should have known better than to climb aboard, after reading the sign;

 “Do not go on this ride if you have a heart condition”

After that, I stuck to “It’s a small world” and “Peter pan’s boat”!

Before starting our return journey to Greece, we had a day in Paris.


Paris
Paris

A wonderful day, we visited all the “Must see” places;

 Notre Dame, and the museum, (Good old Nais accompanied me again), the Place de Concord, Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, and, of course,The Eiffel Tower.


Notre Dame Paris
Notre Dame Paris

Notre Dame Paris
Notre Dame Paris

 MGG and the children went up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, needless to say, I didn't.

 I tried, but, could only make it to the second or third level!


View from the top of the Eiffel Tower.Paris
View from the top of the Eiffel Tower.Paris

MGG, Yiannis & Nais
MGG, Yiannis & Nais

Hungry in Paris
Hungry in Paris

Crowded in Paris
Crowded in Paris

Before leaving Paris, we couldn't not visit the Louvre, you just can’t take everything in with only one visit, it is huge, you could visit for everyday of your life, I think, and still need to go back again!

I suppose you have guessed, MGG sat outside at the coffee shop!

Look what he missed!

Louvre Paris
Louvre Paris

Louvre Paris
Louvre Paris

Louvre Paris
Louvre Paris

The Mona Lisa Louvre Paris
The Mona Lisa
Louvre Paris

Venus De Milo Louvre Paris
Venus De Milo
Louvre Paris

Victory of Samothrace Louvre Paris
Victory of Samothrace
Louvre Paris

I did manage to entice MGG to the church of  Sacre Coeur, in the Monmartre area of Paris,was it worth it though?

He moaned and moaned, as did Yiannis, my son, who spent the rest of the day saying;

Oh, Sacre coeur, Sacre Coeur!



Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur

You can not visit Paris without sampling the delicious macarons from Laduree, they are to die for.

By the way, photographs were not really allowed in here, but just look at the spectacular interior of the shop.

Nearly as good as the macarons themselves!

Laduree Paris
Laduree Paris

And don't forget to have coffee in one of the coffee shops, frequented in the past, by so many famous writers, poets and painters.


Cafe De Flore Paris
Cafe De Flore Paris

If you do try your luck on the Paris Metro, be warned, it is very smelly!


Paris Metro
Paris Metro


As we were there for only one day, we didn't visit the well known cabarets of Paris, or get to see the amazing can can dancers, just saw them from the outside , looking in, so to speak!




  Folies Bergere Paris
Folies Bergere Paris

Lido Paris
Lido Paris


Moulin Rouge Paris
Moulin Rouge Paris

Paris is such a beautiful, but melancholy  city, so beautiful, in fact, that my daughter, after a recent stay there, said;

“It was so beautiful, I wanted to cry”


View down the Seine Paris
View down the Seine Paris


Arc de Triumph Paris
Arc de Triumph Paris

We said goodbye to Paris, vowing to return, to spend more time getting to know this magnificent city of light.

We were now on the road again, back to Greece, with an overnight stop in Milan.



Milan Italy
Milan Italy

Turning any corner, from the side streets and alleyways of Milan, the sight of The Duomo, in Piazza Del Duomo, really does take your breath away, it's just suddenly there, in front of you, in all its glory.



After shopping in the La Rinascente department store, where Nais, at the tender age of nine, insisted on buying some Chanel number five scent, we had coffee at the rooftop restaurant, the view over the top of the Duomo was astonishing!


Shopping in Milan
Shopping in Milan

Shopping in Milan
Shopping in Milan

Piazza Del Duomo Milan Italy
Piazza Del Duomo Milan Italy

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Milan Italy
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Milan Italy
Here, in the flagship store of Prada, I bought the most expensive handbag that I have ever bought.

Super soft, buttery, black calfskin,  quite large, plain, simple, minimal, just beautiful, I still have it, or rather, my daughter Nais has it.

After all these years, and much daily use, it’s still in great condition, that’s what you get when you buy quality; you get what you pay for!

After buying this treasure, it was put into the “Italy bag” in the car boot.
A big mistake, it had to stay there until we were home in Greece.

MGG would not let me open the “Italy bag”

All I wanted to do was look at it, stroke it, my Prada bag, I own a Prada bag!

I have grown up a bit since then, I don’t stroke bags anymore, and have realized, that owning a Prada bag, is not the be all and end all.

Last stop, Ancona, before boarding the ferry that would sail us back to Greece, we did our gift shopping, for friends and family back home.

Contrary to belief, Ancona, away from the port, has the most amazing shops.
We had discovered this on previous trips, while killing time, waiting to board the ship.

We have since been around Europe, countless times, but, never stayed in Paris.
So, until we do, I shall once again, watch my Paris films,  I have watched both these films over and over, they really do transport you away to Paris!

"Paris J'Tame" is a collection of short stories about life in Paris.


       PARIS, JE T'AIME STORIES OF LOVE FROM THE CITY OF LOVE


"Paris"  (below) features one of my favourite actresses, Juliette Binoche.

   Paris (English Subtitled)


Or why not sit back,listen to Jazzradio, the Paris cafe section, listen HERE and dream?



Paris films The next best thing to being there!
Paris films
The next best thing to being there!
One day, one day soon I hope.

Ouf, looking out of the window, I see that it is still poring with rain;

I shall go and sort out my summer clothes, summer has to arrive sometime, doesn't it?

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