Vendredi 22 Decembre 2017
Not an early start, it has to be said despite the hotel bed being as soft as concrete. It was a delight to stop lying on it, truth be told, and to get out and about.
I opt for a breakfast of oeufs brouilles, which came with salad, while Tim couldn’t go past the American breakfast (a breakfast he said he’d never find in America).
No plans for the morning, just wherever we find ourselves is fine.
We find ourselves at Republique Metro Station, buy a billet from the machine (once we work out where to find the “English” option), mix up the 1 & 2 euro coins because the 2s are bigger than the 1s, up stairs, down stairs, through white tiled tunnels, to the platform. It feels like an adventure – which is weird, given we catch trains almost every day at home.
Squish onto the train, head to Montmartre. Off at Pigalle, turn right, wander past the Moulin Rouge and about a thousand sex shops, into Starbucks (!) for a chaud the, then another wander through what to me feels like a familiar area as we head up towards the Sacre Coeur (I’d stayed in this area in 2011 when I came over with Mum, Dad, Deb, Grant, Mel, Sarah and Ben). I ate at that restaurant, bought shoes from that shop, dresses for Sakye and Lily from that one and lollies for the other kids from that shop over there.
We meet Paulette, our photo tour guide, and Nida and Yannick – two youngsters from Berlin – at 2 and spend the next few hours taking photos around Montmartre, revisiting some of the places Deb, Grant and I had visited on a walking tour with tour guide William six years before. Paulette’s stories are gentler and have less of a political edge than William’s, but are no less interesting.
It gets dark here at 5pm and our body clocks were still slightly off, so we head back to our hotel, via a cafe for dinner, and are asleep by 8.
And yes, that meant being awake at 2 … but sleep crept over me again about 6. It doesn’t get light here till almost 9, so another three hours was more than enough!