Paris (et Le Mans)

Ah, it’s so good to be away! We’ve only been gone a few days but already it feels like forever! Junior is on holiday with his girlfriend and her family in Portugal, so it’s just Mr. Esther, mini me and I. Beware, I’m going to just picture spam now (click on images to enlarge if you wish to see them better)…

We left home this past Thursday and drove to Paris, with a break along the way…

We were obediently following the route our car navigator gave us and after about 5 hours of driving, lo and behold, we found ourselves right in the middle of Paris on the Champs Elysees!

Traffic is quite chaotic there. It felt like a free-for-all-everyone-do-as-they-please driving adventure (although, in fairness, red lights are obeyed) and in the end we were glad to get out of there and find our hotel.

We dropped our bags and then immediately started walking (which felt good after all those hours of sitting in the car). We walked by the Jardin de Luxemburg and into the city center with the Notre Dame and took a peek at the famous Shakespeare bookstore that I always like to walk by every time I am in Paris. We walked through the Quartier Latin to find a place to get some dinner. It was quite busy and we were relieved to find a good spot to eat where it was less busy (and that pizza was yummy!).

After dinner we walked on in the direction of Montmartre, we also passed Paris city hall, where the Olympic rings for the next Olympic games are up.

We took a metro to Montmartre, then walked up lots of steps to get to the Sacre Coeur. Mon Dieu, we are not used to climbing so many steps, especially after more than a year in isolation! It was very pretty up there, though (and many people there too), with lovely views over Paris by night.

Took a metro back to the hotel and we were properly exhausted. Slept in and the next morning, after a late breakfast at a sidewalk café, we went to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower and then on to the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees (mini me wanted to take a peek at all the designer shops). For you Europeans, you may have caught wind of the news that star football player Lionel Messi has transferred from Barcelona to play for Paris St. Germain a few days ago and already there were lines of people waiting to get Messi in Paris t-shirts!

By the way, sprinkled around Paris we saw these little white tents where you could get Covid tested. You can only gain entrance to certain locations if you are either fully vaccinated (which we are) or if you are tested negative for Covid 19.

We walked down the Champs Elysees and then came to the Louvre museum…

We had booked tickets in advance and after showing our “passe sanitaire” (digital Covid pass) we went in and saw so many beautiful things!

I think my favourite was to see Botticelli…

Of course, Da Vinci was awesome too. The row to actually stand in front of the Mona Lisa was insane, though, and we didn’t attempt that. We saw her fine from the side. It was really busy there, so we didn’t want to stay there long.

So much more beautiful art to see! And Mr Esther was in heaven finally seeing a funeral monument with beautiful heraldry (he’s a heraldry expert) he had always wanted to see.

We were exhausted afterwards, so took some time to drink and relax outside on the grass…

We then took a bus to the Eiffel tower, had dinner near there in a cute little square…

Our feet were completely dead when we finally got back to the hotel again at around 9.30 pm. The hotel had a lovely courtyard garden where we could just sit and relax with a beer before falling into bed.

Yesterday was a travel day. Had some breakfast at a sidewalk café (with a cup o’ Richard)…

… and then we left Paris (for now). We’ll be back for one more night on our way back, which makes mini me very happy as she has fallen in love with the city.

It was really busy on the road, lots of holiday traffic, which meant we were delayed for almost an hour after the first part of our journey. We stopped in Le Mans, which was about halfway on our journey, walked around for a short while, popped into a museum so that Mr E could see (and show us) the first example of a coat of arms in colour from 1151, we cooled off in the gentle water spray that was right outside our garage, and then drove on to our cottage not far from Nantes. Oh, and can you spot the dramatic teen in one of the pictures?

We got some groceries at a hypermarché close to where we are staying and finally arrived at our destination at around 7.30 pm. We had dinner at the restaurant on the premises (too tired to cook) and we figure we’ll be happy here for the next two weeks as our cottage is small but comfortable and well kept, with our own private yard.

Today (it’s 3 am as I post this, I’m a night owl and couldn’t sleep yet) we do nothing. We’ll just hang around here, nap, eat, read, play games and maybe go for a swim. Wifi is quite good, so I’ll be able to follow the kick-off of the Richard Armitage birthday auctions later today as well. Off to sleep now (yes, I’m finally ready); I’ll probably wake up late in the morning and won’t have to wait that long for the fun to unfold. 🙂

24 thoughts on “Paris (et Le Mans)

  1. I miss Paris too! Hope to go soon. The Louvre is amazing – so glad Mr E enjoyed himself there too. The line and flash photography around the Mona Lisa though are insane – especially as some ‘equally?’ good art there too rh Boticelli etc. Glad you had a nice trip there, enjoy the cottage! 👍❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. PS: It’s not been my first time at the Louvre but the last time I was there was I think before we even had kids so I really needed the refresher and it was nice seeing it through my daughter’s fresh eyes (she was very impressed).

      Liked by 2 people

  2. aradaghast

    Happy to watch numerous pictures of your holidays travel trip. Places I live in are always different through others eyes. Colors of the Plantagenet enamel cuper look great through age. Great choices for Museums you visit. I wish your family were happy in France!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. My husband and daughter have a say too on where we go and what we do, but I certainly mention things I read from my online friends and they mention things and then we pick and choose from there. 🙂 Louvre and Notre Dame were always part of the plan and it was fun thinking that you had recently been to Paris as well. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Squirrel!
      We’d seen the Plantagenet enamel before but as we were driving by Le Mans anyway, we decided to take another peek again. It was a nice break in a busy driving day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow what gorgeous pics of Paris! Sacreur is my fav with that view! That cafe near the Eiffel Tower looks familiar 😜
      Enjoy your time together and thank you for sharing these fabulous pics here
      I feel like a passenger on the trip ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. It’s been beautiful there. My daughter had last been when she was 4 and barely rememberd anything so it was fun doing it with her and seeing her fall in love with the city. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Nell!
      Yes, it was quite bewildering how busy it was especially around the Mona Lisa. Luckily you could only get in with the digital Covid pass and everyone wore masks. Still, a little unnerving to be in these crowds, it was much better in other places at the museum where people were more spread out.
      Also, Sacre Coeur and Quartier Latin with its narrow streets were quite busy, so we distanced ourselves as much as we could and sought out slightly quieter spots.
      Here at the cottage we have no danger of over-crowding. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, LadyButterfly!
      We’ve been lounging about, swimming and now I’m following the Guy of Gisborne jacket up for auction with a stunning result already!
      Off to discuss some plans for the next few days with the husband. I’ll contact you privately on Twitter soon. 🙂


  3. Servetus

    Those last pics from the Louvre are Phillipe Pot’s tomb, no? I find those pleurants really fascinating as art. (there are a lot of them on other tombs in Burgundy, too).

    I keep meaning to ask you if there’s a monument in Nantes to the Edict of Nantes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Philippe Pot indeed! Mr E had seen it in books but was really happy to finally see it for real. Fascinating pleurants indeed, even kids who passed by were fascinated. They stooped to look underneath those hoods. 🙂

      Not sure if there’s a monument for the Nantes edict, I’m sure Lady Butterfly would know.

      Liked by 1 person

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