Sunday, February 15, 2009
St. Valentin á Paris
Yesterday, the Irishman and I spent Valentine's Day in Paris. Now, spending Valentine's Day in Paris is possibly the most cliched way to celebrate a very ridiculous holiday. But originally, the Irishman was supposed to be in Rome with his family supporting Ireland against Italy in the 6 Nations rugby tournament. Exactly. So since I was going to be single for the day, I decided to embrace the ludicrous and take the Eurostar to Paris for the day. But a month ago, the Irishman's plans changed and he decided to join me in my loisirs á Paris.
Because I booked a cheap ticket on the Eurostar, our departure time was 6:40am from St Pancras. Fortunately I live 10 minutes away from St Pancras, but even still we got up at 4:30am and took a cab to the train station. When I booked my ticket, the outbound ticket was the same price for both economy class and the Leisure Select class so we traveled in style on the way there. We got complimentary breakfast (I photographed it, and stole the little pots of jam), magazines (French Vogue!), and lovely wide seats. The only problem was that three couples thought it would be fine to allow their horrid children to scream, cry, and yell the entire 3 hour journey. Hmph.
Once in Paris we took the Metro to the Marais, and simply explored. The last time I was in Paris, the Marais was not someplace English-speaking people went; it was largely an immigrant neighborhood and somewhat sketchy. Seven years later, it is a hipster hotbed of boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and artisanal food shops. We strolled through its narrow streets and popped into shops and markets, though not in as many shoe shops as I'd like. After a lunch of steak frites for the Irishman, we headed south to the little river islands.
First we crossed to the Ile de St Louis, the smaller of the two islands, and wandered down its main street. Cold in the shade, we went to the quai and walked to the Pont St Louis connecting the small island to the larger Ile de la Cité and Notre Dame. From the old church we then wandered through the Latin Quarter and St Germain des Pres back to the Seine so I could see some monuments and the Eiffel Tower. We held out for a while, but finally the cold sent us underground to the Metro and we subwayed back to the Marais and a cafe for wine and des assiettes de fromage et de charcuterie. We wrapped up the day by going to a supermarche and buying cheese, wine, and saucisson to take back to London.
Back on the Eurostar, my tired drunk self passed out while the Irishman grumbled about yet another baby screaming. We arrived back in London 16 hours after we left, cold, tired, but extremely tres bien apres un jour superb á la cité illuminaire. Il y a des photos ici.