Because it is vital to blog about things that happened a month ago, I am now going to get around to talking about my trip to Paris. Some of you may remember that Mister Monkey and I took a trip there earlier this year, which was a little constrained by the needs of our travelling companion. Our solution was to go again ourselves, and so we did, booking a studio apartment in the Marais and spending a week there in November.
I heartily recommend Paris in November. It's cold but not horribly windy and not always raining like here. The cafes all have heaters outside, ensuring that the national pastime of sitting around and jawing while openly staring at people is still viable in the winter. This is, of course, the thing I love best about Paris. You can spend hours sitting with your lovely notebook and newly-purchased fountain pen (Parisians love their stationery), scribbling away, drinking your coffee and eating your pie and just gawping at the sheer range of people going past.
The other thing I love best about Paris is walking around. We did a lot of this on this visit. The first night we were there we went to the restaurant three doors down from our apartment, which is recommended by the Rough Guide, ate a lovely meal, and then went for a two-hour walk. Another night we took a walk by the Seine from our apartment up to the Champs Elysees, which took us a little over an hour and was great, except for the mice. In fact we bought a carnet for the Metro when we arrived and had tickets left over when we were coming home.
The other other thing I love about Paris is that although the big museums cost money to enter (best value on this trip: The Museum of Modern Art, which costs €10 to visit, but takes at least three hours to cover, and that's with one whole floor closed to the public, and has loads of space in it so you can look at things in comfort. Worst value on this trip: The Orangerie, which costs €8.50 to enter, is completely packed full of people, and takes about an hour to cover before you get sick of it), there are still loads of free things to do. Okay, these mainly involve being outdoors and mostly involve walking, but if you like those things, you're quids in. The nicest free thing (if you don't count the train fare) if you have loads of time is to go to Versailles and visit the gardens. They are extensive and beautiful and even if you forget to bring a packed lunch with you, you can buy a sandwich for only €4.50. Versailles is very romantic, for promenading around hand in hand and all that jazz.
Our eating out wasn't as extensive as we'd planned on this trip, because we were walking a lot so we got tired a lot, and also because we like to eat our dinner earlier than Parisians do. I am always amused by Parisian restaurants. They open at 6pm, are completely empty till 8.30pm, then everyone rushes out for dinner at the same time and sits in the restaurant till 11pm, and then they close. And most of them are tiny. How do they make any money? Ah, the mysteries of the continent.