So, we went on holiday (Angus schools get first two weeks of October off, remember?). Full photos are going up on facebook for those who are interested but for the rest of you there will be a quick round-up in a few little posts.
We left home on 2nd October and took the train down to London (family railcard cheapo travel) and then the Eurostar to Paris. It was my first ever time in the Channel Tunnel (and it's been open for 18 years!) and I only needed one small beer from the bar to take my ever-anxious mind off the slight strangeness of being in an underwater train for over 20 miles. Daughter (now 12 but still delightfully wide-eyed) was surprised (and no doubt a little disappointed) not to be able to see the water of the Channel while we were in there. Mark did the technical explanations (but she probably didn't listen... we are not very interested in real things still...). For those of us who grew up taking slow trains and ferries and then more slow trains to get to the city of love it does make the whole business very easy! Arriving quite late in Paris we took a beautiful cab ride to kind cousin's place over near the big famous tower, drank some wine and then collapsed into beds.
Day one of serious tourist activity included a trip up the big famous tower for the braver members of the party (i.e. not me!) and then a walk over towards the Arc de Triomphe and along the Champs-Élysées before a cup of very fancy tea and then a trip to the late-night opening Louvre. It was a cloudy day with some rain but full of highlights just the same. The Louvre was looking fantastic - there's a lot to be said for a late-night opening...
Day two dawned sunnier and shinier and included a special exhibition at the Hôtel de Ville called "Paris - vu par Hollywood". Daughter being such a movie fan we had to go (plus it was free). Posters looked like this:
Then it was a quick nip by the Centre Pompidou, a wander over (and into) Notre-Dame Cathedral, a nosey into Shakespeare and Company bookshop, a coffee break and then another late-night museum trip (this time Musée d'Orsay - and it was just fabulous... photo at the top of this post taken on the top floor there). The Van Gogh room just about took my breath away... certainly made my eyes open that bit wider.
Day three (another sunny one) we took a bus up to Montmartre, partly because I'd never been there before.
There were gorgeous views and gorgeous food aplenty, a moody cemetery and, of course, a rather tired looking Moulin Rouge down amongst the sex shops and fancy-seeing-some-breasts-and-bums bars. After that it was bus back to our base, more food and then a walk out by the river and the tower (and they'd switched the twinkling fairy lights on it by then - very pretty and they can be seen on tiny video here).
Day four we got up and took the train to somewhere further south... but more of that next time.