Monday 2 June 2014

Jeudi je vais à Paris

And it will be D Day when we arrive, plus 70 years: it will be interesting to note how the day is marked in the capital. As of course it will be - say what you will about the French as hosts, they do take their war anniversaries seriously. Normandy would naturellement be the place to be, but we have been there, several times, and can easily picture the setting for this year's extra special ceremony and solemnity.

Instead, for me there will be the fulfilment of a thwarted desire 36 years old - finally, I will get to the Palace of Versailles, it having been closed on my first visit to Paris and there being no time for it on subsequent occasions. We will be doing it properly, taking a full day and even getting to bits the general public doesn't usually see. Very satisfying, so long after missing a tourist must-do.

Potentially less heart-warmingly, there will also be a Bateau Mouche dinner. Très touristique, yes, but that's not the problem - things are popular with tourists often for excellent reason - it's more because that was something we did do on that first visit. To repeat it so many years later is to emphasise the passage of the years - despite the fact that I can clearly remember both the look and the feel of the dress I wore that night, and still picture the spotlit bridges and Notre Dame and even the harpist, there's no denying that we are both now considerably more stricken in years than then. And the proof? That we'll be accompanied by our 23 year-old daughter. For whom it will be her second trip to Paris, and third to Europe. Qu'elle a de la chance!

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