Saturday 13 June 2015

Encore une fois à Paris.

Having emerged, finally, from the annual dark, deep, soul-sucking morass of preparing my tax return, with its habitual bitter self-recrimination and usual empty promises about doing better next time, it was a small but pleasing reward to fall upon this mille-feuille. It's not the real thing, but it's pretty close and, even more pleasing, it's a promise of better to come: this time next week I'll be in Paris.

This will  be my fourth? fifth? time there in the last four years, which is excellent going, even if they were all pretty fleeting visits. This one will be, too: a day and a half before setting off on an Avalon cruise down the Seine to Normandy and back again, and then off next morning on the train to London. Having done a Uniworld cruise along the Danube (sorry) in November, I'm keen to see how Avalon compares. I did have 5 days on the Panorama's maiden voyage, but that was some years ago now and really it was hard to judge the feel of the boat, given that everyone was new on board.

I do remember that the suite is bigger, and better arranged, so that you can lie in bed and look out of the huge window beyond your feet rather than craning your neck sideways. And yes, I do realise how decadent it is to be even giving thought to such things - but, you know, it's an industry that employs lots of people and makes an increasing amount of money for its investors, so it's not all self-indulgent frippery - it has economic value. (My attendance at this week's CLIA report meeting was not wasted.)

And it's also so very pleasant a way to travel. This time there will be Monet and Van Gogh, Napoleon and the Normandy landing beaches, and calvados. Plus wine and cheeses, pretty little towns, patisseries, cats, cafes and cathedrals. Excellent! Also, though, a grand finale Paris tour of all the usual suspects, which I now feel are sufficiently familiar not to need to see again - not quite so soon, anyway.

So I'm asking for advice here. Where and/or what is something a bit different, quirky possibly, interesting, colourful, which would give me something to talk (write) about? Come on, I know I have some regular French readers here. Break your silence! Please share your inside knowledge? Merci beaucoup.

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