Up until this year I had only been in France twice. The first time was a short visit to Paris – and the last trip the Ex and I ever made together. The second time was a week in a picturesque little cottage in the rural depths of Normandy which is probably the one and only holiday which will ever involve me, Mrs WeeKeef and all 3 Boys.
Having survived both rather well, the Gallic destination came up in the holiday discussions for this summer and I was astonished to learn that, though she has been to the country many times and speaks the lingo rather well, Mrs WK had never been to Paris. Tickets were immediately booked!
Over the past couple of years we’ve got into the habit of visiting the Ma-in-Law either side of our “away trip”, using the south coast as a staging post for further adventures. It works out rather well, and we always manage to do a few interesting bits and pieces in the south too. This year’s highlights included seeing Eddie Izzard live on the roof of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill – excellent if a little surreal, what with the audience sitting in pedalos on a fake beach on top of this 1930s building, listening to Mr I rabbiting on about the history of the entire universe.
Boy 3 (of 3) and I also had a splendid day out at London Zoo. I hadn’t been there since 23 July 1972* but it was still quite familiar in lots of ways, and it is a very rare treat for me and the Boy to do something like that.
And then there was Paris. Ah, Paris – what can you say? Expensive – yes. Busy – yes. Scary in parts – yes. Rude waiters – yes. Suicidal traffic – yes. All of that. But we did our regular tourist-mode thing and in the space of 4 long days we saw pretty much all the major city centre sights – Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Louvre, Seine, the Marais, Pantheon, Sorbonne, etc etc etc. The hotel was good, the food was good, the weather was good, and the company was splendid. By the time we got back to England late on the Sunday evening, we were exhausted.
And by the time we got back to Scotland we had done 27 rail journeys – mainline, underground, undersea and funicular. Sustainable tourism R us!
Paris was one of those places I really wasn’t bothered about seeing because I thought the hype would be greater than the event. Now I’ve been twice I can assure you, the hype doesn’t even come close. Save up (lots) and go.
More to come …
* The day after Chi Chi the Giant Panda had died. This is true.