Saturday, September 15, 2007

Paris, Day 2 and a 1/2

The day was simple.
We planned on visiting the Pantheon and leaving for Normandy after lunch.

It had taken Gert over an hour to drive the 5kms down the road to our hotel on arriving in Paris at 2.30pm so we were certain we wanted to leave the city before rush hour.

People talk of traffic in Istanbul and Rome but Paris surely shares top billing. The motor scooters are death-defying poetry in motion and there seems to be a lot of laneless 'merging' at certain points.

I loved it.

So we metro-ed up to the Pantheon area then walked through really lovely streets in the Latin Quarter, passing close by the Sorbonne.

It was too expensive to go in but the exterior was impressive, the surroundings a delight and the cafe we had lunch in was purely delicious.

It was my first introduction to Paysanne omelette and I developed quite a bond with both that and the Paysanne salad as we traveled. Red wine accompanied lunches and dinners, the fresh bread was a delight and as I traveled I came to the conclusion that France is an incredibly civilised country.

Leaving the city was simpler than we could have hoped and 3 hours later we arrived at destination, the house of the gite called La Palmeraie.

'House' is misleading as, although that is what we were offered on discovering the gite was already booked, we ended up with an 'interesting' room, kitchen, pool room and a chalet out in the yard.

It's okay if you're expecting things a little bit rough but I've never had a toilet 'in' my bedroom bedroom before ... over there to the left, next to the clear glass shower cubicle.

The outside chalet went to our traveling companions and it looked truly luxurious in comparison although it was small and cold, according to reports but we did adjust and thought that next time we'd go look before booking. I photographed our 'room' before leaving and as you can see, it looks quite quite lovely.

Despite that, we had fun playing pool at the end of long days spent exploring Normandy. Breakfast was always about fresh bread from the village a few kilometres away, fresh orange juice, and a choice of peach jam and truly good cheeses - the brie being everyones favourite.

It was a lovely way to start the day ... around the pool table that was covered with an oak top, sitting on wooden outdoor chairs - multiple cushions piled on mine so as to minimise the locking up of my lower back.

I do believe my little HP Pavilion dv2000 laughed out loud when I turned on my wifi and searched for a connection. The closest city was Rouen - 60 or 70kms away and there didn't seem to be anything spare in the tiny hamlet we'd located ourselves in.

And so we had arrived in Normandy.


Anonymous said...

I love the policeman's socks! Is it dresscode? See you tomorrow (eat your hart out other fans! Di is mine tomorrow afternoon!) But I'm sure we'll talk about you all!

Di Mackey said...

:) That's no policeman ... he's a businessman in a suit and I thought his socks were so incredibly cute. (hope that he didn't mind)

And thank you for imagining that I have fans, I'm still smiling as I write this.

It will be good to catch up with you, and this time without the sore back.

Peter said...

Sounds like you had a great time ;-) I spent a couple of hours in Rouen when I visited Normandy last August.

WiFi in the French countryside is indeed non-existent (a 31,000 French hotspot listing is available at

Anyway, it was fun reading how much you all enjoyed yourselves.

I still wonder whether this trip to France was long planned or just happened to be a break you all needed.

Di Mackey said...

Rouen is lovely, isn't it? My opinion could have been coloured by finding just the right pair of sensible yet pretty leather shoes for photography work :)

You are a font of interesting knowledge ... a wifi hotspot listing wasn't something I had thought to search but thank you, I'll know what to do in the future.

The trip ... well we knew our American friends were coming for quite a while, and we knew we wanted to wander in France but we put together a last minute kind of itinery ... hence the weakness in our gite booking.

It was fun though and it was action-packed. We all enjoyed France and we came home exhausted.

Manictastic said...

Didn't you try some cider? Normandy is famous for that, methinks.
Good to see you had fun in the bathroom, um I mean bedroom :P

Di Mackey said...

Well actually, I nominated others as cider tasters. Not really but Gert preferred to drink it there, as did ML.

Me ... well I had to remain loyal to my first love and stayed with lovely French red wines.

ML said...

Oh indeed we did have a fabulous time, thanks to truly amazing hosts who took us all over France! They were wonderful and we enjoyed it all tremendously!! ( yes I loved the cider!) We are still exhausted, having gone to a class reunion the day after we arrived home, but the memories and love we received was wonderful! And yes Ms. Three is adorable, as is her mother! Thank you both for an experience we shall never forget!

Di Mackey said...

And we would say a huge thank you back to you and Al :) I hope you get a chance to recover now. Gert and I have had things to do but we've tried to do them slowly ... 2 days in the sunroom for you now, with a good book.