Monday, 31 May 2010

FIRST DAY IN MONTPELLIER






Sunday in France was Mothers Day. We walked past the boulangiers where the locals were lined in the streets to collect their orders of pastries and baguettes for the day. The flower shops quickly emptied as people waltz off with arms full of colour.

In the afternoon we caught the train to Montpellier, travelling through Nimes, the country side was beautiful, lots of farms and little ancient villages. It has been a nice journey on all of our train trips, Oh, that's other than Kate being accosted again! Some nut got on the train and came to our seats and began begging, when he received no joy he continued to berate Kate who, by this time, had almost dug a hole. Luckily we had no idea what he was saying.

After arriving in Montpellier we booked into Kate and Kim's apartment. We then went into the square in the old part of town nearby, which was full of atmosphere with a writers weekend happening in the Place de Comedie (a main square in town). Lots of books and music. We had a meal and checked out the surroundings, then it was time for me to toodle off to my new home for the month. We found the red doors in the narrow winding street of my hosts house, rang the door bell where Madame Francine came down to let me in, the girls returned to their apartment.

We had to walk up 2 floors of stairs and Madame insisted on helping me with my big heavy bag. Thank goodness I took her flowers. The stairway was wide and when Madame opened the door to the apartment I could not believe my eyes. A huge dining room with a gold framed Mirror on the floor leaning against the wall, probably 4x3 meters. I had to close my mouth cause next I saw the grand piano in the lounge room. Monsieur Paul is also very nice (even though he informed us that we were no longer to speak English, only French!), they have 3 adult daughters living in Montreal, Paris and London. They are dancers and uni lecturers, do you think I am out of my league?!!!!

It just so happened that another student arrived to stay with them yesterday as well. He is a young man from Boston called Josh. Josh has a big bedroom next to their yellow and blue kitchen. I have the next bedroom which contains a double bed a single bed, two desks and a massive antique robe as well as a tall boy and two long windows reaching up to the tall ceilings. Paul told me the building was built in the 17th century. Below their apartment are some boutiques and on top of them is an empty apartment. There is only one other, one room studio, in the whole building so most of the time they have it to themselves.

All of the ceilings are ornate and the floors are huge limestone slabs, all original. Still getting use to these old buildings, unfortunately I left the window open during the night and an electric drill sound that had kept me awake ended up being a pigeon sitting on the windowsill.

It was comforting to go to Alliance Frances, a 5 min walk, with Josh. He told me how he was blown away upon arriving at the house and how they cooked him whole quail for dinner. We were gloating, that was until we were given a 4 page test once we arrived in Alliance Frances! To work out which classes we should be divided into. Its hard to remember anything under pressure and I couldn't think. Madame Rous came to me and told me to come back at 11! She did ask me what I would do for 2hours before I return and I told her I would visit my 2 daughters. She replied in front of everyone at school that she hoped I was there to study and not just for a holiday! No pressure or anything! I walked out of the ancient building (yet again) down the wide marble staircase, past the mirrored walls and the stained glass domes, out onto the cobblestone street and went to visit the girls.

Upon my return I was put in a class with a New York woman...and Josh. He got kicked out as well. We had a young girl teacher, she is really nice and I enjoyed the lesson. We have homework..what?!

The girls met me for lunch and afterwards we did the usual walking around. Its very windy here, all the greenery off of the trees is all over the roads. We spent some time together and now I must return to the other home to do my homework. Girls are happy to rest in their apartment (which is the size of my wardrobe) for the rest of the evening. BUT, before I go we are going to have a cake for Mezza's Birthday. Happy Birthday Maryann. The candle on your cake cost 2 euro from the basilica sacre cure in Paris . Hope your day is great.

love Ros Kate and Kim xxx

Saturday, 29 May 2010

LAST DAY IN PARIS








Every time we go out into our little narrow street there is a different restaurant open, they seem to spring up from no where. Right by the two large entrance doors to our apartment where it has been quiet all week, we discovered a restaurant/bar that kicked on all night last night. Most of the people are out on the street so its loud and it felt as though our beds were bang smack in the bar.

So, we had a lazy day today, wont bore you with the details as it is the same ol same ol. Walk your socks off...getting to be a bit of a bore isnt it? Another Basillica, another 17 crt gold statue, more roads leading to more ancient buildings. More cobblestone streets to climb along. More of the Parisian stalls with the Paris handbags, statues of the Eiffel tower and postcards of Mona Lisa. Ho Hum! Another bridge with 25 bronze statues.....AND THEN WE DISCOVERED A HOME MAKER SHOWROOM! What fun, they had really nice light fittings, curtains and home fittings and fixtures, bit like a trip to IKEA. We had to drag ourselves out.

Later in the afternoon we ate in a Korean restaurant before watching buskers in the square.

Tomorrow we train it to Montpellier where the weather is 27c. Its currently cold and raining here in Paris and everyone is getting caught up with Tennis fever and Eurovision.

Love Ros, Kate & Kim xxx

Friday, 28 May 2010

The Can Can is a dont dont!

















Early Thursday morning we met our bus for a day trip to Chateau de Versailles built in the17th century by Louis XIV. It was raining, but that didn't deter us, we hopped onto the top of the double decker for a good view and within half an hour we reached the Palace with 700 rooms, 67 staircases and 352 chimneys and I could probably tell you a lot more if THERE WAS'NT A STRIKE WHICH PREVENTED US FROM SEEING ANYTHING INSIDE.

As I said it was raining, we had a look at the gardens which are so beautiful but not a day for taking photos. I felt bad for the girls as I have seen it before. But, cant help bad luck, we were back in Paris early so had a nice lunch and visited the Pompidou Centre which is right near our apartment. Its a very radical architectural building housing modern museums, cinemas and more. It was really good. Outside in the square we found more buskers which are always entertaining.

I hate to say it but we walked a long way in the rain again yesterday, its getting to the point where we walk past Notre Dam without a second glance. We weave in and out of the motorbikes parked everywhere and past the homeless without a gawk, we have stopped looking up at every building and church because we are almost saturated with history. So last night we downloaded Desperate Housewives and 3 of us sat in the bed and watched 2 and half hours of rubbish and thoroughly enjoyed it.

This morning the sun shone again! We walked to the Jardin Du Luxembourg where we had a picnic lunch in the gardens. Some of the nicest things in life are free. We walked through the Latin Quarters where narrow winding streets house Latin restaurtants displaying their food to entice the throngs of tourists. It was hard to resist the smell of chickens roasting out on the cobblestone streets, tapas, a large pig on a spit with the juices dripping on to the vegetables below and seafood with huge crabs displayed on strings....still moving awaiting the pot.

Big night tonight..we were booked into the Moulin Rouge. Our opinions of the night slowly soured as we were hearded to our table like cattle and given 30 minutes to eat a 3 course meal that was .. how would you say...expensive and 2nd rate. It was dissapointing to see a show with great costumes but not that good with the dancing. All the songs were mimed. Kate and Kim hated the way animals were used in the show. The snakes were taped up so they wouldn't poo in the pool where they swam with a topless girl. A dog was performing with a ventriloquist but it didnt seem too natural with his act. Some of it was good. But all in all, I think after 120 years its time for a change, Edith would turn in her grave. I Liked it much better years ago when it suited the times.

When we left the Cabaret the streets were filled with life. Open top double decker buses driving tourists around to see the city lights. Traffic everywhere, people and bikes. Paris is a buzz 24/7.



Wednesday, 26 May 2010

I'll Salvadore your Dali












Great day today!

We visited the Espace Dali Exhibit at Montmartre where many great artists, poets, writers and escentrics habited. Although it was surrounded by the tourist trap restaurants, artists displaying their paintings and shops, the exhibit was fantastic. We all enjoyed it, especially Kim who has a passion for Dali's work. He had a colourful and imposing presence, was a great draughtsman but an unusual human being. He grew a flamboyant moustache which became an iconic trademark of his appearance for the rest of his life

Perched at the top of Montmartre is the Sacre Coeure (Sacred Heart) Basilica, Its huge! We found it particularly interesting as it was modern compared to all of the medieval churches we have visited. Outside was one of the most spectacular panoramic views of Paris. And where ever there is a tourist there is action. Lots of entertainment from singers and buskers of all descriptions.

Late this afternoon we visited the Forum des halles, use to be the cities main food market but now a five story shopping centre. It took a few hours and lots of Euros for us to get out, and even then we didnt see it all. Richard, please send more money!

We are still entertained by the ways of the French. Dogs seem to have a status above many humans, its still a shock to see them in restaurants, trains and walking with their owners through crowds of people. It's almost cruel. Smoking.....everyone smokes....especially whilst walking along busy areas. Skinny bitches smoke in restaurtant's whilst they consume a shot of espresso, then they toddle off on their 4" stilettoes looking absolutely fabulous. They NEVER eat! All French people look lean and attractive.

love Ros, Kate & Kim xxx

As Salvadore once said. "There is no use trying to be a perfectionist. You will never reach it!"

video video

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Escorted out of the.... cemetery















Another beautiful day in Paris. After a bit of housework we did some shopping in the supermarket (where by the way we bought a bottle of Bordeaux vin blanc for 1.80e and a red for 2.40e, both good stuff). We sat on the pavement with many others, as you do, in the Brassiere and had a French salad for lunch.

Afterwards we went to Pere Lachaise Cimetiere where many of the giants of French arts, politics and culture are buried. We made a point of paying our respects to Jim Morrison from the Doors. He moved to France in 1971 to concentrate on writing but was found dead in the bath of his apartment (in the Le Marais neighbourhood). There was never an autopsy so it was not proven to be drugs although he had lost a lot of weight, shaved his beard off etc etc.

Both girls agreed it was more fun than the Eiffel Tower. It was a huge cemetery and before we could see Edith Piaf, Colett and Oscar Wild we were escorted out as it was closing time, 7pm! I had to leave my wilted flower for Edith with some poor bugger who died in 1758! We plan to return tomorrow.

Dinner tonight, 'A La French' in our apartment.

Love Ros, Kate and Kim xxx

Thinking today of Andrew Eime who is riding his bike from Perth across the Nullarbor with Graham Manou and three others from the cricket fraternity to raise funds for Tour de heart, Ride for life. Click on this link to see their blog, Everyday Hero.