April in Paris – Pt 1

Posted on 21/04/2019 By

April in Paris.

Bertie: “What’s the matter with you, Bobby me old mate?”

Bobby: “Gout!”

Bertie: “They took my bleedin ‘ead off last year. Anyway, wot about our ‘oliday round Europe?”

Bobby: “Well, it’s just two weeks away and I can hardly walk.”

Bertie: “Do you know what mate? I don’t think you really want to go.”

Bobby: “‘Course I do. I’ve booked all the tickets and reservations.”

Bertie: “Well, in the past you were dead up for it mate. Full of it. Over excited, even by your standards. This year hardly said a word. Be honest. Do you really want to go?”

Bobby: “Those first two trips all round Europe on trains were fantastic adventures. Look where we went. Paris, Venice, Rome and lots of other places.”

April in Paris: One coin in the fountain. Fontana Di Trevi, Rome.

One coin in the fountain. Fontana Di Trevi, Rome.

Bertie: “…and you had won that money. Bereavement was the excuse to blow it. Not just holidays, but all that new furniture. Doing the house up. Buying Eamonn. And anyway, let’s face it… you are getting old, Bobby!”

Bobby: “So what to do?”

Bertie: “You keep banging on about your ‘higher power’. I reckon gout has come from there. Given you an excuse not to go and save face!”

Bobby: “The train fares are lost, but most of the hotels can be cancelled. All apart from Paris.”

Bertie: “Righto mate. Here’s the plan. Go and see Dr Moffett and get her to recommend not going due to serious gout. Tell everyone and they will feel sorry for you. Then cancel everything, apart from Paris.”

And that’s what we did. Spending three days in Paris, spread over two blogs.

April in Paris

April in Paris: Approaching Gare du Nord.

Approaching Gare du Nord, Paris.

Aoril in Paris: Boulevard de Magenta. McDonalds having a bit of bovver.

Boulevard de Magenta. McDonalds having a bit of bovver.

April in Paris: She’s nice! Receptionist, Hotel Beaurepaire.

She’s nice! Receptionist, Hotel Beaurepaire.

April in Paris: This isn’t! Smallest lift in the world. No way, I told Bobby. "Get me out of this tin can. Quick!"

This isn’t! Smallest lift in the world. No way, I told Bobby. “Get me out of this tin can. Quick!”

April in Paris: Sidesaddle. Is this hotel for midgets?

Sidesaddle. Is this hotel for midgets?

April in Paris: Bobby loves maps. He also loves the Paris Metro. A match made in heaven. Work out where to go and which route on the Metro. Screenprint it and off you go.

Bobby loves maps. He also loves the Paris Metro. A match made in heaven. Work out where to go and which route on the Metro. Screenprint it and off you go.

Arriving mid afternoon, the hotel was close to Place de la République. Gout or not, we were going to enjoy this April in Paris. This square was renovated a few years ago to provide a large pedestrianised space. One end is dominated by the statue of Marianne, personifying Liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, and fraternity), the values of the French Republic. It’s a great place for people watching. And has become the focal point for rallies and demonstrations. Much like Trafalgar Square in London.

April in Paris: Marianne.

Marianne.

April in Paris: We sat in the window of a café for ages. At one end they had free dancing.

We sat in the window of a café for ages. At one end they had free dancing.

April in Paris. Picture of man walking the street with a cat on his left shoulder!

Hi Viz Vest "Gamelles Pleines, Benevole".

Gamelles Pleines Benevole – French Homeless Charity.

April in Paris: At the other, a large soup kitchen.

At the other, a large soup kitchen.

Gamelles Pleines volunteer. Translated “Full Bowls”. Les Restaurants du Coeur. Translated “The Restaurants of the Heart”. An animal welfare charity. Their website is only in French. If that is your hidden talent, try this: www.gamellespleines.fr. However, by the wonders of modern technology, Google very kindly does a reasonable job of translating the website, so those of us who are less fluent can also benefit. The translated website can be found by clicking here (link correct at the time of blog post).

It was quite an experience watching the sun go down over Place de la République. Loved it there. We did have just one planned visit. Predictably, the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace.

This is the subject of next week’s story. For now, we head on to our last day before heading home on Eurostar in the evening. With no plan, we noticed a leaflet for “Basilique Saint-Denis” (the Basilica of St Denis). Looked interesting. Had its own Metro station. So off we went.

April in Paris: Metro station for Basilica of St Denis.

Metro station for Basilica of St Denis.

We were quite unprepared for just how important this Abbey Church is in French history. Basically, nearly every French king has been buried there. The French Revolution brought vandalistic desecration and the removal of the bodies into mass graves. De-consecration followed, to be reversed by Napoleon in 1806. The full story would take a book. But, we can recommend en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_Saint-Denis, for far more detail.

When we arrived at the church, the door was locked for a funeral. Waiting by a café, in a pleasant garden area with seats, we were surrounded by school children and their teachers. All in school tabbards. Clearly waiting for a history lesson in French royalty before the Revolution. All very well behaved as we entered this magical place.

April in Paris: Exterior of the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

April in Paris: Nave of the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

April in Paris: Roof vaulting of the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

April in Paris: Part of the interior of the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

April in Paris: Graves in the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

April in Paris: Burial Chamber in the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

April in Paris: Stained Glass windows in the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

April in Paris: Statues in the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

April in Paris: Gravestone of Marie-Antoinette in the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

April in Paris: Ornate seating in the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

April in Paris: The Basilique de St Denis. One place we must go back to another day.

The Basilique de St Denis. One place we must go back to another day.

April in Paris: Nice day at St Denis.

Nice day at St Denis.

With an afternoon spare, we had a few rides on the Metro. A visit to PSG (Paris St Germain) football club and a boat ride on the Seine.

April in Paris: Arts et Métiers Metro Station sign.

April in Paris: Arts et Métiers Metro Station..

April in Paris:

April in Paris:

April in Paris: Brilliant. Arts et Métiers Metro station. A Jules Verne inspired creation.

Brilliant. Arts et Métiers Metro station. A Jules Verne inspired creation.

April in Paris: The station for PSG.

The station for PSG.

April in Paris: When Zlatan and Becks played for PSG. We bought Bobby’s grandson a baseball cap there.

When Zlatan and Becks played for PSG. We bought Bobby’s grandson a baseball cap there.

April in Paris: St Germain.

Paris St Germain.

April in Paris: Louvre Metro Station.

April in Paris: The Louvre Metro Station, with replica statues.

The Louvre Metro Station, with replica statues.

April in Paris: Eiffel Tower.

A boat ride on the Seine. Three lovely days - our April in Paris.

A boat ride on the Seine. Three lovely days – our April in Paris.

April in Paris: Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong.

Ella & Louis

Next week:

April in PAris: The Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace.

The Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace.

Lighting a Candle for Diddley – and Notre Dame.

Three years ago, following our Blog course with the Gentle Author, we jumped on a Eurostar to Paris and lit a candle for Diddley in Notre Dame.

Three years ago, following our Blog course with the Gentle Author, we jumped on a Eurostar to Paris and lit a candle for Diddley in Notre Dame.

April in Paris: Our candle for Diddley - and Notre Dame.

Our candle for Diddley – and Notre Dame.

It’s a stark reminder of “living in the day”. One day, she will undoubtedly rise from the ashes.

April in Paris: The magnificent nave, in happier times. The cross above the altar survived almost unscathed.

The magnificent nave, in happier times. The cross above the altar survived almost unscathed.

ParisRailway Journeys    


  1. Avatar katherine says:

    april in Paris… how wonderful! thanks Bertie

  2. Avatar Bernard says:

    Lovely photo’s good representation of Paris.

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