A Travellerspoint blog

Paris

Out of fashion Paris style

semi-overcast

It’s now the 26th of September and I guess this will be perhaps the last chance I will get to blog before I get back to England. I’ve been in Paris now for two days; the first day was spent catching up with the blog and basically just relaxing. Judging by the people who return to the hostel every evening looking completely exhausted I made the right call on my first day here to venture only as far as the communal area near the kitchen.

It’s been really nice to be here and I’ve met as per usual lots and lots of really cool people; I shall miss these places once I’m back home. It’s once again been great to hear of other peoples adventures and also to share my own.

I did manage to venture out of the hostel yesterday evening (Tuesday) for a short walk around the neighbourhood the hostel is located in. I’m situated in Belleville and surrounded funnily enough by all number of Chinese restaurants and shops; it’s like I’ve come full circle and am back in China!

It’s quite an arty area and the cafes at night time are populated with the chicest of the chic young things all donning the latest in fashion, crossed legged, deep in conversation over aperitifs. I looked quite out of place in my cycling shoes, shorts and fleece, very un-Parisian.

Tom’s wife Charlotte arrived this morning and we were there at ten to pick her up from Gare du Nord. It was great that she was able to come out to spend this special day and equally heart-warming to see two people close to me reunited. It reminded me very much of the quote from the movie ‘Love Actually’ by Hugh Grant and although he uses it in reference to airports it’s equally apt here:

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around.

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We walked out on the streets of Paris in search of Tom and Charlotte’s hotel so that they could drop off their bags before heading out to do a spot of sightseeing. Tom and I have done well with finding our way around but Charlotte immediately took charge and new automatically where to go. I commented that it would be good if she could accompany us for the final leg of our journey such were her navigational skills.

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Walking around the streets of Paris one immediately knows why it is the home of fashion and we passed person after person all immaculately turned out. Once again I looked down at my clothes and it really looked like I didn’t belong I’m really looking forward to the prospect of a pair of jeans and a shirt with buttons!

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You can almost see Naomi looking down on my dress sense!

We took in all the usual sights The Champs-Élysée and La tour Eiffel for the customary photo opportunities but we were really just ticking boxes. This is also Tom and Charlotte’s day and as much as I’m sure they didn’t mind having me in tow I decided it would be best to leave them for lunch and head back to the hostel. We were all somewhat exhausted and despite Paris’s amazing metro system we did a fair bit of walking around.

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So hear I am, ten o’clock and I’ve managed to finish off all our food in the fridge and even prepared some extra to take on the road tomorrow. My days of having to consider whether we have enough food or not for the next day are almost at an end.

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The weather forecast doesn’t look so good and once again we hit the road tomorrow hoping to reach somewhere near Louviers south of Rouen. I am a little concerned that we don’t have place to sleep tomorrow night so it looks like it might be one final night in the bivy before heading off to Dieppe on Friday.

Our ferry leaves on Saturday morning at 5:30 so we are probably looking at the prospect of two slightly uncomfortable nights sleep before arriving back on homes shores at 8:30 Saturday morning. Nevertheless I’m sure the adrenalin and excitement of being back will mean the effects of fatigue won’t hit us until late on Saturday night; at least this is what I’m hoping.

I’ve cleaned up my Panniers, jacket and shoes and rearranged them all perhaps for one final time. I’m very conscious of the fact that I don’t want to look a complete state when I roll back into Forest Row. I’ve held off cleaning the bike due to the continual rain but hope to give her a quick clean too before arriving home. The bags feel much lighter now that I’m carrying far less food and when I look at what I have left it makes me think that I got the packing for the trip pretty much spot on.

So…….that is Paris, please pray for a dry day tomorrow but more importantly a dry night as we head north towards Blightly. Perhaps there will be an opportunity for me to update the blog from the Ferry terminal in Dieppe late on Friday night so keep a look out for any postings.

As the trip is finally coming to an end I was thinking if anyone has any specific questions they want to ask about it you could drop me an email at paulsmith90@hotmail.com and then I’ll perhaps post up the answers to some of them when I get back. I’m happy to be able to share my experiences with you all.

Au revoir mon ami……. à bientôt

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Posted by Ontheroadagain 26.09.2012 13:26 Archived in France

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Comments

Oh my goodness Paul! We are filling up as we read possibly your penultimate blog! We will genuinely miss your wonderfully, exciting,narrative, descriptive, emotional, funny, challenging, inspirational and thought provoking blogs! There aren't words enough to describe just what you have achieved and what a witness you have been to us and thousands, now, of others throughout the entire world! A massive achievement. Be very proud you are so much more than just a man on a bike, let us say it for you! You certainly will be an emotional 'Eiffel' when you enter Forest Row. It has been a total privilege to follow your epic journey! Thank you for sharing it with us all! We are cheering you home and praying for that final dry run in the sun please Lord!! MUCH LOVE Jan and Alan.

27.09.2012 by JanMitch

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