Oui Paris!

Much to my excitement, Paris was next on the map. I have always had (as I think everyone does) a romanticised idea of Paris in my head. From bicycles to baguettes and croissants to fine wines, Paris was always going to leave an impression.img_1521_fotor

We arrived at our aire which is located just outside the airport (location, location right?) and only cost five euro a night. Score! Even though the planes were a little noisy, they also zipped amazing pastel contrails across the setting sky in the late afternoons. Unfortunately, we didn’t realise that the aire had over 800 camper van parks on site AND there was a campervan show on that same weekend. To say it was busy was an understatement of epic proportions. Every serious campervanner or wannabe campervanner was there with kids, dogs, cats, trailers and smart cars in tow. Sassy was easily dwarfed and we felt like instant outsiders knowing our van’s worth versus the worth of these monstrous motorhomes and huge pop out loungeroom/bedroom buses. The monetary value was definitely no object for some of these people and it was pretty crazy to see just how far the home on wheels idea could be pushed. In the aire, there was no view, no facilities and it was a 10km+ ride to the centre of Paris through what can only be described as the ghetto suburbs but, we happily paid the cashier and spent a couple of days enjoying all that the city of love had to offer.

dscn1309-copy_fotor

Luckily, Sassy was a stand out with her blue/purple tones and distinctive butterfly designs.

img_1493

A romantic, outdoors dinner with views of about 12 other caravan butts. This is living!

On our ride in and out of the city centre, we noticed that we passed whole neighbourhoods which were almost like little countries all of their own. There were distinguishable differences in the culture, decor, food and people as we progressed every couple of blocks. This was the first thing I did not really expect: the huge cultural diversity in Paris’ outer ‘burbs. The inner suburbs were very much what I expected to find and the French people that we engaged with unfortunately inclined towards living up to their snobby status, not that we minded at all, we were in Paris!

DSCN1311_Fotor

Looking out across the Seine.

DSCN1315_Fotor

Padlocks of love.

img_1489_fotor

Street Performers

We meandered through the streets, picked through second hand clothes and food markets, marvelled at street performers, discovered trendy shops and drooled over delicious smelling restaurants all on day one.

dscn1353-copy_fotordscn1322_fotordscn1388_fotor

dscn1396_fotor

Pretty stoked with my Eiffel Tower views.

The second day we purchased one of the hop on hop off bus tours to allow ourselves to get more acquainted with the history and architecture of the city, helping us efficiently tick off all of the main attractions before lunchtime.

dscn1340_fotor

dscn1334_fotor

dscn1376_fotor

Then we walked back to the Eiffel tower with locally made wine and cheese in hand to enjoy the view of the sunset before bicycling home to find Sassy amongst the motorhome maze once again.

img_1523_fotor

Joining the crowds for a sunny afternoon of wine and cheese on the iconic Eiffel Tower lawn.

Day three was spent back in the city, suburb hopping on the trains as we tried to secure cheaper tickets for one of the cabaret shows from the kiosk vendors unfortunately, we just missed out. We rescued Sassy from her maze of campervan terror that night and free camped outside one of the expensive campgrounds instead. It was quite fancy inside and we creeped in late at night for a cheeky shower, (after extensive baby wipe showers for three days) before heading off the next morning in search of the coastline and waves.

-rocketandramble

@rocketandramble

Advertisements

An introduction to France: Reims

DSCN1283_Fotor

Hanging on the steps of the Cathedral.

Reims was the first French city we visited and it did not disappoint. We scored a coveted carpark in an aire just outside of the CBD and rode in on our bikes to roam around. The place was buzzing with people rushing everywhere, all going about their business not at all concerned with two Australian travelers standing in the middle of the tram line, breathing it all in. 

dscn1288_fotor

The architecture in Reims super impressive, from the gargoyles on the gothic to the streamline angles of the modern. Maybe it’s charm had more of an effect on us as it was our first introduction to the country of love.

dscn1276_fotor

Glorious Gothic architecture.

dscn1287_fotor

Better than the architecture, was the music festival being set up nestled under the Notre Dame cathedral. The sound test was blaring out of the speakers as crowds gathered, curious to see what all the noise was about. While watching on, we also witnessed a rather hilarious (for us anyway) situation where a man’s dog soiled the middle of the busy street and he had a lot of trouble awkwardly trying to pick it up while his large pooch pulled eagerly on the lead while continually walking through the mess making it much worse. Poor guy.

dscn1274_fotor

img_1471_fotor

The lineup.

We felt it was going to be a serious party later that night, so we headed back to Sassy to eat, change and enjoy some French wine and cheese before we came back to see the live performance in full swing from our free vantage point outside the barriers, standing on rubbish bins, much to the security guard’s disapproval. After our legs wore weary, we wandered towards a hot chocolate on our way home and crashed for the night keen to head off early the next day.

dscn1345_fotor

I love gargoyles!

 

-rocketandramble

@rocketandramble