"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on July 16, 2016 by Sioux under General
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The train trip from Barcelona to Paris was long, but relaxing. I had a window seat so had good views of the stunning countryside.

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Paris …. Gay Paree …. Paris in the springtime ….                                                           Champs de Elysee ….

Eiffel Tower…. all conjure up romantic images in the mind’s eye. My trip to Paris was nowhere near. Getting off the train, my first thought was ‘its smelly’. Another passenger off the train commented on the same thing. My second thought was ‘its dirty’……and it was both. A rude (foreign) taxi driver took way too long to get to the hotel I had booked on the internet, and then short changed me! Not the best way to start a holiday.


The area the hotel was in looked very dodgy and stupidly I had booked for cost not location – I was very far from the famous landmark. The reception looked fine but when I went up to my room I was nothing short of horrified. If I hadn’t already paid in full (clever receptionist), I would have left there and then. The walls in some places, were only just whitewashed, in others pain bare plaster; and as I was soon to find out – were drywalls, paper-thin drywalls. The floors were bare concrete, and where there was carpeting it was threadbare. My room was fair, with a wood laminate covering, and the view – I wanted to cry! I looked straight out into the side of the dirtiest building I had ever seen. Oh well, this was just for sleeping in, and only for 2 nights. I unpacked and went on a walkabout, hanging onto my camera for dear life!

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I walked up an embankment and alongside a river (not the Siene) for about an hour. Trying to find a shop that sold food and not electronics, junk or clothing was proving impossible. I found a small little ‘greasy spoon’ type place and rather than have cooked food, it was fruit, crisps and water for supper. Talk about jailfood! I ate may fare and wanted an early’ish night so as to be out early for the hop-on/hop-off bus tour, but the Spanish sounding family in the next room were so noisy, if I had understood the language, we could have had a conversation through the walls – I could hear their every word, and every movement, including anything that happened in the loo! The ad on the internet had specified soundproof rooms – they would get a piece of my mind for sure!

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Back at the hotel, I settled down to watch some TV but everything was in French!


At least the evening shadows darkened the sides of the building outside and I got a fairly decent sunset!

The oldest traces of human occupation in Paris dating from

between 9800 and 7500 BC. Between 250 and 225 BC, the Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic

Senones, settled on the Île de la Cité and on the banks of the Seine, built bridges and a fort,

minted coins, and began to trade with other river settlements in Europe.


In the Middle Ages, Paris was the largest and one of the most important cities in Europe and was

the birthplace of Gothic style architecture.A city that could be called a survivor, Paris has survived

Bubonic Plague in the 14th century; The Hundred Year war in the 15th century; French Wars of

Religion and French Revolution; heavy bombardment in both the First and Second World War

and a revolution during Napoleonic times; but still the city is one of the most visited in the world, with a number of famous sites, including Notre Dame, The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.


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