With the weather forecast boding well for the weekend, My wonderful husbee suggested a weekend break in Paris, which meant lots of vide greniers as well. The last time we visited was a couple of years back, when we went to the motorhome show there, staying north west of the city, first on a campsite for one night, then at the show itself, as it’s only 5€ to park the van there, and then a really easy scoot into the city.
This time we stayed on the south eastern side, at a site that takes our ACSI card (which enables cheap camping for a van, 2 people, a dog and electricity of a maximum of 18€ a night – bargain price for being 25minutes out of the centre, this site was only 16€ per night). We ended up staying 5 nights, as we had a great time.
The Sunday was lost in a blur of about 10 vide greniers around the city, and I bought some wonderful pieces of bling for my baglets. My long suffering husband chauffered me around on our trusty scooter, while I collected my stash – I think what we are consuming in beer and wine I am more than putting back into the van weight wise in bling!
Once the business side of the visit was complete we concentrated on the beauty of the city, fed the numerous ducks in one of the fabulous parks to the east of the city, and exploring the Latin Quarter by the Seine.
There’s a very old and gothic cemetery where Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are buried, to the north east of the centre. It’s an amazing place, with huge old family tombs a covered in moss, all haphazard in design and creating the most atmospheric grave yard I’ve ever seen. With the sun out and the trees providing shade and lots of dappling light it was very emotive walking around.
We tracked down a delicious Kurdish kebab shop, four days on TripAdvisor, and joined the queue to taste their delightful chicken kebab. This isn’t your average kebab which looks like a huge sausage then carved off, but marinaded skewers of chicken fillet, cooked over charcoal, while the flat bread is cooked in front of you, rolled out and popped into the oven only to reappear minutes later, bloated withe air and cooked to perfection, light and airy. The cook then pops some tzatiki style sauce on it, some salad, including our favourite coriander, 4 big skewers of the charcoal cooked chicken,and then dusts it with seasoning – I think Sumac, slightly lemony in flavour. The queue was about 10 deep when we got there, and the team worked really well together, with kebabs flying out with each order. We chose chicken but the also had vegetarian options, and lamb. At 7€ it wasn’t cheap, but certainly very tasty and I would go back.
I can commend watching the beautiful architecture of Notre Dame in the light of the sunset, and just sitting on the steps of Mont Matre people watching, trying to spot the pick pocketers out of the tourists, and being amazed that people still fall for the 3 boxes and one pea conman trick. We also found great pleasure in the immense space by the pyramid at the Louvre, saving going in for another visit.
One area I wanted to explore was Chinatown – found by a Google search, and we were instantly transported to the Far East. Loads of restaurants witb the crispy peking duck hanging in the windows, and numerous supermarkets selling all manner of ingredients and fesh products that to my shame I have no idea what some were. We did stock up on some things including a great chinese dry mix for Char Sui pork, the bright red pork – I discovered it on our last french trip, and have bought loads more as it’s really tasty.
It’s a really lovely city, although like any big place some parts leave a lot too be desired, but it’s great trying to get under the skin of it all. We weren’t all blessed in Paris tho, as our lock for the scooter broke, so we had to pop into the weird jumble of the Leroy Merlin store opposite the Pompidou centre. On entering the shop, they ask what you’re looking for, then tell you to follow a certain colour line on the floor and it leads you down escalators, up steps, round corners in a store that is like a tardis inside. A 10 minute walk later and you find the padlocks, and have to follow the line back again to pay and get out.