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Saturday 26th - Monday 28th February 2005. Me and Chie went for a weekend away in Paris with Yuka and Miho.


12:39:56 In the departure lounge at Waterloo, eating assorted foodstuffs bought at Marks and Spencer.

12:40:17 The same again but with a different setting on the camera (actually I think I just turned the flash off).

14:15:22 On the Eurostar now, not that long after the train left Waterloo. Having been originally placed in two separate sets of seats (despite having requested a four seater bit with a table), there did actually turn out to be a spare four seater bit in our carriage, which we then moved to. I don't really understand Eurostar's seat allocation system!

14:16:14 Me and Miho. Chie had rather brilliantly suggested I should bring my hipflask with me - this made the journey far more agreeable! Whisky officionados may wish to know this was filled with Talisker Distiller's Edition.

14:16:21 Another hip flask shot.

14:16:28 Seemingly Chie was really keen on getting this right!

14:17:50 Somewhere between London and Ashford there had obviously been a fair bit of snow!

17:30:10 Taken on arrival at Gare du Nord... so we're on French time as of now!

18:29:13 Our hotel, which was pretty basic but actually suited us rather well...

18:29:35 ...not sure of the reason for all the acrobatics here, I think we were just trying to make the picture interesting somehow!

18:33:52 Chie coming down the steps in the hotel.

18:42:45 As a nice surprise, just round the corner from our hotel was Fauchon - a sort of French version of Fortnum and Mason I suppose. There were some extremely nice things in here, including this rather fantastic pile of fresh truffles. (Incidentally I ended up buying one on Monday for the princely sum of 39 Euros).

19:02:43 This is Madeleine, I think.

19:13:30 We decided an early evening stroll to get in some of the sights would be nice before dinner, so here we are taking a wander down towards the Arc De Triomphe.

19:34:10 A bit closer to the Arc de Triomphe.

19:34:44 Chie rather dangerously in the middle of a very busy road!

19:39:01 There was some anniversary party or opening bashor something like that here, which appeared to warrant an ice sculpture.... and why not?

19:51:58 Chie, Yuka and Miho, with the Eiffel Tower in the background seemingly being shot by some kind of laser beam.

19:55:50 The result of a direct hit from the laser seemed to cause all these little white lights to appear on it. Perhaps a defence mechanism, or maybe just an electrical fault?

20:08:59 The Eiffel Tower from right underneath.

20:26:46 This picture seems to have broken!

20:27:00 So we decided to go up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, mainly to get a good vantage point for some night views of Paris...

20:27:42 ...I played with various light settings which seemed to get the pictures wrong in a variety of different ways...

20:28:46 Yuka and Miho (Chie was inside in the warm at this point!).

20:31:00 The cold made it hard to keep my hands steady, and therefore hard to get a non-blurred picture.

20:32:01 Actually Yuko and Miho are in this picture, but they're very hard to see as they're in silhouette against a black background.

23:07:20 After the Eiffel Tower, I left the girls at a restaurant where they had dinner, and I went off to meet David for a drink.

23:07:52 ...David was somewhere around the Gare Du Nord, where he happened to be staying due to the rugby or something.

23:08:44 Robert (David's Dad), Will and Bob (may have got the name wrong there - sorry!).

00:30:06 The first bar got a little "choppy" as Will put it, so after a failed attempt to get a drink in David's hotel bar (it closed quite opressively early), we went back to the bar next door for a couple more.

00:55:54 David, quite reasonably, decided he ought to call it a night around 1AM, as he was going to be getting up to catch a plane in about 5 hours time!

01:47:48 The Metro having closed, I resorted instead to walking back to our hotel, pictured here. Judging by the time between these pictures I must have been walking for about 45 minutes or so. As an amusing end to my evening the front door of the hotel was entirely locked, and poor old Chie had to get up in order to come down and let me in.


10:42:43 This is a picture of me, hungover (having not actually had any dinner the previous evening), on the Metro.

10:50:46 Chie, not hungover, but blurred.

10:58:17 As most things close in Paris on a Sunday, we decided to spend the day on a tour of markets, which for some reason aren't closed. This market was somewhere near Bastille, if I recall correctly.

11:00:21 A lovely bread stall.

11:07:41 Hadn't seen much snow settled elsehwere in Paris, but here at least there was some.

11:16:48 I find it near impossible to resist buying olives from this kind of stall, whether hungover or not.

11:16:56 I think Chie took this picture of the stall where we got the olives. Not really sure which way up it is supposed to be!

13:06:36 After the food market, we progressed on to some antiques markets, somewhere in the North of Paris.

14:05:26 We stopped for lunch at a place ajoined onto one of the antique markets. Chie had a pot au feu...

14:05:51 ..and rather impressively the menu also included an "assiette vegetarien", which I was rather pleased about. This made for a rather nice lunch, albeit a tad pricey for what it was.

15:39:37 On return from the North of Paris where all the antiques markets where, Chie wanted to take a look ath the Opera building, which was not too far from our hotel.

15:39:50 Chie on the steps.

15:41:47 Inside the Opera building.

15:43:52 We spent a few minutes rather engaged in a bit of daftness, trying to get a picture with a finger person and this pop-up opera house card in the background...

15:44:25 you can see we had several attempts at this...

15:45:24 was hard to get the focus right. This is probably about the best.

15:45:33 ...a strange way to pass the time, but there you go!

16:04:41 I was pretty knackered so we decided to pop back to our hotel for a late afternoon nap. On the same road as our hotel, I was idly browsing a menu in a restaurant window, when I noticed this rather cute little mouse fellow on the curtain rail.

16:05:05 He really was tiny, very sweet.

18:20:52 After a brief nap at the hotel, we decided to head out for a pre-dinner drink. Chie had found in her guidebook the alleged birthplace of the Bloody Mary - a cocktail I am rather fond of. As a slightly amusing aside we initially went to the wrong place - we went into what we thought was another door for the bar in question, but was in fact another bar. By the time we realised we already had our drinks (which were very nice) and didn't much care!

18:22:17 Chie enjoying a Mojito, which judging by her highly entertaining behaviour afterwards must have been pretty potent!

18:22:40 The interior of Le Sherwood - not the bar we were intending to go in, but nice nonetheless.

18:39:49 To illustrate our mistake here's the outside of Le Sherwood...

18:40:01 ...and next door where we originally planned to go, Harry's New York Bar.

18:47:21 Inside Harry's New York Bar. The decor was a little strange - a mixture of coats of arms from English schools and universities, and flags from American universities.

18:47:51 The Bloody Mary was, incidentally, rather good. The major difference between this and other "pretenders" is that there wasn't really a lot of tomato juice in this one. Quite a lot of alcohol, including (I think) Bombay Sapphire Gin.

19:03:46 Chie is hiding her face here I believe as a result of being embarassed about being rather tipsy. She had a Pernod in here which was lovely as ever.

20:30:54 For dinner I'd done a bit of research, and chosen from Time Out a Cafe on Rue Lafayette named Generale La Fayatte. This turned out to be a choice Iw as rather proud of - the food was very good, the decor very nice, and the service fantastic.

20:34:38 I started off with a very nice Salade Aux Crudietes, and the girls shared a Soupe a L'oignon and something involving herrings, I think.

20:36:52 Yuka getting stuck into the cheesey crouton thing.

20:50:43 Chie, plus some of the decor behind her.

20:57:45 Me and Chie, and a piece of bread.

20:59:15 There's a feature on my camera where you can set the white balance by focusing on something white first. I've never really bothered to use this before, but as I had a white plate in front of me I gave it a go, and was very pleased indeed with the results.

21:15:29 Our main courses must have arrived - I hada very nice mushroom omelette. Chie had something involving goat's cheese, and the girls had duck and lamb (?!) I think.

21:16:10 A slightly unusual angle of me, mid-eating.

22:08:01 A picture of my place mat, just to make absolutely sure I remembered the name of the place properly.

22:11:18 Yuka went for the Creme Caramel for dessert.

22:11:34 Possibly a tarte tautin...?

22:11:49 I went for the predictable but very nice Mousse au Chocolate.

22:20:12 I admired the determination with which Yuka ate her Creme Caramel.

22:50:10 Chie wanted to get a picture with our waiter, who was really excellent, and bore an uncanny resemblance to Liam Neeson, don't you think?

23:07:04 A picture of the Opera house, taken on our way back to the hotel.


11:06:20 We kicked off the morning with a Scandanavian sandwich (?!) at a place called Nils, which was very good indeed.

11:06:44 Lovely, just what I wanted.

11:07:12 Nice modern decor.

11:17:44 The second cup of coffee was free!

11:32:34 Just after breakfast, a random picture or two in a park we happened to wander through.

11:32:54 ...and again.

12:10:41 On Pont Neuf. Chie and I had sat here before to eat cake on our last visit to Paris.

12:11:07 A nice picture taken by Chie of me and a lamp post on Pont Neuf.

12:14:18 Me on Pont Neuf again.

12:14:22 Chie was clearly feeling in a very photographic mood at this point!

12:14:45 One of the boats that go from Pont Neuf.

13:24:28 For lunch we went to a place called Cigale which is famous for Souffles.

13:33:42 I went for the Morel Souffle with a cream of mushroom sauce.

13:33:52 I think this was the Souffle Henri IV. Not sure exactly what it constituted, but the name was good enough by itself.

13:34:05 Me and my Souffle.

13:58:31 We shared a couple of sweet Souffles for dessert - one chocolate and one caramel. Unusually for me I think I preferred the sweet ones to the savoury.

16:13:33 After lunch Chie and I went for a wander round the shops. Here we are in the cafe at the top of Printemps, which has some rather nice views out over Paris.

16:13:54 You can just about see Sacre Coeur in this one - I got a much better one later on.

16:14:14 Chie, seemingly pointing at a bush.

16:21:18 There's Sacre Coeur again.

16:21:43 ...and again.

16:22:29 Some Parisian rooftops.

16:22:40 Look - the Eiffel Tower!

16:22:55 It was a bit cold up here though of course!

18:37:45 We clambered onto the train to head home to England just after six. On the route through France to the channel tunnel we were treated to a rather nice sunset.

18:38:24 A random picture of Chie in a luggage rack (we did actually have seats!).

18:38:45 Me, on the way to the buffet.

18:39:59 More sunset.

18:40:58 We had to queue for quite a while at the buffet, and so I took the opportunity to get some more pictures of the sunset.

18:42:46 I actually quite like the window frame being in this picture, it gives it a certain je ne sais quoi.

18:44:43 Chie wanted to get a picture of our reflection here.

19:09:02 Finally we were served at the buffet. I was highly sceptical about the prospect of getting any kind of reasonable food in a train buffet, but decided regardless to have a go at this Vegetable Gratin. It was in fact actually pleasantly surprising.

19:09:57 Again I had a fiddle with the white balance settings, and was rather pleased with the improvement.

19:10:21 Me enjoying (again, with some surprise) the food I'd bought at the buffet, on the train.

19:10:27 A close-up on the gratin, which came with bread, which was also rather nice.

19:31:10 We retired back to our seats after we'd finished the gratin, and I took this bizarre picture of the drinks and nibbles we'd assembled on the little seat-back table.