La Fin!

Today was our last full day in Paris and the end of our holiday. It’s hard to believe, but it feels like we have been away for ages and we are all ready to return home.

We caught the train out to Versaille to see the Palace and the gardens.  It was soooo ornate with baroque flourishes everywhere that it almost hurt your eyes!! The palace and the gardens are so extensive, it’s no wonder that they were all so removed from the lives and struggles of ordinary Parisians. Vive La Revolution!

We walked and walked again today and have now completely run out of puff!  We ended the day by having a beautiful meal and a last walk across the bridge to look at Notre Dame lit up at night. We head to the airport tomorrow mid morning for a flight to Dubai and a 10 hour stop over (in the airport hotel) before tackling the long flight home.

Thanks everyone for your comments, we’ve really appreciated them.  All three of us agree that it has been a tremendous holiday and we each have our own particular favourite bits. I am sure that Connor can’t wait for us to return home!!  Au Revoir and see you all soon.

Carmel, Ellen and John.

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The End…..La Fin!!!!

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Death and Religion

Today we headed to the Catacombs to see the vast number of human bones (in the millions) that were interned here many centuries ago.  Their remains were transported from many local churchyards around Paris from the late 1700’s, where after a time they became a bizzare attraction for the well to do and famous, with even a concert being held down here.  The bones were originally dumped down into tunnels but after a time were  arranged in patters, using the skulls as a decorative feature to create love hearts and other patterns wih other bones surrounding these.  There are miles and miles of these tunnels deep under Paris, way below the Metro and the water pipes.  We decended a long way down to reach these tunnels (after waiting for one and a half hours to get in.  Thought I had purchased ‘skip the line’ tickets, but apparently didn’t!)  Only some of the tunnels are opened to the public to view. It took us 45 minutes to walk through from one end to the other.  It was cold and errie down there, such a bizzare experience walking through tunnel after tunnel of the human remains of fellow humans who were alive centuries ago.

We then went back to see the inside of Notre Dame after last night’s viewing from the towers as we wanted to  see those beautiful stained glass windows.  Such a magnificient building inside and out.

We also decided to go and see Sainte Chappelle, based on Lizzies magnificent photos, which was just down the road from Notre Dame.  The stained glass windows here were truely magnificient and our photos dont do them justice.

We are very quickly running out of steam, with one full day left in Paris tomorrow.  We ended the day in a lovely little restaurant a couple of doors down from where we are living. A lovely meal for very weary travellers.

Carmel and Ellen

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Art and Architecture

Today was all about culture (and lots of walking.) This morning we headed to ‘The Louvre’ to have a good look around. We had a 5 hour good look around and still only saw a small  amount of what was on display. We spent some time looking at the Egyptian collection and then headed as all visitors do, to the Mona Lisa. There were so many people crowded around the Mona Lisa trying to take selfies with the painting in the background. Very few were actually looking at the painting. Ellen was wrapped to see it in real life, I’m sure it’s something she’ll remember for a very long time. I was pleased to see paintings by David, Ingres and Leonardo. We were absolutely exhausted when we left the Louvre and went home for a rest before going out again for a night tour of Notre Dame.

This was a brilliant experience. It was a tour that I booked which allowed us to climb to the very top of Notre Dame. There are over 400 steps. The guide who took us was excellent and gave us a detailed history of the church, the architects and changes to the building overtime. We were up the tower when the bells rang but thankfully they rang in the other tower otherwise it would have deafened us. The view from the top was amazing. We saw the Eiffel tower light up and sparkle as it does everynight at 8pm. This experience has been a real highlight for us all.

Carmel and Ellen.

(Lizzie note Ellen’s bag.)

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(Photo credit to Ellen…)

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LIZZIE and Disneyland!

Today was a great day. We met up with Lizzie at 9am for a bus ride to Disneyland, Paris. It was so bizzare seeing a family member on the other side of the world. We were at Disneyland all day until 8pm and went to both Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios and we moved between the two parks though out the day.

The rides I went on were terrifying, for me anyway. (ellen- So mum went on a merry-go-round, tea cups, flying rockets-which weren’t even fast. The scariest one she went on was the parachute one which went up and down and if you take a look at Lizzies blog you will see a picture of mum looking at her best.) Thanks Lizzie for all those wonderful shots of me looking absolutley terrified!!

Good Luck Lizzie and have fun in England see you back home.

Carmel and Ellen.

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EVERYONE PLEASE NOTE: IT MUST HAVE BEEN A SCARY RIDE BECAUSE LOOK AT LIZZIES FACE IN THIS PHOTO!!!!!-Carmel

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Eiffel Tower!!!

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Guess what we did today??

The day started off with a walk to the tourism office to collect some prebooked tickets.(Thanks Tam!) Ellen did a little shopping on the way and bought herself some addidas shoes that she just HAD to get. There are magnificant buildings everywhere you look. It is so busy and so crowded with police everywhere.

Early in the afternoon we set off to catch a train to the Eiffel Tower but the line was closed so we thought that we would walk. When we found out how far away it was and what time we had to be there according to our tickets, we decided to catch one of those bicycle cabs. Big mistake. (ellen- that was the worst thing I have ever had to do in my life. It was so embarrassing. No one should EVER have to be that close to their parents.) The price of the trip was increased to a per person cost rather than a trip cost. We haggled a medium price-you live and learn! All was forgotten the moment we saw the Eiffel Tower. We had tickets for the top floor and stopped on all 3 floors on the way down. It is unbelievably big and the view from the top is awe inspiring.

We walked most of the way back but nearly didn’t make it back because we were dying of thirst and our feet were killing us. We caught a bus part of the way home and collapsed at a little bistro for dinner. Home now and watching ‘Les Simpsons’ in French as we rest our weary bodies.

Big day tomorrow as we catch up with Lizzie and head to Disney Land.

Carmel and Ellen.

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view from apparment window. It’s small but is in a fantastic location.

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Ellen’s private nook up stairs.  She’s happy to have a place away from us after living together on the boat for a week!

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Yesterday and today

Yesterday we were off line as we ran out of internet.

We went through our very last lock and docked in the beautiful little town of Homps. It was another hot day so we were lucky that there was only one lock to navitgate. We had to clear up the boat in time for a 9am checkout this morning.  Last night we went to a beautiful restaurant to celebrate the end of our boating adventure.  The food was delicious. (delicous chocolate mousse)

Today we left by taxi for a 30 mintue drive to the Narbonne train station, followed by a 4 and a half hour train journey to Paris. We are all very tired and grumpy tonight from the hard work of a week on a boat, and the travel with 3 large suitcases.

We did however manage to get out for a walk around the area of our airbnb, which is about 2 mintues walk from Notre Dame (It is glorious!!)  Ellen was so excited to see the very top of the Eiffel Tower which is visible in the distance.

We all need a good sleep in a normal sized bed!

Carmel and Ellen.

Photos of the last 2 days.  PS. Luke, we saw a boat with your name on it, so here’s a photo.

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The last lock (note the beer in hand at just past noon at beer o’clock)

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And from today…

 

 

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Hot, Hot, Hot!

Today was the warmest day we’ve had. It was very hot. We had lots of locks to travel through, there were a number of double locks and one triple lock. In total we went through 12 locks and it was hard work today because of the heat. We travelled from Trebes to a lovely town called La Redorte. We have been for a little walk and ride around the town and it was very ‘French’ with really old buildings and again window shutters everywhere.

Since we’ve been here we have eaten a truckload of baguettes. We have gone from egg and bacon in England to baguettes and croissants in France. The French buy fresh baguettes every day to have with their meals and we’ve adopted this habit. We are absolutely exhausted but very pleased with our efforts.

A big happy 18th birthday to Elliot!! (good luck Therese and Geoff!!!!)

Carmel and Ellen

Unbelievably, in this tiny country town they have a wifi hot spot next to the dock so we will be able to upload some pictures from today and yesterday.

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We saw these swans the night before swimming together down the Canal. Here they are again the next morning, swimming right up to the boat. Ellen fed them some bread.

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Here’s John hard at work ordering his crew around.

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ellen- this is evidence of mum on a bike. Please note that she is not actually riding it.

Carmel- I DID actually ride the bike thankyou very much!!!!