We had an expensive and unremarkable breakfast at the hotel in Reims….we decided to forgo our idea of doing a champagne tour and head on the 180km ride straight to Paris. I had been expecting the area of Champagne in France to resemble something like the Swan Valley or Margaret River, but from what we saw it was nothing like it….disappointing!
We found the camping ground Le Beau Village in Villiers-sur-Orge, not far from Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois. The office was closed when we arrived at lunch time and didn’t open again until 3. We managed to squeeze the bike through a side gate and waited. We met an English rider, John, and he and Vince chatted a while. I met a German couple and chatted with them. All were very interested in our trip and shared their own travels with us. The pitch was right near the bar and toilet area (you have to supply your own toilet paper here!) and was fully exposed with no trees or shade…at a cost of 20 Euro per night without power but it was all there was. Once we set up we took a train to Paris…only to discover the line was closed further down and the train returned to where we started! We got off one stop early and swapped platforms and found we had to change trains further down ….but we got there in the end after about an hour and a half. We got off and had a bit of trouble trying to get out of the underground shopping area…when we eventually surfaced like little Moles…we had no real idea where we were. We tried to get some dinner at a nearby restaurant but they said the kitchen was closed …it was still daylight and only 7.00pm ….what is it with us and food?…seems we can never find any! We went back to the underground shops and had some takeaway food there before getting back on the trains to repeat the comedy performance return trip. We had a noisy night with the bar patrons carrying on until at least 1.00am! We met a German couple who had been in Paris for the Citroen 60th Celebration…..there were lots of them under the Eiffel Tower!
Our second day went similar to the first in terms of catching the train but this time we changed in Paris to the Metro and we got to the Plas de la Concord – where there were many Citroen’s including the new release. From there we walked to the Eiffel Tower because the line going there was closed for work. The map was very deceptive and it was quite a long way before we got there (about an hour and a half). We got some food from the street stalls and I had a very long wait for service for my crepe, Vince had finished his meal before I could even order mine as the guy serving was hopeless…it was like watching Manuel from Faulty Towers! We intended to climb the stairs for a Champagne at the top…but the line for tickets was unbelievable….so we decided to forget that idea. We then caught the metro to Notre Dame and walked along the Sein to the bridge with all the locks but it was falling down, completely full and boarded up! I was disappointed as I had promised myself next time I came to Paris I would not be on my own and I would put a lock on that bridge. We continued walking to the next wire bridge, near the Musee de Orsay (my favourite!) and they had started putting locs there, so we picked out a spot, from the Louvre side, between 12 and 13 posts along, towards the middle, 2nd row down facing the Musee de Orsay….! Perfect….everything happens for a reason! The lock from our wedding is now there, engraved with our details and we through the key with our surname engraved into the Sein! Mission accomplished…..my Husband has a solution for everything! We got back on the Metro to Madeline where we intended to get some food from Fuchon, but it was closed! We ended up in a lovely sidewalk cafe for a meal….Vince had a Beer and I had a Champagne….a very romantic off bike day! What a Honeymoon!
We made our way back home on the train and again were kept awake by the revellers at the Bar….this time we joined them for a bit. Ruddy, and elderly Frenchman got out his violin and was playing for his supper, someone else started on the mouth organ and a Frenchwoman got me up to dance with her….all good fun! We chatted with another tenter, who was Dutch, he had come with the Citroen thing….everyone is interested in our journey and they all admire our bike.
Our final day in Paris was a late start with the usual train changing fun and caught the metro to Galleries La Fayette were I got a padlock charm for my bracelet and we had some lunch. We then went sight seeing, but this time we saved our poor feet and took the Hop On Hop Off bus tour of Paris….at Madeline Fuchon was still closed and the smaller one was open but corded off – the guy at the desk had not interest whatsoever in serving us. We finished up in Monmarte and walked to Guard De Nord station, stopping in a nearby cafe (Chinese) for dinner before catching the train home. Kept awake yet again by the revellers at the bar until well after 1.30pm!!! Lesson….when agreeing to a tent pitch check out the shade situation and the entertainment areas…..if you want to get some sleep!