At last we managed to get up for breakfast, although it was not what it was cracked up to be. Overdone bacon, the tiniest sausages; quite overrated if I might say so. My experiences of hotel breakfasts have been better in Travel Lodges and Premiere Inns.
Today – our last – was a free day, but there had been plans for a trip up the Eiffel Tower and a river cruise on the River Seine. And on a hot day like this one, even the queues to walk up to the second level of the tower are long. So me and Hannah, having already seen the view from the top in our previous trips to the capital decided we would go off and visit something we hadn’t done. Like, say, the Arc de Triomphe (see pictured).
Indeed, our contemplations to cross the roundabout circling the structure would definitely have been ill-fated. It is without a doubt the most dangerous roundabout in existence, and I fear the ones in England!
After getting in for free, and pulling muscles and God-knows-what-else to get to the top of the Arc, Hannah and I had a chance for some pretty nice views. It was amazing to see how little the Eiffel Tower looked from where we were standing, but we could also see Paris around us. Including a set of skyscrapers (see pictured below) in the distance, which we affectionately now know as Dubai Junior.
But oh dear God the weather was wonderful. The first genuinely nice day we had had whilst in France, and typically I was wearing three layers (I really couldn’t win). And with the added exercise of having to descend all the stairs down the Arc de Triomphe again, Hannah and I thought we had definitely earned ourselves a cocktail. So we just sat outside the first little place we came across, whose name I really wish I could recollect because the prices were really good.
My choice, Panthère Rose; Hannah’s a Daïkiri Ananas (see both pictured). The latter is, as I was later to remember a Pineapple Daiquiri, rather than a banana one.
My cocktail was a mixture of champagne, gin and stawberry liqueur, so camp as pink ink just like me. And as per the ingredients of a Daiquiri, Hannah’s was rum-based.
Utterly gorgeous and refreshing in the heat we had been standing in whilst atop the Arc de Triomphe. And not badly priced either at €9 apiece.
Shortly afterwards we boarded the Bateaux Mouche, which is a long boat that takes one down the River Seine, alongside all the sites like Notre Dame and the Louvre. On the way upriver you’re inclined to think it’s one of the best experiences of your life, but then you have to come back down again and you find yourself a tad on the bored side.
After that, we went in search of a late lunch – our decision to have a nice big sit-down meal all of us together went out the window. And amidst not knowing what a Harlem Shake was, me, Hannah, Lina and Rhiannon passed several restaurants, all of them with sky-high prices. But then we remembered how The Frog XVI had been recommended to us by Connor, James and Josh on the first night. It turns out it’s a nice little pub, not dissimilar from a Wetherspoons in atmosphere or decor. And to Rhiannon’s delight, it was showing the rugby on the TV, in which Wales were playing. So while my Welsh companion was happy watching Leigh Halfpenny (very closely), I was more concerned with the food.
Now compared to all the other places we had eaten at, The Frog XVI was probably the most over-priced for what we received. I chose to opt away from my usual fine dining and have a burger. A blue cheese burger, to be precise (see pictured). It comes with all the trimmings, tomatoes included sad to say, as well as lightly spiced potato wedges. That came to just over €15. It was a proper burger, mind you. Not something you’d buy at McDonalds, no. I have my burgers medium rare and it was cooked exactly to my liking, something that has become less of a rarity over my French travels. And the blue cheese melted over the top created such a glorious smoky second flavour. But not worth the heartache of a price I had to pay. I bought a 70cl bottle of Poliakov Vodka from an off-licence for just €10.
Oh, and Wales won, so Rhiannon was twice as happy.
Well we’re nearly at the end of my Paris series. Five days time will bring you Part VIII, my finale. But do not fear, there is a string of other reviews to come after this, from all the way in Wimbledon to back home in Poole.