Look at Mr Omneo getting all multi-lingual, or at least trying, there is a reason I tend not to travel overseas. When I get to France, I don’t so much speak Franglais as manage to blend English, French and Italian and to the untrained listener you would think I was a native Japanese speaker trying to practise all three after locking myself away in a darkened room with nothing but the BBC website for company ;)
In actual fact, my inability to speak a foreign language is not through lack of trying. Over the years I’ve invested heavily in books, cassette tapes (remember those?) and compact discs in an attempt to learn French, Italian, Japanese, Czech and Arabic. Strangely I was told my Arabic and Japanese pronunciation was better than my French…go figure!
When I was 19 I went on a mini-adventure that took me to France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco and 1 hellish night and day in Gibraltar. I returned to the UK with extremely fond memories of Portugal and I’m sure a girl called Virginie from Avignon still has a sliver of what passes as my heart, but that’s another story. I ended my trip with a six week stint in Paris, or more accurately a suburb called Saint Michel sur Orge. It wasn’t until much later I realised just how far away from the centre of Paris I really was so I left with pretty non-memorable memories. Paris? I thought, Nothing special, what’s all the fuss about? On the recent Eurostar sponsored day trip I went on my opinion changed a little. What little of Paris I did see, I saw through different eyes and I made a mental note to return, after all it’s less than 3 hours away from London which is about 2 hours less than a trip to Glasgow (my home town), another city where the natives speak a foreign language ;)
Paris got bumped up my must visit list when I discovered a new website called Le Nouveau Paris which is a dream come true for a lazy planner like me. Quite simply it’s a selection of over 250 venues: museums , monuments, unusual places and more than 700 events per year: festivals, concerts and exhibitions. It also has a series of guides and routes to help you discover Paris according to your interests. I love the personal folder option. As you browse the site and see places you like you can add them to your folder so you don’t forget them and then create your own personalised itinerary. The site also encourages your language enhancement, although I signed up in English, some of the emails and on site messages are in French. No problemo for Mr Omneo and his vast collection of dictionaries ;)
The Comité Régional du Tourisme of Paris Ile-de-France asked a selection of bloggers to conjure up their vision of that New Paris and to stop us going crazy set an imaginary budget of €1,000. Now, I could probably spend that all by myself having dinner but they want it stretched out a bit further than the 20 meals I’d have in honour of Mr Jorrocks! So using their site I planned a weekend break for myself and my imaginary partner where we’d spend our imaginary €1,000.
As I’m spending imaginary money I, of course, decided to blow half the budget on 2 nights at the lovely looking Hotel de Buci which is a boutique hotel with only 24 rooms in the Latin Quarter, 2 nights with breakfast comes to exactly €500, I think I may have to cut down on those imaginary meals! However as it’s located between the Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, the Sorbonne University, Musée d’Orsay and the Jardin du Luxembourg it means there’s lots to see on the hotel’s doorstep so that will save transport costs and walking through the cobblestoned streets will burn off all those imaginary meals I’m going to indulge in ;)
To start the weekend off my imaginary partner and I would conserve our imaginary euros by checking out some street art. Until 10 January the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain has an exhibition entitled Born in the Streets and according to FatCap there are almost 500 works of street art to be found at a total cost of €0… Mr Omneo likes free! In the evening it would be dinner and music at Bizz’art before a slow walk back to the hotel for a nightcap in preparation for Sunday!
Being a bit of a jazz fan and given Paris’s long association with jazz and jazz musicians this turned out to be a harder process than I thought. Thanks to sites Jazz Guide I discovered there is a Miles Davis retrospective being held at the Cité de la Musique so that’s a must do activity probably followed by a leisurely lunch at A La Poule au Pot. After lunch it would be a metro journey over to L’Entrepôt which is an arts centre with exhibitions, cinema, live music and quelle surprise! a restaurant! Mmmmm… After that it’s probably time to unwind with a drink and a boogie and by my reckoning Djoon sounds like the ideal place.
Phew! After all that in one weekend Mr Omneo is in need of a holiday. Paris sounds good, who’s coming?