Marathons and memories or I love Paris in the springtime!

We had visited Paris on our way back to Ireland from Canada.  Whilst it wasn’t the most direct route, there had been method in our madness. We needed to collect our new Peugeot Station Wagon from the factory depot, having paid for it before we left Canada. We spent just one day in the centre of the city with our two children, Katy and Patrick, then aged 5 & 3 respectively. Having arrived on an early morning flight from New York,* our hotel room wasn’t yet ready for occupancy, so we were served a ‘petit dejeuner’ in the hotel lobby and we set out to visit the city. Along the Champs Elysée, towards the Place de la Concorde, Patrick spotted a McDonalds. So whilst Maman and daughter were served Café au lait et chocolat chaud in a sidewalk café on the Champs, my beloved husband was swept off to McD’s by a very determined red-head, Patrick.

This past weekend was the opportunity to see some of the sights we hadn’t managed to fit in during the intervening years. It had started with a casual question from Patrick. “Will you come and watch me run in a marathon, if I find one to run in a nice place?” Our offspring are inveterate runners. Marathons have been entered and duly completed. Shamefully, parents had only managed to witness the end of one! It was therefore decided that as long as we were given sufficient notice we could arrange to absent ourselves from home for a few days. Hence our trip to Paris.
”Mum, can you book a table for 17 for Sunday night after the marathon?” Such is the web connecting parents, young and their friends that in very short order a the required reservation was made by a valued friend living in the south of France.

Friday night saw us  walk to Chez Gabrielle, 7 rue de Étoile, 75017, Paris, for dinner.  The meal was delicious. It had received an excellent review on Trip Advisor and certainly lived up to our expectations. I won’t list all our menu choices, however, I will mention that we all ended up choosing the same dessert of roast white peach and crème caramel.

Créme caramel and roasted white peach.

Créme caramel and roasted white peach.

Saturday was the day for sight-seeing. We walked; well no.1 hubbie walked pushing ‘the ol bag’ to The Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs Elysée, across the Place de la Concorde as far as the Louvre, where we were finally able to see The Mona Lisa and most impressively, La Ronde. The foundations of the original castle on the site. Five floors down under the Louvre itself.

On the way along Rue des Ternes we couldn’t resist looking at some of the offerings of two of the shops. I planned to buy some asparagus before we came home. Somehow all I managed to find time to purchase were two heads of garlic!

Cherries were €20 half a kilo!!!!

Cherries were €20 half a kilo!!!!

Fish stall just off Rue des Ternes

Fish stall just off Rue des Ternes

Yorkshire terrier sitting in the sun.

Yorkshire terrier sitting in the sun.

Hubbie at The Arc de Triomphe

Hubbie at The Arc de Triomphe

Marathon no 8 – Paris 

The Marathon was completed in impressive style by Pat and his friends, Malcolm and Kerry,  in personal best times for Pat’s two friends. Mal and Kerry. Pat certainly didn’t disgrace himself by being only 7 minutes under his PB.

Paris Marathon 2012

Malcolm, Pat & Kerry -Paris Marathon 2012

The delicious celebration meal in Saint Ferdinand Bistro that night was memorable and the evening finished with a brief visit to James Joyce’s Pub on Boulevard Gouvion St Cyr.

*That is another long story which can be covered another time!

When the hubbie and I get away from our day to day responsibilities we are like a pair of little kids or teenagers on the run. We try to fit in as much as we can.

Warwick’s parents each had a brother killed during the First World War at the Somme so we made a side trip to see the area where Patrick Gilbert was lost and to visit Jack’s grave, in Arval cemetery, near Dunkirk. I was under strict instructions not to cry as it all happened a long time ago! I defy anyone not to feel something when they look at the ages of the young men who died. At an age when the young men should have been coming to adulthood, they were laid low. It is of note that they were all given a tot of rum to bolster their courage as they went over the top. In one account one sergeant got very close to the German line and was seen laughing uproariously at the opposing troops shooting at him.

It was great to arrive back home, the trees are further ahead than those in Paris; the weeds hadn’t grown too much. However, we needed to catch up with the chores in the garden. So on Friday, we planted the new asparagus crowns which had arrived just before we went to Paris. We will have to wait at least two years before we can cut any.

New asparagus crowns being planted.

New asparagus crowns being planted.

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