We arrive at the traffic chaos of Paris around 3.00pm. Thus far our joint effort of navigating and Kerry’s driving was working well. But the Parisiens have an annoying habit of creating lanes where there are none. One knot actually had six lanes of traffic (where there should have been two) trying to push through an intersection where the crossing traffic was trying to do the same but our lanes reduced to one lane on the other side of the intersection. This is not a time for politeness and courtesy apparently as every other driver asserted an apparent right to pass through the intersection ahead of the crowd. Meanwhile the traffic lights flicked from red to green to red ignored by every vehicle choking the intersection. As with passing trucks on the highway during heavy rain and fog – you hold your line and keeping moving. Kerry toughed this out and the traffic spat us out into the relative calm on the other side. We made it to the Hotel amid many sighs from the back seat.
The Hotel Mercure Montemarte is well located between the metro stations of Place de Clichy on the blue line and Lamarck-Cauliancourt on the chartreuse line. It also has “parking available” which means there is a parking station nearby – something we learnt after getting there. It has a modern reception (there is no desk between you and the receptionist who walks around with an IPad and distributes keys). After booking in while Kerry battled her way into the carpark we met (by accident) on the footpath collected the luggage and retired to our rooms. We had been on our bums nearly all day and Kerry and I were itching to get out and walk.
With no particular goal, we walked to Place de Clichy, bought a 2 day metro pass, and caught the metro to Saint Michel. On surfacing from the underground we headed across Pont Michel along Rue du Palais and Pont Change. We could see Notre Dame on the eastern end of Ile de Citie and off to the west Tour Eiffel and the dome of the Grand Palais. We decided to check out the Musee du Louvre. It was not open but still a vision by night. We then travelled west through the Jardin Tuileries onto Place de Concorde and the Obelisk. We sighted the Xmas lights of Champs Elysees and straight away Kerry wanted to walk through there.
Both sides of the Champs Elysees was alight and bubbling with Xmas stalls and food. We enjoyed a truly unusual French delight – Baked potato with various toppings – far more a Midlands/ Yorkshire dish.
Nevertheless on we strolled, passing children’s rides and umpteen shops until we reached the commercial end of Champs Elysees. We were starting to tire so we called it a night outside of the Lido and caught the Metro at George V metro station to Charles de Gaulle Etoile metro station which got us back on the blue line to Place de Clichy, our hotel and bed.