Retromobile week

First thing tomorrow I am catching the train via Bordeaux to Paris where I shall meet up with my friend CB who is currently making his way, also by train, from England.

The excuse is the classic car show Retromobile.


Woke up on time this morning but with a slight tummy ache. I swear those iron pills are the cause of it all. After a small breakfast I set off on foot to the train station which is less than 10 minutes away and half of that is along the Canal du Midi. Very convenient indeed even of the weather is grey and a bit wet.

The train is on time arriving in Carcassonne and almost empty. I can settle for the very comfortable ride to my first destination and catch up with my emails and download the daily Corona Virus data.

The train arrives at the Gare Montparnasse on time and I jump into a taxi to take me to the hotel near Les Halles. My friend CB arrived a few minutes earlier and is sitting outside the bar across the street from the hotel.

In fact we have a few drinks in a couple of places before we walk to the reserved restaurant.

Day 2

„Il est 5 heures, Paris s‘éveille (hit song in the 60’s from Jacques Dutronc) and is exactly how I feel. In fact I can hear the rubbish truck doing the rounds in the street below.

If the café / bistro across the street was already open I would go there for a coffee.

Il est 5 heures, Paris s‘éveille

Today the main plan is of course the Classic Car show „Retromobile“

We spend a good 3 hours in the exhibition halls at the „Porte De Versailles“. Many cars to be seen and not as many people than the last time we were there a couple of years ago.

By now it is lunch time and a large drink is needed. We do not go far. Just across the road of the exhibition hall there are quite a few bistrots and restaurants. The weather is pleasant enough and we can sit outside and that large beer is more than welcome. So is the salad, so is the 1st bottle of wine and so is the 2nd bottle of wine…

Time to head back to our hotel‘s area where we go for a long walk towards Notre-Dame. A lot of emotions walking around the Cathedral. The damage from the fire is still very visible.

The crowd is very silent. Fortunately from the front it is still majestic.

The choc is a bit too much for me, so we cross the bridge and head for one of my old local (50 years ago) “Le Petit Pont” for another 2 bottles of wine…

In the evening I have reserved a restaurant in the 5th arrondissement which my very good friend Guy (whom I met in Shanghai) opened not too long ago.

We take a taxi to „Le Coq et l‘Elephant

We are well looked after. The food is excellent, the bottle of wine is very good and the Armagnac is out of this world.

A short taxi ride and we are back in our area and decide to have a night cap before retiring to bed in the bar across the street from our hotel. This will prove fatal for the next day.

One has to understand that we have to climb 4 floor of horrible stairs to get to our rooms at the hotel. The is a daunting task every time. Somehow we manage it…

The rooms are not much better. I would not dare show the shower… In my room, there was only one plug available, near the ceiling at that. Not easy to recharge my phone, tablet etc etc.

Despite the noise outside around 2 am, I can sleep a few hours and that is for sure not enough

Day 3

The main plan for today is the „Eternelle Notre Dame“ show booked for 3 pm and after our slight excesses the previous day, we think it might be a bit early.

However, the hotel being so bad we go out for breakfast before 9am and decide to take a slow walk around town. From les Halles to Le Louvre, Rue de Rivoli, Opera, Place Vendôme, Champs Elysée, Etoile, Avenue de la Grande Armée and finally la Porte Maillot where we sit exhausted in a bar for a couple of glasses of water. Neither of us fancies any lunch.

Walking back is out of the question and we decide we are in serious need of a nap. We jump in a taxi and it is back to the hotel for one hour or so before we jump into another taxi and head the „Arche de la Defence“ where the Eternelle Notre-Dame show is taking place. It is virtual reality at its best. I can only recommend it and will surely do it again when they go around France later this year.

When it is over, we walk through the La Defence quarter to catch another cab back to the hotel for yet another rest before dinner.

CDB is not quite up to going out but since I have made an appointment with my brother, I feel obliged to go and decide to walk there adding another 2,5 km to the day‘s 11km so far. It is sunset time and the view crossing the bridge over the river Seine is simply outstanding.

A few steps away from the Pantheon.

Place de la Sorbonne

is the Corsican restaurant „Le Cosi

Nice atmosphere, nice food I however take it very easy and drink only a couple glasses of wine and the offered digestif.

Back at the hotel by 10:30pm and a needed early night

Day 4

A lot of walking again today. My phone registers 13,2km for the day. First on the list is the Musée Carnavalet which shows the history of Paris. My first time there and quite interesting.

One of my favorite exhibit is the armchair from Voltaire. It is exactly what I am looking for in my living room to hold laptop, notes and pens …

After the Museum, we walk around Le Marais area in search for a restaurant and settle for a Thai

Back to the hotel for a well deserved nap

Late afternoon we decide to go for another long walk and aim for the “Jardins du Luxembourg”. It used to be one of my favorite spot to hang out in the summer after school (sometimes during school).

Walking is thirsty work and we are soon back at the “Café Le Petit Pont” for a couple of beers

Dinner is at a Japanese restaurant almost across the street from the hotel. Early to bed.

Day 5

Checked out of the hotel this morning. Glad to see the back of it. It is not a place I can recommend or stay in again despite the excellent location. After a quick breakfast at the ground floor of La Samaritaine, CDB and I split our ways.

I take the RER train to St Germain where one of my brothers is picking me up. On the way home we stop in Parly II shopping centre for a couple of errands and we have a coffee. I bump into one of my old flames. Quite a choc to see V again after all these years.

My brother does not live too far and we get to his place very quickly for a well deserved rest and apéritif.

Lunch time we go to and we have a good time and the food is excellent

In the evening we are all off to the other brother for aperitif, dinner and in my case overnight. Excellent dinner, wine and music.

It is not often that the 3 brothers get together

Day 6 (Last day)

An excellent night at my brother’s house. Nothing planned this morning apart from an early apéritif. I am given a lift to the RER station in St Germain early afternoon.

A train soon comes by and within 30 minutes I am Gare de Lyon in the centre of Paris.

The train arrives 20 minutes late which could be a problem for my connection in Montpellier

In the end it is not a problem and I enjoy the ride back home

It has been a good few days, the highlights being Paris itself, Notre-Dame and in particular the excellent virtual show “Eternelle Notre-Dame.

Paris, I’ll be back very soon

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