Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Travel Series: FRANCE (1998)

Last time in this travel series, I was telling you guys about our time in Italy in 1998. From Italy we drove to the French Riviera, passing through Monaco, Nice, etc., on our way back to France. You might recall we had previously passed through France on the way to Switzerland, but after Italy we were heading back to France to do things properly. I'm guessing that from Nice we headed north to Lyon, and then to Paris.

Heading for Nice, Marseilles, etc.
As close as I got to the Tour.

On the 7th of May we made it to Paris, and I wrote the following postcard to Mum:

Date: 7/5/98
Place: Paris, France

Unfortunately, due to my present condition (homesick, sore neck, travelling with Dad) I'm unable to enjoy this famous city as I usually would (I think). The only thing that cheers me slightly is that we're gonna have a coffee. I've seen the Tour d'Eiffel and I'm gonna see the Louvre, so what do I have to complain about...?


Yes, I admit I was really fed up with old Daddo by this point, and vice versa. But we were sore (pretty sure I had a neck vertebra out of alignment), tired and stressed out. For introverted me, it had been pretty wearing existing in such close quarters with Dad for all these long months. But I still managed to enjoy Paris, and here's how:

  • Dad's funny pronunciations of French places/names, i.e. "Mooli", "Chomps Eleese"
  • A quote from Dad that is now famous in my family:
    • "... two guys came up to [Dad] and asked, 'vous parlez anglaise?' and he said, 'sorry, I only speak English', and they said, 'we were asking you if you spoke English'."
  • Drinking wine in the car outside the Ritz where Princess Diana had been staying that fateful night - to Dad's fascination and my horror, a busload of tourists rocked up and created a veritable discotheque of flash photography
  • I checked out CD prices and thought they were very decent - 4 Francs 30 each (yep, it was Francs back then: "liberté, égalité, fraternité"!)
  • I had a crepe (chocolate and hazelnut sauce) served by a lovely French waitress who gave me a free postcard and told me my French was "très bien"
  • I finally visited the Louvre, though the first day I tried it was closed (about a week earlier there had been a theft of a work by Corot)
  • And yes, I saw the Eiffel Tower (see above).
I remember this better from last year's (2012) visit.
Outside the Louvre.
I have no recollection of these dudes.
Grumpy on the day the Louvre was closed.
And I finally got inside.

We stayed in Paris longer than in many other places we visited, solely because of the Louvre being closed that first time I tried to get in. Having studied art history in school, Paris was one of the places I had been most excited about. But I now realise this wasn't actually the end of my 1998 trip (shows how foggy one's memory can get). From France we travelled on through Luxembourg into Germany, where we stayed with some family. So next time, I'll talk about all that. For today, I'll leave you with a link to a page I've created that has links to all my Globetrotter posts to date. Click HERE.


  1. Yum, yum, yum!!! Lovely trip up memory lane. I usually go to the Louvre on Sunday when it's free, lol! So much to see. I get very tired after about 4 hours. Can't imagine travelling with dear ole Dad!

    I'll be very interested in your Luxembourg post. Don't meet many people who've been there. I think it's absolutely amazing. We trained it from Brussels through a blizzard so will never forget it.

    I have a bit of a travel post up today too.


    1. Ironically, Denise, we only stayed in Luxbembourg for 10 minutes. But I'll get to that next time. ;)

  2. Travel is wasted on the young I think. I went to Europe when I was in college and I enjoyed it... I did! But I didn't enjoy it the way I should have! I think you're too young to realize how rare it is to take off and go like that. I can't do that now- couldn't do that 10 year or 15 years ago. You were lucky you're dad was able to go with you even if he was a pain in the arse ;).

    1. Yes, I definitely wish I had paid better attention back in 1998 - and written a better, more in chronological order, travel journal. I have a habit of filling my travel journals with bitching about how tired/sore/broke I am. LOL.

  3. I LOVED being in Paris. LOVED. I live in Alaska where most of our history starts in like 1940, lol. Just being in buildings that were a couple hundred years old was a rush ;-)

  4. I lived outside of Paris for a year in 1992 - as an Opening Crew Member for the theme park we dubbed EuroDismal (and EuroMisery:) so this post was a right blast from the past.

    I would love to go back to Paris... I was far too (mentally) young to enjoy the history - but I *could* name *all* the bars in walking distance of our Metro station :)

  5. I love your Globetrotter posts. I have a dear friend in France and I would love to visit there someday, I hope I make it. Also my mouth watered just reading about the crepe. I love those and I know it's pathetic but that's what jumped out at me the most while reading this post LOL.

  6. Paris was always my dream place when I was young...now I want to go everywhere!!

    I want to be a globe trotter!!

  7. Your globetrotting post was a fun read today. The English quote with your dad was hilarious and I love the pictures. That waitress was also super nice.

  8. I'm glad I'm not the only one who was miserable in Europe, even though it was cool to be there. That postcard cracked me up, too!

    And I love that you are also a Built to Spill fan! They are sooo great live. I'm listening to them on vinyl as I type this. <3

  9. The closest I've been to the Eiffel is watching Superman II when the bad guys try to blow it up with a hydrogen bomb. (Supes stopped them. Natch.) So, naturally, I'm dying of envy. :P

  10. It's fun revisiting these travels with you! I should dig up some of my own photos - I was in France with my family a month after you and travelling south where you were travelling north!

  11. Wanderlust...

    I've never been to France, but one day, yes, one day I will. I hear Paris is rather dirty though. I'm imagining its quite similar to parts of NYC, except with a different landscape and a bit more French rather than other languages.

  12. Wow, sounds like a great experience. Even if you were tired and sore and fed up with your dad, you still had that time you'll never forget. Loved the note on the postcard ;) Thanks for sharing.

  13. Makes me dream of going to these places. Never been to Europe.

  14. I only recently went to France and loved it. Paris is a beautiful city. :-)


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