Sunday, 20 June 2010

Birthday Weekend - Part 6 (Saturday Afternoon and Evening)

Sorry for the slight delay in updating but by the time I got in last night, coupled with the amount of alcohol I drank – sleep was all that I could manage.

Yesterday morning we headed off for Montparnasse cemetery. On the way there we came across a wonderful market that was selling all types of food imaginable. Everything looked so fresh and tempting. I bought a couple of strips of baby tomatoes on the vine which were the sweetest I have ever tasted. It seems that most people buy their food from these markets rather than going to the supermarket. It was possible to buy all the ingredients for a main meal there. I wish we did something similar in the UK. But for us, the market seems to be where you buy cheap clothes and three lighters for a pound.

Montparnasse cemetery is amazing, with large, above ground, vaults and monuments. I have always been interested with the human obsession with death and the marking of burial sites. The French cemeteries, like those in the UK, have borrowed heavily from the Victorian ideals and symbolism. There are broken columns (symbolising a life cut short), covered urns (symbolising life force smothered) and mourning statues.

One thing that stood out, however, were the number of ‘modern art’ memorials celebrating a particular trait of those buried beneath. Like its sister cemetery at Père- Lachaise there are a few famous people buried at Montparnasse including Jean-Paul Sartre, André Citroën and Camille Saint-Sains.

After spending a good hour and a half in the cemetery we headed back toward the hotel stopping off for lunch on the way. This was the first time I have had to sit and watch Hamish eat (he had the most amazing looking quiche). This was very hard to do but at least I had my delicious, nutritious cardboard bar to look forward to.

After an hours kip in the hotel we got changed and headed out to the restaurant for my Birthday meal. It was a 30 minute walk, made slightly longer by a freak rain shower. In fact we are actually 20 minutes late resulting in a phone call from the restaurant asking where we were!

The ‘Le Petit Prince de Paris’ is a gay friendly restaurant on a little, out of the way street near Boulevard Saint-Michel. We went there a couple of years ago with Roxana and Geoff and it was great to see that it hadn’t changed at all. It gets very busy in there – hence their call to us to see if we were still coming.

I had a wonderful meal (goats cheese terrine followed by suckling pig followed by little pots of chocolate mousse). We were getting ready to pay and leave when ‘Happy Birthday To You’ in French, of course, blasted over the speakers accompanied by a small coffee ice-cream with a sparkler in it!

We had a slow walk back to the hotel stopping off for a beer on the way. And, as I said at the start of this entry, by the time we got back to the hotel, all I wanted to do was sleep!

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