Around the World a Bit at a Time

Travels: Past, Present and Future

Archive for the ‘France’ Category


Posted by Leanne on October 4, 2004

We found the bus from the nearest village, St Jean de Vedas which got us, easily enough back to Montpellier. For once we were in a place which wasn’t easy to get lost in and spent the morning planning for the next few days where we would head into Spain.

Back in Amsterdam, my head was still very much at home in York, but after such a grand old time in Paris, everything now felt a million miles away. Perhaps I had finally got the hang of this travelling lark.

There wasn’t much to write home about in Montpellier, it was really just the half way point between Paris and Barcelona. Here’s a picture instead:

James in Montpellier

James in Montpellier


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Paris to Montpellier

Posted by Leanne on October 3, 2004

It was sad to leave the Woodstock this morning. In the 4 days that we spent there it had really begun to feel like home. Most of the people we had met there were also leaving that day, so we exchanged hugs, handshakes and email addresses over breakfast.

It was late in the afternoon when we stepped off the train in Montpellier and we could feel the clustering heat of the south envelope us as we walked out of the station into the picturesque town. The hotel turned out to be miles away from the centre, near the village of St Jean de Védas, so after a taxi ride, we spent the evening at the hotel playing cards and enjoying a much-needed early night.

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Ooh La La

Posted by Leanne on October 2, 2004

After reserving seats on the train to Montpellier, we went for a cuppa in the café Moulin which as a location for Amélie. I don’t think James appreciated the significance of the setting but it is a film I love so I felt that it was pretty cool to be there.

James and I in the Amélie Cafe

James and I in the Amélie Cafe

We proceeded to take a short walk to the Sacre Coeur which James had yet to visit and it was there that we ran into Hugh and Mark again (these guys were everywhere!) and spent the rest of the day with them.

As we stood back to admire the view from the stop of the steps, a small French child ran to the top, ahead of his parents and looked back over the city before exclaiming with childlike wonder “Ooh la la!”. I love a good stereotype.

James and Mark at the Sacre Coeur

James and Mark at the Sacre Coeur

The evening culminated in more wine with the hostel crowd and a trip into the centre of Paris where we intended to go to the ‘Nuit Blanche’ party (according to my not-so-meticulous records) but for some reason never ended up there.

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A Random Day Out

Posted by Leanne on October 1, 2004

Today James and I deliberately went our separate ways for the day (think he was scared about having to do any more walking!) and as I set off for the day with no specific purpose in mind, I bumped into Mark and Huw (I’m spelling his name different every time… I know it definitely wasn’t ‘Hugh’, but I’m not sure about ‘Huw’…) from the previous night and together, we walked for miles and got lost (but in a good way).

There was a stop at a café, people watching on the Champs Elysee, traffic watching at the Arc de Triumph and we revisited most of the sites I’d been to the day before, but this time I didn’t go in.

Huw and Mark, Paris

Huw and Mark, Paris

The evening turned into a huge party, with the majority of the people in the hostel bar joining our group. Even James graced us with his presence and revealed himself to be non-imaginary after all…

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Walking, Walking Walking the Streets of Paris

Posted by Leanne on September 30, 2004

James didn’t emerge for breakfast, but, as a result of a false start where I went for a walk, but took a wrong turning and accidentally ended up back at the hostel, he poked his head out the window at me and joined me for the day.

Then we walked. And walked and walked and walked and walked and walked.

We walked from the hostel, near the sacre coeur to the Louvre, we walked from the Louvre to the Centre Pompidou, where we stopped for lunch and James got accused of being Australian. We walked from the Centre Pompidou to the Notre Dame, from the Notre Dame to the Eiffel tower, we went up the Eiffel Tower in a lift and walked down it. We walked from the Eiffel tower to Place de la Concorde, and finally to the Arc de Triumphe. Then we got the metro back to the hostel.

As soon as we walked through the door, James disappeared again making my new courtyard friends convinced that he was actually my imaginary friend who never really existed.

That night I met Martin and Diego from Argentina and introduced them to each other and the fact that they had their nationality in common. I met Hugh, who made us drink wine, and Ethan and Megan who were my new (jetlagged) room mates from Houston, Texas. There were others whose names I never found out and together, we all went for a walk along the Moulin Rouge strip.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

According to my diary from that day, this was ‘fun’

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Brussels to Paris

Posted by Leanne on September 29, 2004

The train to Paris didn’t depart until the afternoon, so we spent the morning back on the tour bus where we could appreciate the beauty and Grandeur of Brussels without the worry of homelessness getting in the way.

A much less stressful journey to Paris ensued and we found the Woodstock, where we would be staying for the next three nights with ease.

The Woodstock was how I had expected hostels to be. Whilst the place in Amsterdam was a hotel with bunkbeds, the Woodstock was less polished, but full of character. It was smaller and had a friendlier backpacker feel to it.

We were placed in separate rooms, so while James disappeared to his, I dumped my bag in mine and sat outside in the courtyard where I met Nao, from Japan and Mark, from Australia amongst others.

Three hours later, James still hadn’t emerged and I had no idea which room he was in. I was in a new city and the urge to explore was starting to take over so I bid farewell to my temporary courtyard friends and ventured out onto the streets of Paris. A few minutes later I found myself at the top of the steps to the Sacre Coeur. As I looked down over nighttime Paris from one of its highest points, the sprawling city was breathtaking. Through a gap in the trees, I could see the top of the illuminated Eiffel Tower.

I felt a little sad that noone was there to appreciate it with me, but ultimately lucky to be there at all. A few minutes later, I was back in the hostel courtyard hostel where I rejoined the courtyard travellers.

I liked it there.

Paris from Above (Eiffel Tower)

Paris from Above (Eiffel Tower)

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