In defence of Communism

The Polidor would have to be one of our favourite restaurants in Paris. This visit, because we had Bob with us, we wanted him to experience it with us. Having checked into our hotel we went for a long, long walk. And, while the food and the bench tables and the lack of booking are all still there, they now accept plastic. The sign which proudly proclaimed that they hadn’t accepted a credit card since 1845 has gone. I saw someone pay with a card.

Needless to say that was a bit disappointing. Though the food and wine were both excellent and the atmosphere was exactly how we remembered. My steak tartare was amazing.

I was sort of amazed that we actually made it. Emile had picked us up in a taxi at 9am, assuring us we’d be there in heaps of time. And, to be fair to Emile, he was right. What Emile didn’t know was that I’d built in a Mirinda Buffer on top of the time he allowed. This meant we managed to arrive with an hour to spare.

Needless to say, the traffic was horrendous. I don’t know if it was because of the train strike or simply because people didn’t want us to go to Paris, but it was chockas. Mirinda was getting a bit toey in the front seat but I was watching the satnav and I knew I had some secret time up my sleeve. I knew it was going to be fine.

And Emile is a very calm driver. He managed to talk to Mirinda for most of the journey filling her head with all manner of things. Like, for instance, how the Communists weren’t that bad in Bulgaria. For one thing they ensured that the rivers were very straight. I guess it’s always going to be much easier when you only have one opinion and everyone shares it.

So, we pulled up outside St Pancras and headed for the gates, tickets clutched, passports brandished. It was smooth as silk, mainly because there wasn’t many people on the train. This might be normal for the 12:24 of a Wednesday Eurostar but we’ve never caught it so…

Everything was simply lush as we headed out of London. There was a moment of confusion when Bob asked for red, white and rose when out meal was served but it was quickly explained away and things just chugged along perfectly.

Happy travellers

At one point I went to the loo and found myself selfconsciously walking through a carriage full of National Police who looked at me with a strange suspicion which I can only imagine came with the basic training.

First thing this morning I dropped the girls around to Sue and she told me not to post photos of my food because it made her salivate uncontrollably. I tried to promise her to comply. In the interests of her sensitivity, I include this photo of my Eurostar lunch.

Finis

Arriving at Gard de Nord, we were whisked through everyone else and given priority status for a taxi. I had no idea why until Mirinda assured me it was because I had a walking stick. I really am quite thick sometimes. Anyone who has joined the long snaking queue outside Gard de Nord taxi rank will tell you, getting priority is not to be sneezed at.

We were very quickly heading down to the river and the pretty little boutique Hotel JoBo, our rooms for the next few nights. JoBo stands for Josephine Bonaparte (whose name wasn’t Josephine). The taxi driver was happily practising his fractured English, telling us about the big strike. I was quite pleased that I could not just follow his words but also joined in a bit as well.

After the mandatory Mirinda inspection of every room in the building, we settled on the one the receptionist had decided she’d like in the first place. Rather than unpack we decided to take advantage of the free welcome drinks in the bar. Well, Mirinda and Bob did, I had a beer, not being a big fan of voluntary champagne.

The JoBo Bar

It was soon time to work up a full sized appetite with a 15 mile walk to the Polidor which we managed in about an hour. It was totally worth it. On the way we passed the sadness that is Notre Dame and lots of lovely little shops that Mirinda is determined to revisit in the daytime.

Having eaten our fills we then walked all the way back to the hotel where we, eventually, went to bed.

An excellent and easy start to Paris 2019.

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