Thursday, March 25, 2010

33 HOURS - Door to Door

Yep, that's right 33 hours from our door in Mentone, Melbourne to our overnight stay at Montparnasse in Paris.
So this post is a short one before we catch up on some sleep.
We flew Singapore Airlines and while waiting at Melbourne Airport, I said to Sue, "Look there's some cyclists travelling with us." "How can you tell?" she said. "Look at those legs, hairless and well formed. Now don't get me wrong but fellow cyclists notice these things."

The view from our hotel window in Montparnasse while lying flat on one's back from jet-lag.

After boarding the plane I noticed that they were a little further back in the plane and so I introduced myself.
To my surprise, one of them was Patrick Lane from our own Club. He was on the way to Italy to race with the Jayco team. I met him, his sister and father some 10 years ago when he was maybe 10 or 12 years old.

Finally off the plane and outside to be surprised with a cool morning but clear blue skies and later in the day it was almost T-shirt weather. We are staying in Montparnasse, the commercial district of Paris and not a lot of Tourist interest, but just near the TGV station for our next stop in the Loire at Tours.

Our first restaurant meal in Paris at Montparnasse 1900

No disappointments here - the ambiance, food, wine and the service so good after 33 hours since leaving home.

I decided to leave the bike with friends Leigh and Sophie and grabbed a taxi. Little did I realise that the fare was going to be quite expensive. Paris had a demonstration against Sarkozy with thousands of people creating a traffic fiasco here. I decided that after assembling the bike with Leigh's assistance, I would take the Metro back to our hotel.
Success, I mastered the system which was relatively simple but feeling like a sardine in a tin that had not yet been opened, I popped out of the carriage to be greeted with congratulations from Sue. She had reservations that I would get lost, be mugged or wander the Metro system for the rest of our time here.

After airline food for the many hours spent on the plane, we were looking forward to a traditional French meal and bottle of the red stuff again.
We chose a restaurant within a short walking distance, called Montparnasse 1900. It had a beautifully decorated interior and offered perfect service from its staff.

For me Bretagne Oysters, for Sue, Onion soup gratine for an entree. We seem to agree on the main course though. Back in 2006 we had our first Confit de Canard (duck preserved in its own fat), and this time was no exception. We ordered the same again.
The wine was a red from the Lot district of France, very much like an Australian wine, a full bodied red labelled Buzit.

The Next Morning:

And for breakfast, a traditional petit de jeuner.

Up early after a deep sleep and over to the TGV station to collect our tickets. Paris workers walking, riding, driving everywhere. No smiles, no expressions intent on getting to their daily workplace.
Something that I don't need to concern myself with for 3 weeks.

Knowing that the Paris Roubaix or "Hell of the North" was on the day we leave Paris, I spied one of the riders training on the cobbles of Montparnesse. Obviously being one of the favorites, he was training incognito.

As I write this, we have just come back from a day of walking around Tours, great city, great day but more about that tomorrow.
In the morning we pick up a hire car and take off to meet friends in the Loire.


  1. You deserved that great meal.
    Airports and airplanes are not some of my favorite places;
    33 hours is very impressive. I saw an advertising for Qantas, Los-Angeles/Sydney or Melbourn for US$675. Have fun in the Loire Valley.

  2. How brave you are. I don't think I would have the stamina to travel for 33 hours without a stop-over and a good night's sleep in a comfortable bed. Have a lovely time and let's hope the spring weather will hold!

  3. Great to hear that the bike made it to Paris; oh, and that you did too! Looking at that pic of your breakfast reminds me that whilst there are many things I love about Paris, the coffee wasn't one of them. Had a lovely coffee at Velocino this morning. 23C at 5.30 am riding with Jet and Grant. Keep on blogging.


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