Paris
We visited Paris from the 20th-24th May and these are a few thumbnails of
the pictures we took in the city. We flew from Alicante to Beauvais with
Ryanair and stayed in the Port de Clichy part of the city.

Beauvais is about 40 miles out of the city and it is a long drive from the
airport to the city despite it being called a shuttle. It is, however, a nice drive
through rural France and an opportunity to see the countryside over which
you have just been flying.

The overall impression is that Paris is extremely pricey when compared with
the south of Spain although you can always find upmarket venues anywhere.
There were crowds everywhere and we are used to crowds in the busy
resort of Benidorm. The city of Paris is an enchanting place to visit in the
Spring and it must be said that tourists are everywhere. It tends to make a
nonsense of the English argument that people only visit London to see the
monarchy either that or an admission that the French have lovely buildings
people want to visit.

We have several spar resorts within a five minute drive of our house so it is
not too difficult to find high prices but my impression was that we get far
more value for our money in Spain. For one glaring example 3 cups of tea
cost us 11 euro. This would be around 6 euro here in Spain. However, it
might be dearer in Madrid or Barcelona.

Mannequins in the shop windows were dressed at ridiculous prices but we
have seen the same in Valencia so probably it is as much a town to city
comparison as an exercise in international comparison. There was no
evidence of tacky clothing in the part of the city we visited although it was
different where we stayed.

We stayed for three nights in an economy hotel in the Port de Clichy and it is
a very cosmopolitan area of the city. People from all nationalities seem to
live there and there is a very strong immigrant presence. The atmosphere
on the streets seemed very friendly and on the several occasions we were
lost there were always people wanting to help us.

The Paris Metro is absolutely huge and we seemed to spend hours down in
the system. However, the trains are extremely prompt and, although they can
be very crowded, we didn't find too many problems. Mind you, I wasn't
reading the map and I was glad our son, Richard, was with us.

A very economical way to see the major sights is to use the Bateaux
Mouches. These boats operate as hop on and hop off and are a better way
to see the sights especially Le Tour Eiffel, Le Louvre and Notre Dame. The
boats are very comfortable and the system works perfectly.

We didn't have enough time to see everything but I loved visiting the Tower
and Notre Dame in particular. You can only gaze and marvel at how they
managed to construct such marvellous buildings and monuments without the
advantages of modern technology.

I loved the Arc de Triomphe and strolling down the crowded Champs
d'Elysees on the Sunday afternoon and walking on the banks of the River
Seine.

Food venues tended to give a better insight as to the state of the economy.
We are extremely lucky with our menus del dia here in Spain. Franco wanted
everyone to have the chance of one good meal per day and we certainly
have many restaurants from which to choose a good meal at a fair price. For
me, the Parisienne  plat du jour doesn't give the same value for the euro
being paid. I would say we got better value for our money in America. It was  
time to count our blessings  and head off to our home in Spain.