vendredi 30 novembre 2012

Returning to France and La Défense in Winter

I have been fortunate in being able to return to France for a further two months, having already spent three months here this year. This is my first trip to France in winter.

Travelling in business class in the Singapore Airlines A380 from Singapore to Paris was a special treat. The seat was a massive 86cm wide and was folded down to turn into a bed. No wonder I arrived in Paris refreshed and ready to explore.

La Défense is about a 20 minute walk from our accommodation chez Valérie. It is possible to take the bus or the train but I really needed some exercise and fresh air after the 22 hour flight from Adelaide. I hadn't though counted on it raining during the last 10 minutes across the open plaza.

La Défense is a business area north-west of Paris made up of many high rise buildings and of course the Grande Arche and the Quatre Temps and CNIT commercial centres. The shops are generally chain stores of reasonable standard. The Christmas decorations were particularly pretty within the CNIT atrium area.

As excited as I was about the commercial shopping centres my attention was quickly drawn to the Christmas market on the plaza in front of the gi-normous Grand Arche. In spite of starting out refreshed, I quickly wilted and could not be tempted by the vin chaud, tartiflette, fois gras, champagne, saucisson etc. Perhaps next time I should not have second helpings of Valérie's tomato tarte with gruyère, parmesan and comté cheese. 

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