On our way into Paris from the North we stopped in Auvers-sur-Oise and indulged in a little Impressionist tourism. Van Gogh's tiny room in the Auberge Ravoux is unchanged since the end of the 19th century, and we climbed the dark stairs he climbed each evening after a day's painting. Walking to the cemetery where he and his brother are buried I saw his paintings all around me; in the rhythm of the plough furrow I could feel the bold strokes of paint, crows fly above us over a wheat field and bring his last letters to life: "I'm fairly sure these canvases tell you what I cannot say in words." The power of art.
We arrived in Paris and took the van past the Eiffel Tower in a moment of caprice, then back to our temporary home in the Bois du Bologne. In the evenings the bus to Porte Maillot drove past the evening 'delights' of the park, but Paris was at our doorstep and it's always such a deep pleasure to share somewhere you love with someone you love so I took Carlos to wander through le Marais, shopping on St Honore, to the bars of St Germain, for dinner at the fabulous Beef Club. We hired Velibs and cycled along the Seine at night, met friends for dinner on the Canal St Martin and more friends for lunch at Mama Shelter near Pere Lachaise. We did the Louvre of course too, returning each night to our 'home' with sore feet and full bellies. It's impossible to be on any kind of diet in Paris we've decided.
Our top spots for shopping, dining and drinking:
Ferdi in the 1st for the best burgers
Avant le Comptoir near Odeon for wonderful Basque tapas
Candelaria for delicious tacos and margaritas in the hidden bar through the back
The Beef Club for indulgent steaks and the best bone marrow we've ever tasted
Colette for the high-tech toilets (we're camping so you begin to appreciate these things), awesome music and a miscellaneous stuff you didn't know you needed/wanted until you saw it
Astier de Villatte for beautiful ceramics, notebooks and candles
On our travels I discovered an amazing hair product brand from Denmark called Trines Wardrobe ( link below) - I bought the dry shampoo and salt water spray for perfect-while-living-in-a-van hair.