…is that the wine is hideously expensive!
So Friday found GT and I in a cab heading to St. Pancras and the Eurostar to Paris. Arriving early Friday afternoon at the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Hotel, Paris Eiffel thanks to our pre-booked taxi, we dumped our bags in our large room and headed off on the Metro from Trocadero to the Expo where GT was picking up her race number and pack as yes, she was due to run the Paris Marathon on the Sunday. Oh and we picked up a new running outfit at the same time…
Back to the hotel where we got some advice about one of best Italian restaurants in Paris, so off we went. Luckily, despite not having a reservation – the hotel had warned us we’d probably need one – we managed to charm our way to getting a table and enjoyed a lovely meal with one of those horrendously expensive bottles of wine … good, though!
It was important that the Friday night would bring lots of sleep with the Saturday night’s sleep likely to be fitful so we headed back to the hotel at just after 10pm … to find the door to our room and its main window open! While I poked my head inside to see if there was still an unexpected visitor in there, GT hightailed it down to reception to report it and get the police. By the time I got downstairs, the police had been called and I’d summoned the Hotel Manager back from his evening out (at the Cirque du Soleil, as it transpired). I went back up to the room to do a thorough sweep to see what had been taken and was relieved to find that my iPad and iPhones, UK wallet and passport were all still safe and sound, as was GT’s running gadgets – phew!
It was very late by the time the Manager had got back and checked what was what, so they moved us to a suite as there was no way I’d stay in the same room with someone possibly knowing what they could go back there to collect. The designer bath had a broken plug that I’d be trying to get fixed the next morning as a bath is high on the priorities list after a marathon…
Saturday morning and off we went to do mainly death-related touristy things: Jim Morrison’s and Oscar Wilde’s graves up at Père-Lachaise Cemetery in the morning followed by the incredible Catacombs in the afternoon. The latter holds the remains of roughly six million people. Yes. 6,000,000. Neatly stacked and arranged. It’s a bizarre thing to visit, running for 2km under Paris. We ate on our way back before celebrating my 51st birthday at the hotel.
Sunday saw us up bright and early to head to the start of the marathon up at the Champs-Elysèes. I’d chosen the hotel to be close to both the start and finish lines with the view of the Eiffel Tower an added bonus. It was cold, so GT was pleased to be able to wear much of her new, warmer, kit. The start corrals were sheer chaos as there was no apparent way to get in: many runners were climbing over the security fencing to get in and there were 50,000 running. So different to the efficiency of the London Marathon. After seeing GT off, I walked back to the hotel, stopping at what had become our favourite café at the Trocadero, overlooking the Eiffel Tower for coffee and croissants and juice. Lovely!
I downloaded the official app and headed back to the hotel to track GT on her run. No sign of any plug for the bath: the one they brought didn’t fit so it was back to the drawing board, sadly.
Then off to meet GT at Exit A in the finish area. Or Exit B as they’d managed to cock that up too and had swapped the exit signs and flags over so they were wrong. The pandemonium that ensued with tired and confused runners all trying to get out of the wrong exits was something to see. I stayed looking for GT until she texted me from the hotel: she’d left from the incorrectly-signed exit and found her way back. I stuffed the plughole with a flannel and ran the bath. After she’d recovered sufficiently, we walked down to the Trocadero for Kir Royales, beer and food! Then back to the hotel to celebrate her time – a few seconds over that milestone 4:00:00 she wants to beat – meeting her friend who’d managed a 3:58:10. She was off for a massage; we settled on another lovely meal over the Place at another great Italian restaurant followed by more birthday celebrations for me…
Monday and we checked out: the first night’s (upgraded) accommodation was given free by the hotel, but another guest had signed for a 52€ breakfast and a 389€ dinner on our room! That was quickly resolved, so we left our bags and headed up to Montmartre for more touristy stuff including a little roadtrain ride down to Pigalle and back up to Montmartre.
Then off to the Eurostar Business Lounge for complimentary wines and our train back to London.
The hotel’s Manager rang me today: they’ve checked the door key logs and it appears on first checking that it was one of the maids who’d left the door and window open for some reason. They’re interviewing her and getting the hallway CCTV footage to check.
So then: Berlin Marathon … and I’m running that one!
Me at Jim Morrison’s Grave, Père Lachaise Cemetery
Wilde? I was livid!
Marathon Day Dawns
One last comfort break
“How do we get in?”
Ready for the off
Eiffel Tower in the morning mist
Paris Marathon 2013 Medal
Preserved despite the water dripping through
Yes, they’re real
Not the usual backdrop