I write this sitting in a food-and-wine induced fog, having just returned from the Latin Quarter with Sean after the most beautiful dinner I have had in a long time. A bottle of red, a starter of vol-au-vent with escargot in a creamy sauce, duck breast and the most tender vegetables for a main, and a chocolate 'Napoleon' dish. Sean had the most divine chestnut soup for his starter, and a creme-brulee-type dish that was served on fire to finish. Bliss.
We have spent the last couple of days walking up and down and all around this amazing city. We started at the Grande Galerie de L'evolution in the Jardin des Plantes yesterday. Even in winter, the wide open spaces are beautiful with splashes of colour made all the more precious by their rarity. The Galerie is enormous, like no natural history museum I have seen before, and the temporary exhibit on big apes was particularly interesting.
Then we embarked on a walking tour of the Latin Quarter - I have found my new favourite place in Paris. I can't believe it is my fourth time in the city and I haven't explored this until now! Thankfully, the walking tour takes you through the Roman ruins, the history of the Sorbonne, the haunts and abodes of great writers and thinkers, and the majesty of it's architecture. Sean and I were the only two people on the tour which made for a very informative and custom-made experience!
Today we visited the Musee d'Orsay, a completely new experience for me, and concentrated mainly on the Impressionists, the sculptures, and the works of Toulouse-Lautrec, though the collection is far, far larger (and still only a fraction of the size of the Louvre). We filled up on mulled wine and crepes for lunch, and then joined Claire and Steve for the catacombs. I've been through the catacombs before, but was glad to go again. There is nothing quite like it in this world - walking through the remains of six million Parisians, miles underground, and reflecting on how many people have come before you and shared the same experience - it is sobering to say the least.
We have two more days in Paris after this. Then we start our adventure in the UK. Our job-hunting, house-finding adventure. Time will tell how we handle this, but I am excited and optimistic. We are incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and I don't intend to waste it.