One of the best things about living in London (and there are many!) is that it is so easy to leave it. Not permanently, you understand, for that would be very hard, but for a little while. For a weekend.
So, bright (not really) and early (too early) the man and I left home in the chilly dark of a winter's morning and arrived in Paris in time for lunch.
If you know Paris, you'll know that you need comfy shoes, a camera, a passion for exploring and sharp eyes in order to avoid the piles of dogpoo on the pavement. Merde indeed.
We stayed in a hotel across the road from the Palais du Luxembourg. There were more police around than usual and a quite noisy, but still well behaved little demonstration, as President Sarkozy was addressing Le Senat.
Close to our hotel was the church dedicated to St Sulpice. Only slightly smaller than Notre Dame, it is the second largest church in Paris. Famous for its '100 stop' organ and for featuring in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, the exterior is massive and imposing. The inside is gloomy and dirty, the poor lighting making it hard to see the murals by Delacroix.
We did, however see this:
Part of what seemed to be a small town in miniature, the little nativity scene featured a rocking crib, which squeaked softly as it rolled from side to side. The infant Jesus, who was probably feeling pretty seasick with the constant swaying, gazed with startled eyes at the roof of the cave. A small group of tourists gazed with equally startled eyes at various little scenes within this tableau: woodcutter, butcher, baker ....
Outside in daylight once more, we stood and watched the fountains. Shimmering curtains of water fell in graceful waves into the marble basins.
It felt like time for tea.