Normally for my birthday we head up North of the border for a little treat and a shandy or two , This year seeing i now have a passport we decided to take the short hop across the channel and spend a weekend in Paris , taking in the Whisky Live on the Saturday .
We departed Newcastle on the Friday Teatime , this was my first actual time flying out of my local Airport (i’ve lived most of my life at the east end of the runway and seen many comings and goings) , it was a pleasant enough experience even though we actually flew out westward ! Hmmmm…….
What was surprising was the aircraft , we’d booked Air France and this service is operated by Cityjet , now going off the amount of people sitting in the departure lounge i was very surprised by the size of the jet (for those who are interested it was a BAE Avro RJ85 ) now looking at it sitting outside and looking at the people inside i remarked to Melanie “I hope it’s a Tardis……”
It was quite spacious inside (the RJ85 not the Tardis….) and we were soon winging our way to Paris , by the time we’d flown over , gone through customs , caught the train to the next terminal , collected our belongings and took the bus from the airport , it was 10pm by the time we got to our hotel.
(Click on Photos to see Full Size)
The Hotel was just up from the Gare de Lyon and had a beautiful fascia , the room was quite compact but had a huge King size bed and was clean and well decorated . We headed out for a bite too eat and ended up in an Asian restaurant on the next block , well recommended the food was superb and we even managed to pick a good bottle of wine from Serge country !
We ended up back at the Hotel for a drink or two before hitting the sack…..
So onto Saturday , after having breakfast at the hotel we decide to walk over to the Whisky Live venue taking in some of the sights on the way…….
We had a fantastic walk through the Jardin Des Plantes…..
I would recommend any one going to Paris to go here , the gardens are absolutely beautiful !
We made our way though the streets to our eventual destination , Maison de la Mutualité…..
We arrived a little bit so hit the Cafe opposite for a bit refreshment and got our first shock , we’d been warned Paris was expensive but 9 Euros for 2 cokes ! At least we got the Stereotypical French Barman included……
Onto the show , this place was huge , spread over 3 floors (or was it 4 ?) and split in to several rooms it was easy to get confused where you were , we started in the VIP rooms on the 5th floor first seeing we’d paid for them , The Nikka Museum was very good , had a superb Taketsuru 25yo amongst others , the main ‘Bar’ was a bit chocker and we had a few of the indys on offer . Then it was off to the 3rd floor , where they’d split the exhibitors into 3 rooms , Micro-distilleries , World Whiskies and (i think they called it ) Old World (included Scotland , Ireland , USA and Japan ) . In the Old World we bumped into The Glenlivet Guardian himself , Ian Logan , After sampling the 25yo He gave us a wee sample of the new 50yo , absolutely stunning ! Was my ‘Dram of the day’ , cheers Ian ! After having a natter with Ian we headed into the ‘World Whisky’ room where we bumped into a few familiar faces ,Amanda and Joe from The Whisky Lounge on the Paul John Stand and Erik and his wife Laura on the New Zealand Whisky Stand . Erik gave us a try of a few of the NZ ones as i’d never had them before , the 23 and 25yo were very good , i was impressed with all the range we tried . After a visit to the Paul John and Kavalan stand , we went to say hello to the Boys from Amrut and see the Presentation for the New 10yo ‘Greedy Angels’ , it wasn’t for tasting unfortunately but i’ve had a taste of it since and Amrut fans are in for a treat .
It was great to finally meet Rick Jagdale (we did get to have a proper talk in Newcastle the following Tueday when Ashok and himself visited) . We left before the end as i’d tried everything i wanted to and we were getting a bit hot and bothered in the venue and we were getting hungry as well . My opinion of my first Whisky Live ? I’m glad i’ve done one , would i do it again ? No ! It was too big for my liking , it was like a rugby scrum in places , some portable air con units wouldn’t have gone amiss and i thought the Security was a bit over the top . So we headed off back to our hotel to freshen up , once again taking in the sites and sounds of the Paris streets .
After freshing up we had a bit wander around the area…….
We eventually settled for a Cafe down a side street to have our meal in , then it was back to the Hotel and a nightcap…….
So after a bit of a lie in we set off for a Sunday sightseeing walk through Paris , Starting off at our Hotel heading up the Rue de Lyon to Bastille……
It seems to be a very popular walk along the river , not just with the tourists but locals as well , it is a beautiful area .
We walked up past the Île Saint-Louis and the Île de la Cité
By the time we reached The City Hall we were looking for somewhere to eat and we found a great little place with a fantastic view !
The food was absolutely superb , Melanie enjoyed the Taittinger and i had a rather delicious Cappuccino…….
We continued along our way to The Louvre……
Then it was a short walk through the Jardin des Tuileries…..
Onto the Place de la Concorde and the Luxor Obelisk……
Before hitting the Avenue des Champs-Élysées , passing the Grand Palais……
And arriving at our final destination , L’Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile !
It had been a glorious day and by the time we caught the Metro back to Gare de Lyon we were exhausted and very hot ! After collecting our cases we caught the Le Cars Air France back to Charles de Gaulle . At first we thought It was a good job we got back to the Airport early as the place seemed in chaos with the Pilots strike , it took us ages to get through the check in but then later on our flight was delayed for nearly two hours so we spent longer than thought in the place ! The only thing was they didn’t announce our delay , i found out via a travel app , we did however get some snack vouchers , eventually we got back home at midnight .
Our conclusions on this trip ? Paris is a beautiful City but it’s very expensive , for us it was worth experiencing once…..