Our flight wasn’t till 9pm so we still effectively had a full day left in Paris. We packed our bags and left the at Hotel Esmeralda as we checked out and headed out.
First stop was Atelier des Lumières – an art light display show in a large warehouse-type building. Most of the show is dedicated to Van Gogh, but there’s a really good Japanese part at the end.
We then walked a little way down the road to Père Lachaise Cemetery. This is quite a cool cemetery with various tombs and monuments to the dead. We visited Jim Morrison’s grave and Oscar Wilde’s. In between we found an interesting grave with a fully dressed figure in bronze lying on top, with one particular area polished with frequent rubbing. I realised I didn’t have a photo so went back, only to catch a lady giving it a good rub.
We then took the Metro to Sacré-Cœur. The area is overrun with scammers, and the church itself left a bad taste in my mouth with its blatant demands for money every couple of metres. The gift shop inside was extortionate as well. A great view, but you can’t see the Eiffel Tower from its steps.
We walked the couple of kilometres down to Galeries Lafayette to admire the ridiculous prices you can pay for a handbag or watch. The best we found was a watch for 270,000 euros. We had an expensive but tasty lunch, bought a few of the cheaper items, then caught the metro back to Hotel Esmeralda. Mina went off to buy a few more trinkets while Jess and I perused the Shakespeare Bookshop where Jess bought a few books.
It was by now nearly 6pm so we collected our bags and caught a taxi to the airport. It was a slow ride due to rush -hour and accidents, and our driver was reminiscent of our drivers in Florence. By the time we arrived and made our way through all the security theatre we only had a few minutes before boarding.
Our flight to Hong Kong was reasonably comfortable and we all got a few hours sleep. The second flight from Hong Kong to Auckland was a code-shared flight on Air New Zealand. I have to say I much prefer Cathay Pacific. Air New Zealand seems to employ mostly retired strict school-ma’am types who demanded everyone push up the overhead lockers when they had been filled. Of course what was “full” was solely down to their interpretation, so people were told off when lockers were full enough, or still had space. I’ve never seen this scolding behaviour on any other airline. On the previous flight I saw one tiny stewardess climb on the seat arm rests in order to close the lockers, but that was too much for these beefy Air New Zealand hosts. There was free wifi which sounded great, except it stopped working halfway through the flight. No live TV either like on Cathay.
We arrived home Wednesday morning to a cold and bleak winter’s day. I managed to stay up most of the day to try to mitigate the jetlag, finally succumbing around 6pm, which I didn’t think was too bad, having started the day at 8m on Monday morning in Paris, finishing at 6pm on Wednesday evening in New Zealand.