The UK government has outsourced all the leg work of visa processing and the application process is mostly online but the final step is front up for biometric details to be gathered. All in all, a huge palaver that I won't go into except to say that even after rebooking the appointment, changing my train reservation to be able to stay an extra day, redoing the application yet again and running around Paris getting printing done and photocopies made, I was finally told I can only apply from Australia. It was an expensive exercise but who can regret a trip to Paris? And what about when you have to take the Metro to Beaubourg to use an internet cafe - not too much to complain about actually.
This is the Metro station near the visa office.
This view across the rooftops from the apartment really fascinated me. I loved that there were 4 grocery stores in the local block and 3 of them were organic. I also loved that the patisserie near my metro station had won significant prizes for its croissants and made good coffee too.
In between getting to know the lovely people at the visa processing centre - they were really kind and helpful even though they eventually had to turn me away - I managed to visit the Orangerie to see Monet's huge water lilies installation. It took nearly 2 hours in the queue in a freezing wind to get tickets so the the next morning I was at the Musee D'Orsay early, as the queue was just starting to form. By the way, what is it about Americans and Paris?
And who can resist taking a photo of one of the best views of Paris from the cafe upstairs at the Musee d'Orsay?
I even managed to fit in a nostalgic visit to Le Printemps and Galleries Lafayette (the bottom two pics here). My excuse was I needed a sunhat after mine blew off up in the hills above Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert. The one I really loved was 160 Euros but in some cheap British chain store I found a squishy one that was a better match for my budget.