I’m struggling to get over how appropriate this title is. I know it’s in the wrong order.
After a panicked sweep of my apartment and throwing new sheets on my bed, I rushed to Gare du Nord to pick up Liberty, my sister, who was taking advantage of her free school half-term to come and visit me in Paris.
I took her straight to a favourite of mine, Faubourg 52, for dinner. Admittedly, taking her to a restaurant in the heart of ‘Peckham-on-Seine’ probably wasn’t the most sympathetic way to introduce her to my very cosmopolitan city. Nevertheless, I think she was probably convinced by the time our starters came. We were too busy chatting to take photos, but rest assured, the food is beautifully plated and well worth sampling.
We took Sunday as a sister-sister bonding day, as I showed Liberty – who had never been to Paris before – the sights. We walked up to the Passy covered market, where we found our favourite treats from Portugal, pastéis de nata. After I dropped them right onto the pavement (no surprises there, I am as uncoordinated as ever), we had to tuck into them a little earlier than expected, and Liberty snapped a winning shot as I enthusiastically took advantage of the five-second rule. I could hardly resist the gorgeous peonies at the flower stalls though, ever-practical, Liberty reminded me I would have to walk around with them all day. Nevertheless, couldn’t bear to leave without some photos. I took Liberty across the Pont de Bir-Hakeim – famously known for its cameo role alongside Leo DiCaprio and Ellen Page in Inception – from where she was able to get her first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. Even though the tower is on my regular running route, I still get a kick from seeing it, and proceeded to take the mickey out of the tourists swarming the bridge. We strolled along the banks of the Seine, goofing around and singing “Simpatico” after spotting a houseboat of the same name. Reaching the Champ de Mars, our enthusiasm for the Eiffel Tower quickly waned as we fought through the crowds, but we stayed for a while to watch a French Open exhibition match and soak up the sun. I was keen to drag Liberty through the Tuileries and show her the ducklings and I.M. Pei’s recognisable pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre (“It’s just like in The Da Vinci Code!”) before hunger struck again. I didn’t need to be asked twice: we made our way straight to Claus. I’m starting to get a bit predictable, really. Once Liberty had understood my love for the place, we continued our walk in the bright sunshine to Notre Dame, where Liberty gave her best Quasimodo impression. Wandering into Le Marais by way of the Hôtel de Ville, I think she was finally starting to forgive me for taking her to Château d’Eau the previous night. We nipped in and out of the boutiques, before settling next to a fountain in the Place des Vosges to make a bid for French Open tickets.
Buoyant from our success but exhausted from hours of walking, coupled with the stress of applying for tickets, our route home took us via the Marché des Enfants rouges, the last stop on Siena’s Official Tour(TM) where we picked up some fresh cherries for the long metro journey back to the 16ème.
We spent most of Monday morning in M&S, unable to resist our intrinsic, Wimbledon-refined habits that dictate a sandwich and some shortbread cookies necessary sustenance for the long afternoon spent queuing. Fortunately, we got to Roland Garros in excellent time, and weren’t far from the front of the queue to upgrade our tickets from ground passes to Court Philippe Chatrier, the principal show court.
The queue passed remarkably quickly, though, thanks to an American family a few people behind us, who – along with their boozy picnic – had brought Heads Up, mine and Liberty’s favourite long-journey game. A few competitive rounds later, and we were through the entrance, tickets to see Murray in hand. So, there we have the perfect post with the perfect title, summing up a perfect weekend. I even resisted French Revolutionary and tennis-related puns.
You could say I aced it…