Tag Archives: place des Héros

Woohoo a haircut in France!!

21st July 2013

Well you learn something new every day, and today I learnt that getting foils in France is different to getting foils in Australia. For those of you not familiar with what some of us go through in the name of trying to look a little decent, “foils” is a term for having small pieces of hair coloured to add highlights/lowlights to your crowning glory. Mostly I have it done to blend/cover all my grey hair!! Anyhow, among other things today I had my hair cut and coloured at a very upmarket salon in Arras, it cost me a fortune but it’s been the only place since arriving in France that could fit me in on the same day; and my last hair cut was almost 5 months ago, shock horror!

Arras, France

Arras, France

So, with my improving French and some actions I was all caped up and off we went. Back to the difference in technique for foiling, in Australia the little sections of coloured hair are wrapped in alfoil but here they just lay big strips of cotton wool between the sections. Not terribly earth shattering news I know, but I was  sort of intrigued because cotton wool seems so old-school and France is always looked up to as very fashion forward. Granted this wasn’t Paris but it’s not the back blocks either. Anyhow, I had a lovely couple of hours feeling pampered and left there feeling more like my normal self that I had for quite a while. Sometimes I find it hard to believe I’ve been without a hairdryer or straightener for almost 4 months now, and other times when I look in a mirror I’m horrified that I’m doing it – but, sad to say, what the hair looks like can’t be high on the priority list for the duration of this trip.

Place des Heros, Arras, France

Place des Heros, Arras, France

One of the frustrations on international travel is still phone costs and internet access, most people I’ve spoken to while travelling say free wi-fi is very high on the wish list when booking accommodation and I’ve got to agree with them. I have a sim card for my phone that allows people at home to call me for the cost of a standard Australian call, it cost just $7 a month and I get reasonable call rates all over Europe. Data is not a real bargain but it’s not hugely expensive, however it seems to be pretty hit and miss for overage. I bought a Vodafone sim in England for my ipad but have been relying on wi-fi since coming across to France though I’m finding it more difficult since leaving Paris. Who’d have thought just buying a new sim card could be such fun! Took me 4 shops to find one that had the right size for my ipad mini but the young guy there was an absolute joy. Not sure if he’d have been so helpful to a French speaking person, I think he was extra helpful so he could practice his English. Mind you, I din’t mind in the slightest, it’s difficult to always be wracking my brain during even the simplest exchanges, let alone things out of the ordinary – still wouldn’t miss it for quids though!

I really loved exploring this little town, but my favourite spot had to be the cafes around the Place des Héros, I spent hours there sipping a coffee or wine watching the world go by or having a go at sketching the gorgeous facades. A lovely place to wind down after the hustle and bustle of Paris.

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Filed under France, Mid-life travel, Solo female travel, Travel

I’m baaaaack – AGAIN!

Isn’t it funny how you tell yourself you’re only doing something for your own benefit but then stress yourself silly trying to make sure it’s wonderful? Well, I really was writing about my travels for my own benefit, but seeing as I made it public, so family and friends could have a look if they wanted to, well, of course, then I have to try and make it interesting and give everyone a chuckle or two, and that’s often easier said than done for me. Soooo, because one of my daughters keeps telling me I seem to be having trouble with my memory (could I be just not taking enough notice of things?), and because it’s getting close to a year ago – I’ve decided to try to add a new post more often, even if it’s mostly photos. Doesn’t sound like much of a commitment, but I really do want to try to commit as much as I can to paper computer before I do forget it all. So here goes, travel back in time with me to France last July.

18th July 2013

When I was thinking of doing this trip, one of the things I was most keen to do was living in Paris for a month – I lasted just short of 3 weeks. I’m not sure why, I really tried hard to love it, but I just didn’t. I’m sure my home stay situation and associated tummy troubles had quite a bit to do with it; and maybe the fact I’d been away from home for 3 months didn’t help either. I’d like to come back again though and give it another go because I know there’s heaps more to see and do. I was a tad sad to say goodbye to my little apartment and the tower but Arras and the WW1 battlefields were calling me.

Which way to go?

Which way to go?

I often say to myself, “today I am not going to get lost, I will find my way with no problems” – and guess what???? I found my way from the train station to my hotel with only one tiny weeny itsy bitsy unintentional detour – woot, woot!! I also stood at an intersection looking from my phone to every conceivable spot a street name could be hiding for a while, before a helpful guy at a café took pity on me and called out the street names. So funny, how sometimes you don’t even need to ask, if you look lost enough, someone will help – AND this was France, where they’re supposedly the most arrogant people on earth.

Arras Town Hall from the Hotel Diamant

Arras Town Hall from the Hotel Diamant

The Hotel Diamant was tucked away in the corner of a wonderful big square, the place des Héros, almost next door to the Town Hall. Even though it was only just after lunch, I collapsed on the bed and slept for an hour or so – I almost felt like I relaxed for the first time since arriving in France. Although I love to see the big cities and all they have to offer, it is nice to be out of the rush and crush of Paris, in a small place again where the pace of living is more like home and also where personal security is not such an issue. Feeling quite refreshed after my nanna nap I had a wonderful wander around and found the Grand’Place, another huge square bounded by buildings with the same unusual facades, followed by a mellow couple of hours at a cafe near the hotel having a few wines, some great fresh food and some sketching time.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under France, Mid-life travel, Solo female travel, Travel