also visit  my personal website   |   Books (Dutch)   |   Expedition Kilimanjaro   |   Somebody Had To Do It   |   The Quiet Reader   |   The Flicks Community Movie Theater


During my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 23 May 2001
Versailles --> Paris (F)

Today I got from Versailles to Paris for a photoshooting at the Sacre Coeur, met my host Jeanne Dubost for tonight and experienced Paris by night...
Thanks to this sponsordeal I have with a Dutch radiostation, I got awaken by their wake-up call at 9.15 am. And of course little Tirian was jumping around fully alive as there had been no yesterday. After the two minutes of radiotalk I tried to fell asleep again, until Tirian threw a ball on my head to see what would happen.

I gave up.

With the computer in the next room I got onto the internet again and noticed the recorded interview from the Belgian Radio2 had been broadcast this morning, and I had a lot of emails to answer and some new banner advertisers to process on this site.

A little hour later Erin appeared, of course also awakened by Tirian playing Tarzan in the livingroom and we both had some coffee.

In the back garden my laundry was drying in the already hot morning sun and around noon we decided to have some breakfast.

Last Monday the German newspaper Focus had an interview with me through the phone, while I was crossing the French border to Lille by train. I couldn't provide them a good photo of me so they set up a date with a Parisian photographer who would have a photoshooting of me somewhere in Paris.
The paper decided to have pictures taken at the Sacre Cœur and set up the appointment with well known photographer Gérard Sioen of the press photography agency Rapho at 4 pm.

At 3 o'clock I packed my backpack as usual and we (Erin, Tirian and me) left Versailles for Paris. The traffic was jamming a lot and of course we arrived a little late. Below at the hill of the Sacre Cœur I hugged Erin goodbye and waved Au Revoir to Tirian to meet Gérard at the café L'Ete En Pente Douce.

He asked me some questions while sitting at the terrace because he was amazed by all he had heard about me. Already at the terrace he started to take pictures with me posing at the table, you should have seen the other people looking at this scene!

Then he decided we should walk up to the Sacre Cœur (for those who don't know it, this cathedral is built upon a hill you can only reach easy by climbing up a lot of steps. With the fluid already running on my back we climbed up the hill and when we got on top we had a great panoramic view over Paris.

This is where I had to: sit down on the stairs, walk by with and without my backpack, look up, smile and sit down again on Gérards' commands and I noticed the public not only taking pictures of the Sacre Cœur but also of this weird blond guy being photographed all the time; "That must be someone famous" could they be thinking. Especially the Japanese tourists enjoyed it all...

What a strange experience this was to be photographed for a German newspaper in Paris while just travelling around with a unique internet project. All the media-hyping around this project is so unexpected but overwhelming and fun.

One hour later Gérard took his last shot. We thanked each other and he left for the development lab.

I took a walk around on the square where all the Parisian painters expose their arts and persuaded tourists to have their portrait drawn.

There I sat down on some stairs and looked around over this world city. I still can't fully realize that I am really in Paris right now. Not that I look up to this city so much, but I am not here everyday in my life.

I walked all the way from the Sacre Cœur down to Rue de Saint Antoine, where I looked for the right streetnumber of the apartment of my next host Jeanne Dubost. When I couldn't find it at all, some waiters at a restaurant explained me I was at the wrong Saint Antoine, I had to walk 'till the Bastille and there it was where the Rue de Faubourg Saint Antoine started.

It took quit a while before I got to the entrance of the right building, where I typed in the safety code (which Jeanne had called through yesterday) and got inside to the third floor.

Sweating and out of breath I met Jeanne and some of her friends in her apartment. I was suprised they spoke pretty good English, I did not really expect that from them as original French persons.

I handed Jeanne The Gifts over from Erin, paintings of Australian sceneries and a 2001 Calender of Australian. Jeanne was suprised, but she just couldn't find anything yet for my following host...

Jeanne studies history and arts in Paris and wants to work in musea later, her livingroom is full with books as the L'Histoire de l'art, L'Architecture and Le Epoque Contemporaine.

As I checked for the latest messages on the internet, Jeanne prepared dinner (a great salad -it's summer here!- with delicious French cheeses, bread and yoghurt with fresh strawberries) and Jeannes' good friend Christopher stayed to join us. Vanessa Paradis' latest album was playing in the stereo.

It already was 9.30pm and Jeanne and Christopher started to look on the internet for some movies playing in the cinemas tonight and at that time my eyes blinked. I never knew that Paris is the city with the most movietheaters in the whole world! No wonder most French peope go to see a movie at least once a week, Jeanne sometimes even goes two times a week!

But nothing interesting was playing and then we decided to go and wander through Paris, the city of lights, by night. We walked along the Bastille to the Notre Dame of Paris and sauntered along the banks of the Seine river, flowing through the heart of this city. From the completely lighted Eiffel Tower a big light was waving over the city and we stood still on a popular hangout bridge and enjoyed people playing jamba-drums in the deeps of the dark.

Around twelve thirty we got on the latest subway metro and headed back to Jeannes' apartment. Christopher said goodbye on the metro, he had to go a bit further. With her eyes half open of the sleep, Jeanne gave me something to drink and left me alone with her computer. No five minutes later see was fully asleep in her bedroom.

At this moment it is again pretty late at night, and I am sitting here in the Jeannes' livingroom with all the windows wide open. The computer is playing 'Dreamer' by Supertramp on a low volume, but I hear more sounds of the traffic passing by and people in the café below are laughing.

For me it's time to stretch out the couch into a bed and get to another land of dreams...

Tomorrow I will have my second official stay-for-a-day in Paris and I already know I'll have to put on a lot of sunburn lotion...

Goodnight dear Paris...

Have you seen the tracking map on Ludo's website yet? It's in Dutch, but you'll see a lot!