Wednesday 6th July 2016
Yay! We’re going to Paris today!
Shower. Pack. Check out. Coffee. Underground to King’s Cross. Check in. And we’re off.
Thank you Barking – it’s been great!

Arriving in Paris at 5pm the sun was shining and everything seemed to be right with the world again.
J’adore Paris.
We arrived at the apartment and dropped off our bags before heading straight out for the night.
Coffee, walking then food.
We ate at the Lotus Flower (a lovely family run Vietnamese resto) and watched the world go by. The food was great; filling and healthy tofu & veg dishes and the service was, as always in Paris, fantastic.
After a little late night stop at a café we headed back to the apartment and watched a couple of episodes of a French drama called ‘Paris’. It’s good for me to watch French language TV as it helps with the language & accent and also it’s great for location spotting.
‘Paris’ tells a twisted tales of love, life and politics staring Éric Caravaca, Florence Pernel, Sarah-Jane Sauvegrain – I’m loving it.
“24 hours in Paris following the trail of different people whose fates will cross decisively”

Thursday 7th July 2016
After morning coffees Alexis headed over to GDN to pick up his large drum bag and I popped into Belushi’s to catch up on some emails. We didn’t think that there would be anyone left there that we knew however Liam (a guy we met and suggested he ask for a job at the bar a few years ago) is now the bar manager.

Lunch was vegan burgers at Hank’s in the Marie, and it was great.

We wandered up to the 19th arr. & popped into our ‘home from home’ Belushi’s Canal.
This place and the old staff are the reason we first started playing shows in Paris – being invited in 2011 by the manager at the time to play shows in the bar and at their Plage stage. We met so many great people over the years thanks to the Belushi’s team and even though only one member of our Belushi’s family still works at Canal it still fills us with great memories and lots of love for those times.
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Tonight is the France vs Germany Euro16 semi-final so we left before chaos ensued and walked back to the apartment via shops before finding a less ‘crazy’ bar to watch the game. Well, that was the plan anyway.
We ate at a lovely Indian resto close to the apartment and finished our meal about 9:45pm; just in time to pick a bar and get settled in for the second half of the game. The atmosphere was electric and we decided that the bar at the end of the street was looking like the one most likely to provide us with a seat. Outside all the tables and chairs were filled with wine drinking, face-painted fans and as their team were winning there seemed to be no chance of them leaving to provide us with a space in the late evening warmth. We headed inside and there were a few chairs left which had a view of the TV. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so impressed with a bunch of drunk football fans (being Scottish means we have the best fans in the world however our team sucks, so we never really get to see fans celebrating such a big win). The locals shouted and cheered at the TV, applauding every decision and kick of the ball. Even when Boateng was taken off injured, the French fans were gracious and applauded the player’s effort. The full time whistle blew and the cheering and singing, clapping & dancing began. It continued into the small hours of the morning.
I may have mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again- I LOVE PARIS!

Friday 8th July 2016
Waking up for our second full day in Paris seemed strange; almost like we’ve been here for ages already. Everything seems so familiar and easy.
Today’s plan involved making some soup for lunch and testing out the facilities in the apartment and by lunch time we were sitting down to a healthy bowl of lentil soup and bread straight from La Flute Gana (one of the amazing boulangeries on the street).

We’d arranged to meet up with Antonia prior to the show at Au Chat Noir next week. Antonia is the poet in residence at Paris Spoken Word & I’m such a big fan of her work. We’ve been emailing back & forth for a few weeks and she has sent me some examples of material she may use for our collaboration & I am beyond excited to have her involved in our tour this year.

We met at 2pm outside the station Saint Germain des Pres and took a small walk before stopping off at a cute side-street café for some drinks.

After leaving Antonia we made our way to Au Chat Noir to deliver some promotional material for the gig, then carried on to Le Gambetta (again to deliver the flyers and posters for the show) before heading to Cinecitta (Italian resto) and then home for the evening. Determined to get to sleep earlier tonight, we watched the final 2 episodes of ‘Paris’ and went to bed.

Saturday 9th July 2016
We headed out to the beautiful and peaceful Bois des Vincennes in the morning armed with a picnic of bread, hummus and potato salad for lunch. The area is popular with locals as a spot for dog walking, horse riding and running, but still it retains a sense of calm. The sun was high in the sky, reaching temperatures of 35 degrees as we strolled through the wooded areas along the stream.
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As we were close to Nation we decided to pop in to café Arnold Netter for coffees, reminiscing about our stay in this arrondissement whilst on tour 2 years ago. Each morning we would start the day with a café creme pour moi avec un espresso pour Alexi. We have very fond memories of the area and were pleased to see not much had changed (if anything) since our last visit.

Feeling refreshed we decided it would be a good idea to walk all the way home to our apartment on Rue des Pyrénées. It’s quite a long way so rewarded ourselves with cake from one of the many Patisseries on the street.
That evening we started watching the 1984 film flop that is David Lynch’s Dune. . . as big fans of Mr Lynch we were still keen to soak up his greatness (also Alexis had read the book and figured I’d enjoy the story if not the special fx that were bound to be out-dated).I was not surprised to see that the cast was filled with Twin Peaks actors (Kyle MacLachlan & Everett McGill) alongside classic British greats like Patrick Stewart & Sting.
The special effects do indeed look pretty awful now, but I can imagine that if I’d seen it back in the 80s I’d have been more than impressed.

Sunday 10th July 2016
This was our 6-year wedding anniversary.
We had coffee in the retro-styled café ‘Cream’ before making our way to the Buttes Chaumont for a tasty picnic.
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Then we wandered along the Canal Saint Martin to the Parc Villette to enjoy more of the sunshine and weekend atmosphere.

In the evening we found ourselves a lovely Indian retso close to our apartment before we went and joined the locals surrounding the nearby cafés and bars to watch the 2nd half of the Euro2016 final. It was a nervous time but in the end France lost to Portugal.
All was not lost in the world of sporting achievements as Andy Murray won the Wimbledon men’s singles final.

Monday 11th July 2016
Lots of places are closed on a Monday (including the laundrettes) so we had a pretty quiet day; walking along the Seine from Gare De Austerlitz to the Louvre then the side-streets around the Champs Elysees. The street that our apartment is on is a food-lovers paradise and so we popped in to the deli downstairs and got some fantastic fresh ravioli for tea.

Later that evening we sauntered along to Au Chat Noir for coffee and a bit of Spoken Word Paris – the guest was Chris Bernstorf (from the USA) whose style and delivery was good but the content was overloaded with ‘Jesus loves us’ and ‘God is King’ chat…. A bit too much for my personal taste.

Tuesday 12th July 2016
We listened to the mastered tracks for the new LP all sounding fab and we’re so pleased with the final results.
Coffee & a visit to the laundrette were first on the cards for today, but after that we enjoyed another fine day of weather and wandering in this city that we love so much.

We visited the Jardin du Luxembourg and ate fresh falafel at a great little café near the Insitiut du monde Arabe (one of our favourite buildings in Paris).

Alexis treated me to a home cooked meal of puy lentils and goat’s cheese which was just what the doctor ordered. It’s strange being away from home for so long and not being able to indulge in life’s little pleasures (cooking and having a reliable wifi connection), so was lovely to be able to have such a fantastic tea made in our ‘own’ space.

Wednesday 13th July 2016
Headed out early to have coffee in the Marais before heading to the Pompidou centre. The queues were massive (even though we turned up 20 minutes before the place even opened), but we waited in line with everyone else eager to see inside. Doors open at 11am and once inside we found a bunch of other queues for tickets and who knows what else.

We saw a fantastic photography exhibition by Louis Stettner (American photographer) which put us in mind of our good friend Stephen Young; he also has a love of NYC and real life photography – not staged shots.

Afterwards we went to our favourite resto in Paris Les Pates Vivantes for lunch. Watching the noodles being hand-rolled whist we waited only served to make our tummies even more hungry. The food & service were as always fantastic – it never disappoints.
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The afternoon was finished off by a trip to A L’etoile Dor – the renowned chocolate shop run by the equally renowned Denise Acabo. Recommended by everyone from my favourite ‘sweet freak’ Amy Thomas to the world’s favourite food blogger David Lebovitz, this place is like stepping back in time. Denise welcomes you like you are a long lost friend, providing a tour of her beautiful shop and the exquisite bon bons and bars that it houses. She speaks so quickly that I’m not sure I understood much of what she said but her enthusiasm is clear and the ingredients are world class. Denise selected a bag of 20 or so chocolates from her hand-picked range stored in wooden cabinets for us to take home and try before closing up for her summer holidays (she’s off to the south of France for 1 month to get some sun and much needed rest).
If you ever find yourself in SoPi (south Pigale) with a few euros to spare, I strongly recommend paying this marvellous woman a visit.
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The shop was closed due to a gas explosion in 2014 and reopened in November 2015 almost exactly as it always was.
You can read about the recent adventures (or reconstruction & reopening of the shop) on many a blog but here’s a link to David’s updates… he is clearly a big fan.

On the same street as this fantastic candy store there are a number of musical instrument shops alongside cafes and bars which lead away from the seedy side of the area and back into old school Paris.
Feeling pleased with ourselves we stopped off at Belushi’s GDN for coffee and wifi before heading back to the apartment to finish off the press release for the new LP.

Next up we have our Paris shows: 14th @ Le Gambetta Club, 16th @ Au Chat Noir and 17th @ PopIn
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