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This time last year I visited Paris properly for the first time staying 4 nights in two different hotels one some distance from the Defense an Ibis which was fine if a little off the tourist trail but it was not far from where my cousin lives so served its purpose, the other I booked through the tourist office and was not far from the Bastille and was better suited to me needs as it had a decent restaurant nearby. This time I had booked the Ibis at Place d’Italie this I had done whilst in Granville at the Ibis next to the marina with the help of the receptionist who found me the reduced offer of 8o euro per night, to which I added another night on at 130! I had hoped to stay an extra night as I found out the first reasonable timed boat back to Jersey was on the  following Friday, I also had no great wish to swap hotels just for a night. With my schedule being open I was wondering if I was going to extend my stay and thought it best to make sure I had adequated funds in my current account so I decided to look for a possible Barclays, the one in my dated guidebook was no longer there, and I did find one by the Champs-Élysées but this was an investment bank and I was unable to access my account, there are numerous Barclays in Paris I presume they are all for those wanting to put their money into offshore accounts in Jersey! I did try on the phone but the number I was given in Jersey was not the right one and after being passed on, cut off, or given someone with very little understanding of the situation I gave up, and then I discovered I had the right number in my wallet and the issue was solved in 1o minutes, a similar thing happened last year so I will be prepared next time.

The hotel was clean tidy and the staff were friendly and helpful, the first few nights were noisy with weekend idiots going off their heads in the middle of the night and police whistles and horns echoing around, this was a little surprising as my room looked out onto a courtyard that was only semi open on one side to the street. The good thing was I not far from the metro with three lines passing through and only four or so stops from Mont Parnesse station where I had arrived and where I would depart from. I purchased a five day metro pass for 44 euro I think, which also covers you for some of the buses but I did not use one this time. Restarunt wise I chose to eat in an tidy place done out with old wood shelfs and old bits and pieces this was off the main round about, the third noght I got the metro down a few stops towards the river but this although cheaper was not as good a quality, and on the last night I ate at a place across from the metro which I had bypassed the previous nights, this was to turn out to be best place all round with a friendly waiter who spoke good English. On my penultimate day I also discovered the shopping mall across the other side of the road which had just about everything one needed including a supermarket.

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I paid my first visit to Arc de Triomphe which had christmas stalls all along the Champs-Élysées leading up to it after seeing a few I took to the pavement out of the way, it certainly is an impressive area and the arch itself is a wonderful bit of Napolenic extravagence that is to be seen so much over Paris, with rememberance day only a few days past all the war monuments that I was to see on my travels were well decorated with flags and flowers and dedications to all those involved who suffered with their loss of life.  There was also plenty of extravagence on show in the shop windows with many of the major brands showing off their goods. Inside the arch the names who served the Revolution and Empire, those that died are underlined.

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There were a couple of demonstrations on the weekend I was there the first one was against gay couples being allowed to adopt, and this appeared to entail the whole family children included going on a march, I did not see it but saw hundreds of people on the metro or waiting to get on. the Other I was fairly close to and saw all the police getting prepared, this was the Arabs protesting about the conflict in Palestine, this I could hear from Mont Parnesse and it sounded a heated affair I was tempted to go and see, in the end I was pleased I did not, the sirens went on for most of the night so not sue exactly went on, by what is on you tube it looked a tame affair.

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