Of course, we woke far too early. Jet lag kicked in at five in the morning and Paula was ready to party. With the temperature at -4 degrees outside, we were’t going anywhere soon, so we sat in bed and read and used the Net on our iPhones.

This has been the surprise of the trip. If you can get to a free hotspot, then the phone comes into it’s own as the ultimate travel aid. We’ve not needed to go out to bank or send emails: it’s all here on the phone.

After all this electronic stuff, we went down to breakfast at seven, well rugged-up, or so we thought. We were fine inside over a very good breakfast, but once outside on our walk, the cold made its presence felt in no uncertain terms.

We decided to move along pretty quickly, down the rue Magenta towards la place de la Republique. In spite of the blight of America’s shame (fast food restaurants), it was impressive and encouraged us to walk further towards Bastille.

The streetscapes were superb: like no other city. The number of cafes, bistros and restaurants was still surprising, even on a second visit. Europe prefers to live life small – none of the spread or tendency to giganticism that marks the new world. I’m sure there are hypermarkets in the suburbs, but not inside the ring.

We found a local market just of the Place and were amazed at the quality and variety of the produce. Meat was expensive but fish was not; and the sheer range of vegies and fruit, their colour and texture, was impressive. We have a long way to go in the presentation of food, of this was typical. Paula bought a hat, though it has not been quite warm enough to keep her ears warm on a day where we have been below freezing most of the day.

We headed back to the pub – another success, by the way – to dress for more serious undertakings.