Monday looked warmer than Sunday, but I think we have never been as cold (and we thought we had come well prepared). Our plan was to sort out some travel arrangements for the rest of the trip at Gare de l’Est and purchase tickets to Versaille, but we found that purchasing en avance was not necessary and, given the queues we found today, not advisable.

Our route took us to a small street of Champ de Mars, where were to collect our D-Day tour tickets. The bike company was swarming with Australians and we were sorry for Lisa, the office manager, who was friendly and helpful.

The leaflet for Bateau Parisienne told us to go under the Tour Eiffel, and we visualised a ticket office rather than a sign to the quai. We had the “privilege” of seeing the biggest crowd and longest queues we have ever seen (45 minutes in below zero temperatures to buy tickets). All of Western Europe had come to Paris on a mission. New Year’s Eve will be interesting if this is any indication.

The cruise was a fantastic chance to see Paris from a different angle. I insisted we sat outside to get better pictures, but at halfway realised that even the noon sun would not save us from exposure.

It had seemed like an idea to to Montparnasse to ascend the tower and take some panoramic shots, but by then any sign of a line was a disincentive, so we abandoned that idea for the cemetary and introducing Paula to the thawing qualities of hot chocolate at a local cafe. I have pictures of Becket’s grave and that of Sartre and de Beauvoir. Another day off the tax.

We did not feel like an afternoon in the cafe, so settled for a read and warm shower before dinner. We splashed out on the food, deciding to eat a good Parisian meal rather than bistro food. Though only twenty euro more than our usual fare, it was delicious: proper onion soup, and a fantastic entrée with scrambled egg in fillo, veal and duck. It was a good choice: by the time we left, it was packed.

Inevitably, much of the real impression of what we are doing is lost: I hope Paula is feeling descriptive, because we are experiencing more of Paris than last time and dreaming of one day living here for a month.