Dùghall en France: Grimper Montmartre

Montmarte was definitely my favourite place in Paris. It was beautiful. All the art… heaven in the centre of Paris! If i lived in that city, that area would be my home!

After parking Dùghall we headed straight up to the top; the views out over Paris were amazing, and right at the peak of stood the stunning Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmarte.

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After a little trip inside the cathedral (no photos :( sorry) we had Monsieur SatNav to guide us back down the hill!

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On our travels we came across the Salvador Dali Museum.

I have to admit to not really knowing anything about Dali at all. All my knowledge of him is based around “surreal” and “dripping clocks” and that was about it. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that i love his work! Wandering around that little gallery made me into a fan. It wasn’t just the aesthetics of the pieces that i liked but also the stories behind them; each piece had a statement beside it describing in great detail the narrative of the works and i wish i had taken photos of them because they were beautiful…. alas you will just have to make do with images of his wonderful works:

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The photo doesn’t really do it justice, but this cone of yellow was just magnificent. I think this elephant piece was my favourite… there was just something so captivating about it. If i’d had the money i would have forked it out for on of the miniature replicas!

 

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After a quick ice tea we headed back down through Montmarte.

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And naturally stopping at all the pretty things on the way past….

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Jamie was so excited by all the art.

 

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Don’t worry we had Monsieur SatNav to guide us again!!

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It wouldn’t be a proper trip to Montmarte without visiting the Moulin Rouge building!

It would have been nice to go to the show…. but the tickets were SO expensive… ach well we would just have to settle for getting our photos taken outside!

 

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Just across the road from Moulin Rouge we discovered Jamie’s favourite shop in Paris!

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Rounding up our day in Montmarte was a visit to the famous cemetery. Which was beautiful and bizarre; over the top of the various mausoleums was an overpass! Very strange. The whole place was huge, but incredibly beautiful. I wish we had had longer to wander around all the monuments, but the meter was running out on Dùghall by that point and we had to rush back… i could have spent the whole afternoon there flitting inbetween the graves.

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Montmarte was a fabulous end to our stay in Paris…. tomorrow we head off to Soulac-Sur-Mer so stay tuned!

 

See you on the other side.

Chloe out.

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Dùghall en France: Découvrir la Merveille D’or de Versailles

The Palace of Versailles was goldenly stunning!

My expectations were centered around it being the epitome of French royalty and opulence and i was not disappointed. Despite the excessively long queue (it took like 2hours to get in!) that zigzagged up and down the entrance that we had to wait in, it was well worth the visit. Make sure you check the opening times before you go… the whole of France seems to have bizarre opening/closing times and Versailles was no exception (we ended up going twice as it was closed first time!). I think there may have been a fastpass type thing/tickets bought beforehand that might be worth getting especially if you’re going during the holidays, but i’m not so sure what the deal is there! If you do go, prepare to wait around for a long time but know that it’s worth it when you get inside (apart from all the other tourists you have to push pass).

Don’t believe me? Check out the photographic proof!

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Dùghall is worthy of royal vehicle status!

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This is the wonderful set of rooms where we bought the tickets and browsed the giftshop… i loved the bizarrely modern designed chandeliers and the chicken wallpaper:

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The gardens were amazing!

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Next stop: the incredible interior…

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Because every home needs a really weird statue of a monkey riding a goat…..

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Sophisticated selfie!

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During a battle is definitely the best time for ballroom dancing…

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Sarcastic Scotsman looks down on you disapprovingly because you can never have as many tassels covering your genitalia as he does…

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That awkward moment when Billy Connolly rides off to war…

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On our way out we came across this beautiful art installation in one of the rooms. I couldn’t find any information about in the palace, and my googling was unsuccessful… so i can’t really tell you anything other than i thought it was beautiful (if you’ve got any information about what it is/who made it please drop me a comment, thanks)!

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Beautiful…..

 

And next onto Montmarte….

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See you in the next installment :)

Chloe out.

Dùghall en France: Notre-Dame et le Tombeau de Napoléon

Notre-Dame = my expectations were high and it was rather disappointing…. Napoleon’s Tomb = no expectations and it was amazing!

The exterior of Notre-Dame was beautiful.

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The many many many gargoyles were wonderful!

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But the inside was just a little disappointing…. i guess i’d maybe bigged it up in my mind so in reality it was just a little plain and boring. Don’t get me wrong, it was still very pretty but just not quite as impressive as i was expecting. However, it was free and the queue to get in wasn’t too long so i would still recommend it!

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If you’re going to stop for a snack after Notre-Dame make sure you pick a cafe a few streets away or you’ll be paying 7euros for a coke!

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None of us really knew what the exterior of Napoleon’s tomb looked like and were taking photos of this beautiful golden topped building which we kind of walked right up to with an oh that must be it then! It was stunning on the outside.

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And even more stunning inside!

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Mrs.Cupcake having a bit of a twittering moment!

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Well worth a visit!………. and now off to bed….

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Stay tuned for the next installment!

Chloe out.

Dùghall en France: Tour Eiffel

What do you do in Paris? Well of course you just have to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower don’t you?!

And that we did.

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I would definitely recommend booking your slot/ticket online before going. You choose a time slot online, and on the day you turn up 15/30mins before your slot and essentially go straight through. If you decide to go without booking online…. prepare thyself for a long long LONG wait in line!

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Mrs.Cupcake was a big fairy and didn’t come up with us!

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Definitely worth doing…. very touristy and crowded but reasonably priced (for a major tourist attraction) and naturally the best place for the best views out over the whole of Paris!

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Stay tuned for more of our adventures in Paris!

Chloe out.

Dùghall en France: Errant Autour de Paris

Paris is a beautiful city, i could have spent weeks just wandering around the streets taking it all in…

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Mr.Cupcake taking a grumpy nap while waiting for the shuttle bus.

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Walking through the Arc de Triomphe underpass.

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And how could i not take a photo of the Cartier shop! especially with these sexy golden panthers dominating the windows.

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These huge golden dinosaurs were very impressive in the windows of, what i think was, Harvey Nichols, but it could have been any of the snazzily decorated shops along the Champs Elysees! (this one was rather hard to capture due to the sunny glare on the window, and the throngs of tourists getting in my way!!)

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The line outside Abercrombie & Fitch…. ugh…. even more sickening when i recall the stench of piss water they call perfume that clung around the area.

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I don’t remember seeing this beauty last time i was in Paris but apparently i did! how could i miss it?! I think i want one in my garden, the detail up each side was incredible and was perfectly set off by the flash of gold at the tip, which caught and reflected the sun from every angle.

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Slightly awkward moment as this man photobombs my picture……!

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Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to go inside The Louvre this time, which is a shame because what i remember from the small bit we saw last time it was stunning  inside. On the bright side we did get to wander around the beautiful outside of the building and grounds.

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Even the dirty river water looked rather inviting on this VERY hot day!

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Loved these little mushroom style lamps growing out of the walls of this restaurant.

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When i’m rich and famous and have a swanky pad i’m totally having epic animal statues in my garden!

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Shhh…

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Oh please do.

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This square was beautiful. The graffiti on the walls was pretty cool, the paper mache sculptures in the pond were also pretty cool and the little cafes dotting around the edges were the perfect place to stop for a drink and a nibble (it was just to the side of The Pompidou Centre)!

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The bizarre Pompidou Centre which was annoyingly closed each time we tried to go! The whole of France seems to have a weird closing/opening time deal…. nothing is closed/open when you’d expect to be and every place was different which we found rather frustrating and really strange…. you’d think everything would be open full time during the holidays!!

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This place was amazing! EVERYTHING PISTACHIO!!! om nom nom!

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That awkward moment when you realize French firemen look like crazy action figures because of their shiny gold warrior knight helmets!

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Teehee loved spotting this little guy!

 

Stay tuned for more of our adventures in Paris!

Chloe out.

Dùghall en France: Jours de Voyage

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All packed up and setting off on the long road to France!

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Our epic 674 miles journey took us two days!

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With only one minor breakdownish moment… when we hadn’t even left Scotland!!! But Dùghall was recovered by Mr.Cupcake rather quickly and we were off again!

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Our first day took as all the way down to our hotel just outside Folkestone, where we napped and had a lovely dinner (well the food was crap but the company was wonderful!) with our Eastbournian friends.

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Day two and we head into the deep dark depths of the eurotunnel!

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Out of the darkness and suddenly we were in France!

On our long drive down from Calais to Paris we passed by this awesomely painted van:

 

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Soon enough we were parked up in Paris…. well almost… turns out we were given the wrong pitch (no electric hookup!) and had to move camp to another spot!!

 

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The campsite we stayed in was called The Indigo Camping Paris Bois de Boulogne Campsite which i would probably not recommended to anyone! It wasn’t particualrily bad, however it was incredibly cramped, the customer service was on the whole rubbish and most of the staff were rather unhelpful and/or rude, the showers were hot but rather sporadically switched between burning my skin and too cold to stand in (and i’m Scottish!), the barrier check in/out system that had going on was bizarre and a little inconvienent and was altogether rather soulless… on the plus side the toilets were clean! If i was to rate it, i’d give the place a 2 out of 5.

But on the bright side we were in Paris… stay tuned to see what we got up to!

Chloe out.

This is what the future of music looks like.

On Saturday 20th July 2013 the wonderfulest wonderful party i have ever been to took place in a bunting covered garden in the outskirts of London… and it was wonderful!

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I wonder which house it could be…..

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Then i definitely knew i was in the right place…. there’s a dalek with rubber ducky bunting!

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My flowered up name badger (loved this cutie! was a sad moment when i realized i had to take it off to go to bed)!

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The wonderful creator of the name badger: Robin Stevenson

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This is the scrapbooky gift we made up for Amanda. I jazzed up the front with an inky sketch and we filled it up with… well i don’t have any photos of it from the end, but it looked beautiful and was full of pretty photos and drawings and people had written adorable things for/about Amanda…. i hope it makes her happy :)

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I have to admit i was annoyingly quite nervous before arriving… i’m very shy and a little socially awkward! and i was going to a party alone with people i had only met on facebook before! Turns out my worries were misplaced and i didn’t need to be nervous even a tiny bit! I had forgotten how amazing Amanda Palmer fans were. There was so much trust gathered up between so many people before the party had even started; with the relatively large amounts of money floating around, people opening their homes to other people they didn’t know, traveling and meeting with strangers… and it was strange how trusting i was of people i didn’t know! My mum (who worries if i don’t post a tweet for a whole day, and assumes i have died) was naturally untrusting of such strangers i had met online and was traipsing all the way down to London to party with, but i didn’t share her fear at all… if it had been any other group of people my trust would have perhaps been a little naive… perhaps i just like to assume that not everybody is an untrustworthy wanker and with such a community as the Amanda Palmer fandom there is naught but love and much hugging!  I felt so welcomed, and although i didn’t get the chance to chat to all the people there, everybody was lovely. Thank you my magnificent new friends all for making it the perfect night!

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I’m here!” Yes Amanda, yes you are! It was a pretty amusing moment when she did arrive. Somebody ran through from the house announcing “SHE’S HERE!” in an excitable squeal… and we waited. Everyone in the garden mostly continued on with their conversations, apart from the odd glance towards the house every now… i was guilty of doing it myself but watching it happen around me was oddly funny. And then she walked out into the garden. A total silence fell around the party. “I’m here.

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Everyone slowly got over their inner fangirl/guy moments, and we chilled and drank and ate (our hosts put on the best spread! again well done guys! and thank you) and chatted.

And then Amanda played a little.

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She played Melody Dean on ukulele. Melody Dean is one of my favourites from the new album and she played it on ukulele. It was amazing!

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WALK LIKE THUNDER!

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And it’s not a party without nakedness! Obviously sharpieing Amanda’s naked body at a house party was so last year! we had to shake it up! So……… Amanda sharpieing on our naked bodies! Those brave enough to get naked (i was not nearly drunk enough that early on to get my kit off!) did! and we doodled all over them!

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People got naked…

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… and other people watched on!

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Making art on naked people…. sign me up!

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Here is a video of Amanda running around in the naked art awesomeness: http://instagram.com/p/b_3KxQJJ-R/

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And of course it isn’t a party without cake! Mrs.Cupcake (of Candy Cupcake) very kindly gave me these yummy cupcakes (which were only slightly melted by the time they came all the way down from Edinburgh!) for everyone to munch on!

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Om nom nom nom…

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After the yummy desserts we were treated to more sweetness with the unexpected special guest Bethia Beadman. Amanda described her as sounding like a cross between Cat Power and Nick Drake and with the three(?) gorgeous songs that she played i could completely hear that! It’s always a great feeling when you leave somewhere with a new musician to add to your list of favourites! Check her out on her website: www.bethiabeadman.com

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I don’t have any clips of Bethia playing from the party, but if you click HERE you can listen to some of her tracks.

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I think (the order of things happening is in my head a little muddled!) it was after Bethia played that we had a quiet excerpt in the evening as Amanda took on role of storyteller and read to use from Neil’s new book The Ocean At The End Of The Lane… which if you haven’t read it yet i would strongly urge you to do so (Amanda wrote a whole blog about it HERE and Neil wrote a blog about it HERE).

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Then Amanda played more…

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…and more…

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…and more!

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Lovely little clip of Amanda covering The Violent Femmes’ Add It Up

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SEXUAL HEALING!

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This clip is  moment when Amanda played Delilah was one i’ll remember; she played it beautifully on the ukulele and the whole garden seemed to light up with the singing of all of us who surrounded her. It was bliss.

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Then our more expected unexpected special guest arrived… hello Sxip Shirey!

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Not only did we get the wonderfulness of Sxip, but her brought along a tap dancer! Who’s named i didn’t quite catch but who’s feet i will always remember!

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Not only was he a magnificent tap dancer but he also knew how to play SEXUAL HEALING!!!

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While Sxip and Amanda were playing we were treated to some fire dancing in the background!

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FIRE!

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The night was rounded off beautifully drunkenly with a rendition of Jason Webley’s Drinking Song which was a great end to our night of magic (apart from one poor girl who was perhaps a little to merry and ended up in the emergency room with a split lip :O however, i happy to report she is now fine!).

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Like good British children we queued up to say our goodbyes to Amanda as she was leaving. It was beautiful standing there watching her hug people, muttering things to them that lit up their faces, posing for photo after photo each time with a genuine smile. Then it was my turn. I shyly offered up the book to her. I don’t think i said anything more intelligent than “thank you” over and over. I’m shy at the best of times, meeting somebody who means so much to you face to face is brain jarring…. you want to say everything at once so you just end up blurting out cliched i love yous! I’m glad we gave her the scrapbook… my letter was more coherent  and profound than i was! Also she was hugging me…. that was exquisitely distracting…

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And she kissed me.

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Thank you Amanda Palmer for everything. Thank you every single person in that beautiful garden for the wonderfulest of wonderful nights; especially Mike, Sue, Alex and Julia for all the brilliant hosting and organizing – you guys are amazing. It’s been almost a month now and i’m still ecstatically happy. Thank you.

Chloe out.

*photo and film credits*

Myself :)

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Mike Snowden

Mathilde Motte

Rachel Alker

Adele Kirby

Loreleï Lemasson

*update* Amanda wrote a fantastic blog about just how special the kickstarter parties are (and we’re in it! squeee!). Find it HERE.

*update2* Mike has written a great post about his views on hosting/organizing the party (i don’t feel like i really did much organizing but thanks for the special mention Mike!). Well worth a read! Click HERE and scroll down to the second comment and you’ll find his post.