Weirdly and miraculously Les Jouers all arrived at St. Pancras on time and boarded the train to a fanfare courtesy of the Disney Eurostar band. Deposited in Paris in time for lunch, we kicked off the tour with a brief practical on the operation of child labour within family businesses though the small mutterings regarding school attendance were overwhelmed by desire for chips and beer - run faster little girl, run faster.. followed by a leisurely afternoon of floating down the Seine to Notre Dame and back up to the Eiffel Tower.
The Friday night was balmy. We'd enjoyed a delightful meal in the Bastille area - waiter lovely though somewhat pained by vegetarianism as a concept and informed us the chef might disembowel him if he requested a plain omelette - and we moved on to a wee bar with a piano and gingham tablecloths. Afterwards we wandered homewards towards the quickening dawn.The Paris streets were hushed, sated; the streets blue with a post alcohol half light. A merry few enhanced the British reputation abroad by politely knocking on the wrong door for an hour until being gently shepherded 20m down the road to the youth hostel but otherwise we were all in bed in time to mentally prepare for the rigours of the tournament the next day.
Saturday started with a brisk jog round the gardens of the Louvre for one and upper bunk early morning , um, exercises for another. Sonaldinhio herded us to the Gare de Lyon an hour and 41 minutes early for our train (how we laughed...) before heading off to the Bois du Roi and the most idyllic pitches we've ever played on courtesy of the organisational powers of Marge Le Day. The incredible hospitality from the other team was in evidence with the fabulous picnic they provided in the middle of the woods and Marge's mum very kindly helped throughout the day.
The tournament itself was fab. The Comets played Allez Les Bleus twice and Les Pantheurs Noire once before finishing with a combined forces match with a selection of each of the three teams playing against each other. There were spectacular saves and showboating goals in each of the matches, two on pitch injuries and one ambulance called. We finished the day with a quick swim in the lake before heading back to the centre of Paris.
Our unfeasibly early check out the next day encouraged the cultural streak through the team and we wandered down to the George Pompidou centre to hone our appreciation of modern art where Nikki managed to make Elaine and Sonal believe that "An exercise in White" was in fact a magic eye painting and should be stared at intensely at close range until all became clear. Which it did. Though the realisation was not of an artistic nature.
After our introduction to the £8 diet coke we headed back home in time for the Euro 2008 final (where we recognised some of our moves from the previous day :)
Amazing weekend which was testament to the time and effort (and patience) of Miss Patel and Miss Penrose. Cracking tour t shirts too!