Every year we like to treat our hard working staff to a bit of a break and some team building. We call this TeamTime and this year Team Northern Hemisphere were sent to Paris. Here’s my take on our three days of fun and frolics in the City of Light.
After an early start we arrived at our hotel in Paris at around 13:00 local time to be greeted by Aaron and his family who had been in Paris for a few days already. Aaron had obviously spent too long in Europe as we all received double cheek kisses. Those red pants are bright in real life too.
After checking in, our first activity was to head out in teams to find three local places of interest. Our activity bag included (among other things) postcards of three destinations that our teams had to get to and then have a photo taken in front of. Mode of transport was the Velib (Parisian hire bikes). The weather was hot, and the cycling hard going at times, so the water and Redbull in our packs were very welcome.
Our team made up of myself, Neil and Nate got some great shots of The Lourve, Eiffel Tower and the Quarter Invalides which we followed with a leisurely (mostly liquid) lunch at one of the many street cafes on our way back to our hotel. The other teams of Aaron, Michael and Dani and Miel, Ryan and Mark also had great fun getting their shots among the many tourist attractions in Paris.
The evening included more drinks at a bar near Pont Neuf, followed by a cruise down the Seine with a lovely three course meal. It culminated in a fireworks display from the Eiffel Tower and nearby bridge to celebrate Bastille Day. A pretty awesome show and a really nice way of spending our first evening together in Paris.
Day two started with the realisation that no one in our hotel had hot water, so after a very quick shower and a hearty breakfast we headed to Montmartre to enjoy a bread making lesson from Franco-American chef Alex Dreyer.
We had a really informative and hands on couple of hours resulting in a large batch of focaccia, traditional baguettes and many different styles of brioche. We got to enjoy the bread with cheese, meats, pates and of course wine.
After lunch our next stop was to learn how to play Pétanque/Boules with our host Victor in place Dauphine. After a brief history lesson, we took to the sand, splitting into teams to perfect our skills. I was pleased to learn that the most important part of the game was enjoying some more French Wine. Just as well for me, since the activity ended with an all-in game which was won on a single demon boule from Mssr. Clement to knock my winning ball flying.
The day ended with a team meal and as it was a beautiful, warm evening, most of us went on to enjoy a few more drinks in the local bars before bedtime.
Day three began with more cold showers and after breakfast we headed over to the Eiffel Tower for a climb up to see the sights of Paris from above. The queue for the elevators was ridiculously long, so we decided to ascend on foot.
Once we reached our destination we were rewarded with some great views over Paris, which we followed with another leisurely team lunch as a restaurant nearby.
Afterwards a few of us jumped in taxis back to the hotel while others chose to have one last ride on the hire bikes before we said goodbye to this wonderful city.
All in all it was a really fun trip. Tiring, hot, with the odd cold shower thrown in for good measure, but lots and lots of good times had by all. It was a great team building exercise and will live in my memory for a long time to come.