Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bonjour Paris

We arrived in Paris yesterday evening after an early morning start driving from Lyme Regis, then a two and a half hour Eurostar trip from St Pancras Station to Gare du Nord.  It was well after 6.00pm when we made our way from Gare du Nord to Chatelet on the Metro. I don't think that we (and our luggage) were really appreciated by the peak hour crowds filling the train.

We took as little time as possible settling into our studio apartments in our favourite Marais district (ours is in Rue de Braque, Ros & Pete's is just around the corner in Rue Rambuteau) before heading out again, finding our way to a lovely bar in Rue Veille du Temple for a welcoming drink and then Rue des Rosiers to join the queue for one of the famous Jewish felafel rolls from L'As du Fallafel. 

We then made our way down to the banks of the Seine for a romantic night time view of the beautiful Ile Saint Louis and Ile de la Cite....and ....of course the magnificent Notre Dame cathedral. As usual the young African / Arab / French young people were there entertaining the crowds with an amazing array of fire breathing and acrobatic skills.  The streets, cafes, bars and restaurants were crowded with people even as we were walking home well after eleven.

Ros and Pete were impressed by their first glimpses of Paris.

This morning we took a laid back approach to sight seeing - and didn't get started until around 11.00am - Paris style.

We started off walking westward through the Forum des Halles area, which used to be a lovely quiet spot alongside the ancient St Eustache church.  Now it is under MAJOR reconstruction.  That lovely sculpture we used to stroke gently and watch children play around is now in a very precarious position.

We keep on walking and note this interesting contemporary building in the midst of old Paris and wonder if it really does work??

In Rue de Rivoli, we're adjacent to a side entrance to the Musee Louvre forecourt, but we make a right turn instead into the gorgeous arcades and gardens of the old Palais Royale, one of my favourite places in Paris.

Unfortunately most of the shops in the arcades and galleries are closed today, including the exquisite Galerie Vivienne and Galerie Colbert. We don't know why - and not even Mr Google knows why either!

So we head for the magnificent forecourt of the Musee Louvre which is crowded today with thousands of visitors. The queue to enter snakes around the edges of court for hundreds of metres - there's a huge wait to get in and we don't have the time or inclination today.

The walk through the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries is always breathtaking - today is no exceptions with all the gardens and trees blooming.

Ros, Pete and I took the opportunity to visit the beautiful Musee de l'Orangerie to see my favourite Monet waterlilies.  We also got the bonus of seeing another guest collection there of amazing Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Utrillo and Soutine paintings - WOW!

While we did this Rob did some of his own exploring - enjoying the antics of the touts in the Place de la Concorde selling 20 minute drives of these pretty cars for 89 euros.

We walked up the Avenue des Champs Elysees, stopping for a bite to eat, before turning left at Avenue Montaigne so I could show Ros some of the eye poppingly opulent designer shopping that fills this gold plated avenue.

Everyone is always impressed with the iconic Plaza Athenee Hotel; today there was an Aston Martin parked outside.

We reached the Seine at Pont de l'Alma and then walked along the embankment until we got our first clear view of La Tour Eiffel.

.. ..while remarking how fast the Seine is flowing today and how HIGH the tide seems to be. Later we are to find that the Seine is actually in FLOOD - which prevents us taking our planned Batobus ride back to Notre Dame at the end of the day's sightseeing.

We cross Pont d'Iena for a close up view of a very crowded area under and around La Tour.  There's big construction work going on under the tower - building a new first floor - to be finished in December 2013.

I'm a bit disappointed that all the grassed areas to the south of the Tower are now fenced off so people can't use them. I missed the sight of hundreds of happy people enjoying this space and gaining a fantastic unblocked view of the tower looking northwards.

We take the opportunity then to stop for an afternoon Pelforth biere at a quiet cafe near the Bir Hakeim Metro before heading back to Hotel de Ville. 

We meet up again around 7.00pm for a shared meal of gourmet pizza slices, Leffe Biere and (small) serves of Victor's wondrous pastries. We'll get back to salads and soup next week I think!

1 comment:

Sophie Ark said...

great photos! The G20 Poster was a surprise. I've posted it on my blog's Facebook page....