Well, the City of Light is surely turning it on for us – we have had the most perfect weather since we arrived. After a great sleep in our cute garret-style hotel room overlooking the Church of St Severin, we breakfasted in a nearby street which was completely deserted – as was the entire area – Sundays is obviously a day of rest and recreation for Parisians – great idea in my book. The cafe we chose looked inviting, the sidewalk chairs and tables were freshly set, and the menu suited, so we breakfasted on delicious crepes and the best coffee I have had so far.
During breakfast, we revised our plan and decide to leave the Versailles visit until the day we leave Paris. So in the early morning sun we set off for some more sightseeing – as we rounded the first corner on our way to visit Notre Dame, we came across Shakespeare and Company – had to have a nosy in there – jam packed with books and history, even though it is not on the original site.
Next stop, Notre Dame, which we have visited before. Since the queues were rather long, we satisfied ourselves with photo opps centred around the exterior of this amazing church and ventured on to view the gothic architecture of Sainte-Chapelle, with its huge panels of stained glass which are simply amazing. One cannot possibly begin to imagine how these were constructed in thirteenth century.
Sadly, some of the iconic sights in Paris are being refurbished, so we are not seeing the full impact. Sainte-Chapelle is one such place, where one side was obscured by covered scaffolding, the Arc de Triomphe has an unsightly covered scaffolding on one side of the top of the arch, and the Eiffel Tower has some construction going on directly underneath it. Nevertheless, it is Paris and I can cope…
After Sainte-Chapelle, we joined the many Parisian flaneurs, and strolled up to the Jardin du Luxembourg, buying picnic fare along the way, and took our lunch in the Gardens along with the locals. A lively band was playing in the shaded rotunda, as we sat and ate, watching Parisians walk by – delightful elderly couples, arms linked and aided by walking sticks, some perfectly coiffed and suited, others more practically dressed; young couples openly displaying their affection for each other; families with young children, couples, friends – a lovely scene on a very hot day.
From there, we progressed to Napoleon’s Tomb – fitting and impressive, And finally we made it to the Eiffel Tour, and walked up the stairs to the first level – that was enough for us and gave us the brilliant view over the city that we had been wanting.
A taxi ride back to the hotel allowed us to freshen up before dinner at Le Petit Chatelet …a restaurant recommended by Rick Steves, directly beside Shakepeare and Company – we were not disappointed. It was the most outstanding meal we have had so far – superior in every way to the tourist fare offered by many of the eateries close by. We prefaced dinner with sidewalk drinks at a cute little bar called Odettes, having champagne and petit choux, looking at Notre Dame as a backdrop – magic!
It has been another great day and we have seen so much, but there is more to do – tomorrow, we pick up our rental car and are off to Monet’s Garden at Giverny, followed by some afternoon shopping perhaps ….