Place Igor Stravinsky
...with the Saint-Merri church in the background. The sculptures were inspired by the music of Stravinsky.
We started the day slightly under-dressed (perhaps we shouldn't be so trusting of the weather forecasts!) so had to head back to the apartment for warmer clothes. Suitably fortified, we made our way towards the Pont des Arts
via the Rive Droite
. It started to rain and as John had no umbrella we took shelter in a bar hoping it would ease off. We drank our pressions
looking across the Seine to the Conciergerie.
The rain didn't get any lighter so we decided to brave it and headed for the Pont des Arts
. Fortunately for John, the tourist shops along the way sell umbrellas, so he now looks a right twit with his ultra-touristic "Paris" brollie!.
As we approached the Pont des Arts
, we were impressed by what we took to be gold filigree along the sides. When we got there, however we realised the 'gold' is actually hundreds of shiny brass padlocks of love! How sweet! (We thought they only did this in Italy.) For years we've been trying to get a particular shot of de la Île Cité
but could never get the angle quite right. Finally, we realised the view we wanted can only be had from
A view from Pont des Arts
Pont Neuf and the Île de la Cité
this particular bridge. The light was not great but at least we now have the shot (and some others).
Something else we've wanted to do on previous visits is ride the Batobus.
This great service operates as a hop-on, hop-off ferry that does a circuit on the Seine, stopping at eight spots including the Tour Eiffel
and the Musée de Louvre
. Notwithstanding the arrogant tourist who ran to beat us to the one remaining window seat (!), the Batobus
ride was great. We looped around at the Jardin du Plantes
and got off at Champes Élysées
. By now it was pretty cold and wet, so we were very grateful for the warmth of the Petit Palais. We went there with the express desire to see their paintings by Gustave Courbet and Monet. Sadly, the Monet room was closed for the day, but we did get to see some Courbet. Ali was keen to see the Courbet paintings in particular after reading about them in a book by Betty Churcher, given to her by her lovely sister Jenny.
Lunch! In the middle of the Petit Palais
is a lovely circular garden. Fortunately for visitors, the café has tables on
Pont des Arts
Bicycle safety, Paris style!
the garden terrace. There we sat and had lunch, despite the chilly weather! Once again, we were pleasantly surprised by the standard of food in what is essentially a cafeteria.
took us back to Saint-Germain-des-Prés
, from where we wandered along the Rive Gauche
, stopping briefly in Place St Michel
to take in the very cool fountain, and ended up at Shakespeare and Company. Located in the heart of one of the busiest tourist areas of Paris (just across the river from Notre Dame
) we were a bit worried this famous bookshop might have lost its charm. Not so...it was jam-packed with books - stuffed into every nook and cranny - and book lovers! Upstairs there is a reading area - more like a library really as the four or so tiny rooms are also jammed with books, but these are not for sale. It would be great to sit and read for a while, as a few were doing...one day!
By the way, close by Shakespeare and Company is Parc René Viviani
– it would make a great picnic spot with its brilliant view of the Notre Dame. The park contains stonework and statuary removed from
On the Batobus
Notre Dame in the distance
the Notre Dame
during the 19th
century renovation as well as Paris’ oldest living tree (described as a ‘false Acacia’), dating from 1680.
We had a great dinner (at Bistro 1, in rue de l’Ecole de Médecine
) before heading over to Le Sainte Chapelle
on the Île de la Cité
for a concert, courtesy of our good friend, Jeanne. We saw the Quatuor Les Solistes Français
string quartet perform pieces by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Borodine and Dvorak. It was an amazing experience. Sainte Chapelle
is one of our favourite places in Paris and it makes a perfect setting for this type of live classical performance.
Thankfully, the rain had cleared so we were able to have a very pleasant stroll back to the apartment.
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