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Published: June 24th 2017
A welcome surprise greeted me when I stepped outside at 6 AM this morning. The sweltering heat wave we've been suffering in Paris vanished mysteriously overnight, as it was a cool 60-degrees, with the high temperature for the day reaching a comfortable 75-degrees! By the time our group staggered out to the bus stop at 11:30 AM, Ashley began to complain about being chilly! What a difference a day makes.
The original plan for today was to take the #69 bus to the Louvre, but we discovered that some local bus services (including #69, of course!) were curtailed or canceled due to special events taking place at various venues around the city today and tomorrow. It seems Paris wants to show off its sporting ways in its bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games, so as an alternative we boarded a #87 bus that would take us to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, on the Left Bank, in the 6th arrondissement.
We exited the bus very close to the entrance of the Cour du Commerce Saint-André, a passageway leading to rue Saint-André des Arts and the rue de Buci. As we strolled along, it was like a trip down memory lane for Dee
and I, as we're very familiar with this area from our previous trips. After reaching the Bar du Marche, we decided to stop for lunch on its crowded outdoor terrace, and then walked toward the Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of the oldest churches in Paris.
The Saint-Germain quarter has several famous cafés, including Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, Le Procope, and the Brasserie Lipp. Today the area is overrun with tourists, and by Louis Vuitton, but In the 1940s and 1950s it was the center of the existentialist movement (associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir), and frequented by intellectuals, philosophers, actors and jazz musicians. It is also home to the École des Beaux-Arts, the famed school of fine arts, and the Musée national Eugène Delacroix, located in the former apartment and studio of painter Eugène Delacroix on the Place de Furstenberg.
We walked along rue Bonaparte to reach the river, then crossed over to the Right Bank on the Pont des Arts so Ashley could buy some souvenirs at one of the bouquinistes
she had passed a few days ago. At this point, the tour director felt the urgency of an impending "horse pee", so
we made a pit stop at Café Corona across from the Louvre, where Ashley treated us to drinks. After leaving the café we walked to the Pont Neuf, went down the stairs to the river bank, and boarded a cruise boat operated by Vedettes du Pont Neuf.
It was a perfect day for a cruise on the river, with mild temperatures and sunny, blue skies. Normally the boat cruises to the Eiffel Tower, then back around the Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité, which takes about an hour. However, the same events that plagued our bus service required the operator to eliminate the circuit of the islands today. Still, Ashley had a great view of many Paris monuments and buildings, including the Louvre, Grand Palais, Pont Alexander III, Musee d'Orsay, National Assembly (French parliament), and numerous bridges along the way. She'll get a much better view of the islands in the Seine, as well as Notre-Dame cathedral, when we visit them tomorrow.
After the cruise finished we caught a #69 bus on rue de Rivoli, so we presumed the line was back in business. Wrong! About halfway to our destination, the bus driver made everyone get off
The Café Procope, in rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, 6th arrondissement, is called the oldest restaurant of Paris in continuous operation.
the bus at one of its scheduled stops. Although we could not understand the driver's explanation, it soon became obvious that traffic was blocked in and around Les Invalides esplanade in order to accommodate a soccer venue associated with the aforementioned "Olympic" events. With no other option, we began walking along rue Saint-Dominique to reach Les Invalides, finally reaching rue Cler after 30 minutes. By this time it was after 8 PM, so we decided to have dinner at the Café Central before heading home.
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