It’s Saturday, still raining and 12 degrees, so you see my warm scarf and rain jacket are essential for comfort. Bill and I catch the Metro right through on line 12 to Pigalle where we step out into the streets of Montmatre. It’s early, too early for the Parisians at 9am, so we climb the steep steps that lead to the Basilica of Sacre- Coeur, designed by Paul Abadie. The view at the top is wonderful, even with the interruption of a film crew and a movie being made. We were asked to stop while the film making was under way.
A little later we enjoyed a cheese and ham omelette with croissant, orange juice and cafe au creme. I am glad the smokers sat outside.
After Monmatre, we caught another train, then walked to the Hop on Hop off bus to enjoy the ride on the top with a different view. There were many tourists taking photos. I glimpsed all sorts of interesting shop windows, cyclists, lovers, families, old couples, and people eating out on the streets – a smorgasbord of the fashion conscious, the beggars on the corners and the groups of tourists huddled together with their guides. You hear the police sirens, and the screeches of fast cars.
After a rest back at the hotel we walked to the Jardin de Luxembourg where we were greeted with open spaces, serenity and the beauty of well kept gardens. I was impressed with the cleanliness and the way people used the spaces to read, talk, walk and find companionship with each other. We took a photo of a bride and groom.
The gardens were created in 1612 by the widow of King Henry 1v who constructed the Palace as her residence. This was the first French garden that was influenced by the Italian baroque.
Our final meal was close to the Hotel de Saint Germain at Le Parisien where Bill ordered Confit de Canard ( duck!) and me the salmon. My favourite dessert creme caramel made me smile. The two beanstalk waiters moved at a speedy pace with poise and precision; their English was not too bad also. A tip for their excellent service made them smile.
Overall, the Paris experience has been great with unique beauty, 37 strong bridges, graceful architecture, cultural diversity, and the loud rumbling sound of the metro as it passes near the Hotel. There’s definitely a gap between the rich and poor. Bill prefers the bigger mugs of coffee in Australia compared to the tiny half filled cups in Paris. He is the map reader; I am the conversationalist. He is the leader guided by me the passenger. He is the reader, I am the writer. He loves cross words, I prefer shopping!
We both agree that even with Google maps we felt disoriented many times in Paris. Bill says it’s the pattern in the streets, confusing and haphazard. I look for the visual cues like a window display or sign. Being lost is OK when you don’t have time restraints.
Tomorrow we leave for Avignon in Provence. I am really looking forward to the contrast between city and country. Au Revoir my friends.