Our meeting point was this lovely square ringed with chestnut trees - just look at that sky too!
This was the ceiling of the porch - is that the right word? - as we entered the church - isn't it amazing all done in carved stonework?
Here is the church of St Germain-des-pres so called as when it was built it was in fact in the fields outside Paris rather like our own St Martins in the Fields! It is the oldest church in Paris having originally been built in 542 to house holy relics it then became a powerful Benectine Abbey rebuilt in the 11th century and although much of it was destroyed by fire in the 17th century it was restored in the 19th. It houses the tomb of the philosopher Descartes.
Another of the little secret hidden courtyards I love.
We had lunch here having finished our tour of St Germain - this is a famous restaurant which was much favoured by the Bohemian and literary circles in the 1920s. Much of this morning's tour included houses and hotels, bars and studios used by the literary circle including Oscar Wilde, Hemingway and so on. I must admit I can't remember too much about the various authors and their shenanigans and am not familiar with many of the books which were mentioned either so can't give you much information on this side of things.
The afternoon was free to do as we wished and having had our lunch we wandered round the area some more and came across this window display for the famous Laduree macaroons - it also had a salon du the (tea shop) and we resolved to return later and try it out but in fact we ended up further away and never did get back to it. I thought the window dressing fabulous - cup cakes eat your heart out eh?!!
Back by the Seine...
...looking very different in the sunshine. We did think of going to look round Notre Dame but in the end we decided we were too hot and footsore and so we took the Metro to Gare d'Austerlitz where we crossed the road to the Jardins des Plantes.
This proved to be a welcome oasis of greenery with seats under the trees where we sat and rested a while enjoying the sound of birdsong.
The gardens had an ecological area and I loved this little hotel a abeilles - hotel for bees. Not sure how many bees were actually in residence but it shows willing anyway! There was also a restaurant where we sat on a vine covered terrace and had a drink whilst being amused by some cheeky little sparrows who were doing a good clean up operation under the tables. Very relaxing it all was too and then we took the Metro back to our hotel where we had a quiet hour lying on the bed reading with the window wide open and a view of the Eiffel Tower (well let's be honest here it was just the very top of the Eiffel Tower seen between the chimney tops - we were on the 5th floor!) before getting ready to go and find a restaurant for dinner.
We visited the church of St Eustache - a lovely church with stained glass windows and beautiful wall paintings. There was a young man playing the organ obviously practising for something or another and the music was a beautiful accompaniment to our tour round. The church is often used for musical concerts of one sort or another and it was here that Berlioz first performed his Te Deum in 1855 and Litz his Messe Solenelle in 1866 and today there are organ recitals during June and July - darn too late again!!
The actual market halls which were made of metal and glass were destroyed when the market moved out of town although just in the nick of time a couple of the buildings were saved and dismantled and can be seen elsewhere in the world (can't remember exactly where I am afraid!) On part of the site a new shopping mall has been built which is apparently the cause of much discussion as many think it is ugly and inappropriate.
Inside the Bourse de Commerce which I suppose we would call the Chamber of Commerce are offices and this wonderful cupola ceiling with a painting which goes all the way round showing goods coming to the market from all over the world.
I leave you with a photo which certainly raised a smile or two amongst our group. Anyone who has ever seen French parking will understand why this Mini has a bumper tied to the back!