hotel as we had done last year but this time we paid a little extra for a "Superior Room overlooking the Garden" and it turned out to be a lot quieter than our roadside one of last year with no early morning dustcarts nor late night pedestrians passing by! "Overlooking the Garden" was true although the garden in question was a small paved area with plants. and we were on the third floor so to see it one had to open the window and lean out! Still we weren't there for the view.
After an early night when neither of us slept too well, as is often the case in a different bed I find, we rose in time for breakfast (the hour difference in time meant that although at home we are usually awake by 6.30 ish it was nearly 8.00 this morning!) and having eaten we set off to do a walk we had discovered in the area called Buttes de Bergere which is situated on a hill with lovely views across to the Sacre Coeur - pity about the crane eh?! Of course being high enough up to get distant views comes at a price and that price is steps - we must have climbed hundreds of them during our stay and I am of the opinion that the reason why French women don't get fat - if indeed that is true - is because they climb so many steps every day!
We looked down, rather than across to Sacre Coeur, on a little vineyard planted on the steep slopes
Now we made our way back down to the main street noticing the lovely houses we passed. We bought ourselves a filled baguette and a drink and some fruit and made our way to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont where we sat on a seat in the sunshine people watching whilst enjoying our lunch
Parc Buttes du Chaumont
Cool in the grotto where the waterfall tumbled down from the rocks above. Check out this web page for further details about the park.
Leaving the park we walked to Mouzaia or the American quarter - It is said that La Mouzaïa is also Called “Quartier d’Amérique” – America’s district – because the gypsum extracted from the quarry was sent to America. A legend denied by Paris, - which was a lovely area of pedestrian paths lined with little houses each with its own pretty front garden for more on this area see weblink here from which I copied the above quote. I loved this area.
By then it was 3.30 ish and the afternoon was quite hot (well hot to us being in the upper 20s!) and we decided to get the metro back to the hotel where we made ourselves a cup of tea and having drunk it we lay on the bed with the window wide open listening to the sounds of the city in the distance as we dozed.
Isles de Cite and St Louis
Having slept better we were ready for another day of exploration and with the sky blue, the sun shining and the temperature again in the upper 20s we set off after breakfast to Isle St Louis where we wanted to find a famous ice cream shop we'd heard about and to potter round the many little boutiques in this area and on to Isle de la Cite.
Hotel de Ville
Apparently the Hotel de Ville is open free to visitors but you would normally need to book in advance and it is only open on certain days and at specific times so we were lucky to be able to just join the short queue and go inside having also been able to see the garden surrounding it which is not normally open.
So much glorious artwork and painting etc but what a shame they forgot about the outside of the window frames! Maybe they didn't have any paint left after all that interior work.
Medieval Paris and the Templars
After all that culture we were glad to sit at a pavement cafe with a Croque Monsieur each and a drink before setting off to walk to the Metro station at Temple where we hoped to join a guided walk called Medieval Paris and the Templars - one of the many interesting walks organised by Paris Walks with whom we had first discovered walking and exploring Paris back here.
This is the church of St Martin des Champs which is now a museum. I have to say I can't remember the details about this one and what it had to do with the Templars but there was some connection with Burgandy as is noted in the way the roof is coloured. Sorry I can't be more specific!
We did come across this little Statue of Liberty in the area surrounding the church though - the second one we had come across having seen one last year in the Jardins du Luxemburg.
Having said goodbye to our guide we decided an ice cream would be good and set off back across the Seine to the ice cream shop but the queues were so long we decided to give up on that idea and to get the Metro back to the hotel. Just as we came up from the Metro at the stop nearest the hotel the heavens opened and we were engulfed in a thunder storm and torrential downpour. Luckily we had prudently taken our raincoats with us in spite of the sunshine earlier and we managed to find a doorway where we could get them out of our bags and put them on and wait till the rain abated sufficiently for us to make a dash for it back to the hotel!
Village de St Paul
On Sunday morning after breakfast we set off to find some milk and the makings of a picnic for our supper thinking that being Sunday we might do better to get our main meal at lunchtime. We got back with our milk - there was a mini fridge in our room in which to store it - and an English Sunday paper along with a baguette which would serve us for supper with a portion of cheese and a butter pat from the breakfast buffet and the tomatoes and fruit we had bought. We sat reading the paper over a up of tea before setting off for Village de St Paul in the Marais district which I had heard was very interesting. Maybe it was because it was a Sunday but I found it somewhat disappointing and although we did find the pretty courtyards many of the little boutiques were closed down and it was all a bit dismal. I did however stumble across a vibrant little pop up shop selling arty crafty bits where I bought a pair of paper ear-rings but even then the lady said that it was their last day.
We had lunch on Isle de Louis and hoped we might get an ice cream for dessert but yet again the queues were miles long so we passed on that.
Musee de Cluny
We set off to visit the Musee Cluny which we had visited on a guided walk last year but not actually gone inside. This was open free of charge as part of the journees du patrimoine so we saved ourselves the 8 euros each entry fee! It was an amazing place and would be well worth the entrance fee.
These may or may not be the bodies of the above but came to be headless for the same reason.
And of course the Lady and the unicorn tapestries. I hadn't realised that there were in fact 6 of them each representing a sense and the sixth one called my sole desire pictured here (photo taken from a postcard as it was impossible to get a photo without people in front!)
Leaving the Museum we were plunged back into the twenty first century and it was still hot and sunny so we walked back to the ice cream shop across the Seine on Isle de St Louis but the queues we still very long and we settled for a cup of tea in a salon de the instead before walking back to the Metro for a train back to the hotel.
Allee des Cygnes
Monday dawned bright and dry and we set off for Bir Hakein on the Metro where we planned to walk along the Allee des Cignes - path of the swans - which is a tree lined walkway along a narrow man made island, 11 metres, 36 feet, wide and 890 metres, just over half a mile, long,in the Seine. It was very peaceful being pedrestians only in spite of the sounds of traffic from the bridges at either end.
Here is the island seen from the bridge before we climbed down the steps onto it.
The tree lined walkway - the trees were labelled with their names and details.
Here is the double decker bridge which we had come across to reach the island.
... and this one laden with containers.
Looking back - the Eifel Tower.
And then here is another Statue of Liberty - the third we've seen in Paris!
This is the view she has of the Seine.
The swans after whom the island and the path are named. We wondered where they were off to in such a hurry and then....
I hope you aren't exhausted with all this and I think I willhave to take a break here as we have the Wanderer coming later today for the weekend - she is to run in the Bournemouth Marathon and Mum and Dad's taxi service will provide transport to the start and from the finish! The thought of walking 26 miles in one day seems an impossibility to me let alone running it in 4 or 5 hours - she certainly doesn't get her ability in that department from me!! I will finish the travelogue next week sometime, meantime have a good weekend.