On June 9, 2017 my iPhone health app registered 24,076 steps or 17.1km. That was 12 hours of walking in the streets of Paris.
Posted by Jennie
Paris is a mixed bag. Of course it is always beautiful but the weather, right pair of shoes, plus how welcoming or unwelcoming the locals are have a lot to do with the overall experience. The very first time I spent a substantial amount of time in Paris the weather was cold and wet. It was late May and based on the forecast, I packed for spring. Capri pants, sweaters and flats, only for the weather to turn! The temperature dropped to single digits and the rain was relentless. Suffice to say it was not a very pleasant experience.
Paris has since redeemed herself or rather I became wiser in planning and preparing for the unexpected. The beauty of being a return visitor to a city like Paris is that you don’t have to spend your days crossing off your bucket list of things to see and do. There are days when you can have absolutely no plan and just play it by ear. You can also begin your day late without feeling that you’re missing out.
We began our day at 11am at Marche des Enfants Rouges
Once the site of an orphanage back in the 16th century, it is now a colourful covered market that sells fresh produce, lovely cut flowers and cooked food. There’s Lebanese, Moroccan, Italian, Japanese and of course French. It has become quite a tourist attraction so it’s always good to come early. At 11am we were just in time to get a table. We all had mixed platters, chicken, lamb, merguez and vegetables with couscous. It was authentic as it was tasty and filling.
At 2pm we were sipping hot chocolate at Angelina’s.
For dessert we decided to walk to Angelina’s near the Louvre for their famous African hot chocolate. We made our way on foot to Angelina’s taking our time admiring the sights of Paris. Yes Angelina’s is touristy but it’s certainly pretty and so very Parisian with its faded but charming belle époque tea room. Angelina’s signature hot chocolate is rich, thick and velvety and served with fresh cream on the side. The pastries are decadent and lip smacking.
At 3pm we were reading.
Right next door to Angelina’s is Librairie Galignani. An old world bookstore that opened it’s doors in 1801, it lays claim to being the oldest bookstore on the European continent. It’s pure joy to be in Galignani’s especially since there is an extensive selection of English books. For most, the lovely Shakespeare & Co. is still Paris favourite bookstore. Quite true, but it can get quite overrun with tourists and so the experience is compromised. At Galignani’s you still get the hush you would expect in a library. There are comfortable leather chairs in hidden corners that you can curl up in and read undisturbed.
At 5pm we were buying tickets to Musee-Orangerie.
This late in the day, we were the last group allowed to enter. Musee-Orangerie is famous for housing Claude Monet’s Water Lilies which I had before today only see in books. Even with the crowds, the sheer size of the panels allow for breathing space and individual enjoyment. The twin egg shaped rooms display 8 monumental curved panels of gorgeous water lilies that envelope you with their play on light and colour. Each panel is 2 meters high and span the length of over 91 meters. From my understanding the water lilies are depicted through different times of the day. Natural light from a vestibule above bathes the area in light and immerses the viewer into a state of grace as intended by the artist. Bravo Monet, it is simply mesmerising.
Sadly, museum closes at 6pm. 1 hour is definitely not enough. Right outside is the Jardin des Tuileries. We spent some time enjoying the sun in one of the many park chairs positioned in front of several huge round fountains. This is one of the many pleasures of Paris and it’s free.
At 8pm we were hungry.
From Jardin des Tuileries we made our way to the Left Bank, crossing the lock bridge near the Louvre. The padlocks were taken out the previous year because the combined weight of thousands of padlocks would certainly damage the bridge. I heard a rumour that the locks were thrown in the Seine. True of False?
Dinner was at Petit Saint Benoit. We had eaten here before and were happy to be back. Service is always friendly and casual French bistro food was exactly what we wanted.
Look how our orders are written down on the paper placemat.
At 10pm we were almost home.
European summers always amaze me because of how late the sun sets. It was already 10pm and yet sunlight was just starting to fade. Happy with dinner and a carafe of good Bordeaux we walked leisurely back to our apartment in the 3rd arrondissement.
At 11pm we were ready to say Bonne Nuit and Merci for a long and lovely 12 hours in what is perhaps the most beautiful city in the world.