May-time Saturday in Paris

Out and about à pied. We started off ascending to the Promenade Plantee, beautifully green and above the hustle and bustle of the busy weekend streets of the 12e. The path followed the old raised railway line, before descending and petering out in the streets around the disused Gare de Reuilly.

We navigated ourselves towards Bercy and the Seine, with the centreville to our right, cement towers and factories to our right, and a restored fireship on the water down below. We crossed to the Tres Grand Bibliotheque with its amazing sunken pine forest and four sky scraping towers, and an outdoors sculpture exhibition. Onwards, past the Gare d’Austerlitz, around the Jardin des Plantes (in search of a loo, in vain) ending up at one of my favourite Paris sites/sights – l’Institut du Monde Arabe, with its fantastic diaphragmes and roof top terrace views.

Further along the rive-gauche, we tracked down the Shakespeare and Co, one of the english bookshops, and after a mooch around there (Phil) and a sit in the sun (me), we headed onwards through the latin quarter to the other english language bookshop, (the San Fransisco bookshop I think it was called) around rue Danton which offered peace and tranquility after the hustle and bustle of Blvd Saint-Michel.

Sunshine and hunger pangs dictated that we resume our stroll with the intention of locating a pique nique prior to arriving at the Jardin de Luxembourg…. which we managed, albeit after detouring around in search of sustenance and to use the 40cent self-cleaning-loos.

Camembert and tomato sandwiches, plus half a flan each pepped us up (as did the jolie fleur from Phil – i was in tearful mood that day, goodness only know why) and provided the energy and incentive to fend off the pigeons and to indulge in some people-(and dust-bathing sparrow-) watching before upping sticks and setting off again.

Plan A, to catch a bus back to base, was foiled by the one way system, and plan B, to find a film in V.O. somewhere in town, was foiled by lack of anything on which we felt the urge to see which hadn’t already started. And that was having bought and perused PariScope (I’d forgotten it existed) sitting on a wall in the square outside the Hotel de Ville.

So we ended up sauntering back via Place des Vosges and Bastille, winding up at Hotel Trianon footsore and thirsty, and a touch pink due to the sunny day.

Forty winks later we ventured out in search of a meal, opting for restaurant Byzance, another boulevard diderot restaurant, offering Gastronomie de Grece et de Turquie. We had to return to the hotel via the scenic route to ease our overstuffed stomachs having indulged in the 19euro prix fixe menu. Oof!