Instead of Ireland, we’re in Paris. And as an added bonus we’re free of the car! When we arrived we had 12 days before our flight to Minneapolis and a reservation for just the first three days. Would we spend all 12 days in Paris or be a little adventurous? After a little research we chose semi-adventurous: three days in Paris, four days in Normandy, then we’ll come back for five more days in Paris.
And yes, there’s never enough Paris. Food, wine, parks, museums … plenty to do while enjoying the city. Coincidentally, our three-day stay matched perfectly the El Hindi three-day stay in Paris before returning to Virginia, so we got to spend a bit more time with them. There’s not necessarily a lot new to say about Paris or a lot of new pictures to post, but it’s always beautiful. Always.
You’re not really supposed to like Paris in August. It’s hot, the Parisians have all left on holiday, and everything is closed. Our experience was quite different. The weather was just about perfect, plenty of restaurants were open, and the crowds were relatively thin. And the beach!
For years we’ve read about how Paris turns the right bank of the Seine into a beach for one month every summer but we’ve never seen it in action until now. Sure enough they close down what is usually a roadway along the river, truck in a whole bunch of sand, set out chairs and hammocks, and voilà you have a beach. Not a swimming beach, mind you; the Seine wouldn’t be so nice to swim in. But a nice sandy, lay-in-the-sun-or-shade-and-read-or-whatever beach.
I went down there one morning while Mark, Jeanne, and Leigh were touring the Pompidou Center (Paris’s fabulous modern art museum; they loved it). Initially it was unclear to me how it all worked; there were chairs set out but who did you pay? How much? Did you rent the chairs by the hour? By the day? With such a limited space and number of chairs, it seemed they could charge just about anything they wanted. Turns out it was all much simpler than that: if you saw an empty chair (or if you were early and really lucky like I was, a hammock) you took it. Stayed as long as you wanted. For free.
So there you are, for all the time we’ve spent in Paris you can still experience something new.
Our last night in Paris was something close to magical. We were staying on the Right Bank while Jeanne & Jamal were on the Left. We crossed the river to join them for dinner and while walking back the bells of Notre Dame were pealing as a procession was headed up the river and into the church to celebrate the start of the Feast of the Assumption (Mary’s assumption into heaven) which was the following day. Beautiful. Now it’s on to Normandy for a few days.