Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 7 of Paris

Today I wanted to visit the Ballon de Paris but I decided as I was getting dressed, that I could do something else. What was that? I hadn't a clue. So I asked the lady at the hotel's concierge what was interesting for a walking traveller who really doesn't want another crowd to spoil the visit.
The lady suggested that I visit the Place de Vosges in Bastille. She said it was a park, squared off by buildings. It is very quiet, safe and touristic. She also suggested a museum around the area that gives the history of Paris but I decided against that.
So I set off. I passed the Place de Sorbonne every time I go to the St. Michel station.

Then I pass the Place de St. Michel.

I had to turn into St. Germain which is one of my favourite streets to visit because there are so many different stores with some interesting things. First I saw a flea market and I got a pair of striped espadrilles made in France for less than half the price as everywhere else.
I saw a store on one of the street corners that is dedicated to roses. It was called Au Nom De La Rose and there were rose petals all over the store, making it smell like perfume. I had to go in.
The lady behind the counter was very nice, especially since I dropped one of her signs while looking at the product. I bought chocolate with rose petals and the shopping bag was filled with rose petals and there was a red and white speckled rose. I didn't realise how strong it would smell until I stepped into another store and it was all I could smell. It was lovely.
Along the street, I also saw Les Fondues au Chocolat that had a very pleasant salesman. He said that he mikes the chocolate himself and the ceramic pot the fondue is in keeps it in liquid form long after heating. There were a variety of flavours and I chose the dark chocolate with spices. I also tried one of the grapes and fondues he had for tasting and it was really good.
I then crossed Pont Sully

And eventually reached the Place de la Bastille.

I headed in the direction of Victor Hugo's home (or so the sign said). I'm not sure that I found it, but as I entered the Place des Vosges, I saw a sign mentioning his name. It was in French so I didn't really understand it.
The Place des Vosges was a nice park bordered by a building as the concierge lady said that had origins with Louis XIII.

The building houses restaurants, cafes, artisan stores, art galleries and a few boutiques. I sat on a park bench (in the shade) and people-watched for a while. Many people were laying on he grass in the shaded regions, some were sleeping, some on their computers and some just talking. There were children in a water fight by one of the fountains. There were lots of pigeons, but these two little guys were right in my area:

I wandered through the art galleries and marvelled at the originality of the work and then had lunch at Ma Bourgogne before setting out again.
I wandered through the streets for a while and saw a taxidermist's store before seeing signs directing me to Picasso's museum which turned out to be closed for renovation. I then headed to the Basilique de Saint-Denis. I heard and saw the name in every museum that I've been to thus far so I went to see it. I was grateful that this church was empty. I'm tired of hassling through a crowd of people (especially those tour groups OMG that have group leaders stand in FRONT of what I want to see with the crowd and speak in chinese, japanese, spanish or french).

Then I wandered the streets again towards the Cirque d'Hiver which was closed until September.

Then I passed the Place de Republique:

I did a bit of shopping and then headed back to St. Michel.
On my way to the hotel I stopped at a luggage store and picked up a new suitcase - the handle on mine broke in the Trinidad to Miami flight and the wheels refused to work when I arrived in Paris.

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