…I had the hugest grin on my face because Hubby and I were standing under the branches of a willow tree on the tip of the Square du Vert-Galant, a small public garden situated at the western end of Ile de la Cité in Paris. The weather was gloomy and grey, but who cares when you’re in Paris? Too excited to sleep in, we headed out early to explore the area near our hotel before the streets came to life, plus we wanted to find a patisserie for breakfast. Our hotel served breakfast for a price, but we thought it a little too expensive especially when buttery, sweet pastries could be had for a couple of euros.
During a walk along the Seine we found ourselves in the middle of a garden filled with sculptures, we found out that it is an open-air sculpture museum featuring more than fifty sculptures. You can find this unexpected delight along the Quai Saint-Bernard between the Pont de Sully and the Pont d’Austerlitz. I’m sorry that I don’t have any photos to share, the light created a few challenges for me so I settled for enjoying the walk sans camera.
The entire day was dedicated to exploring the 5th and 6th arrondisements, Hubby doesn’t like to fill his day with sights (unlike me) and prefers to just wander and take in the atmosphere. Regardless, I did manage to convince him that we should find the hidden roman arena, Arenes de Lutece after spending an hour or so wandering through Jardin des Plantes. This ancient arena is located not far from Place Contrascarpe and Rue Mouffetard, it was constructed in the first century AD and lay hidden until discovered in the late 1800’s. I thought it might be a nice place to sit and enjoy some lunch, Hubby was less impressed with that idea.
Lunch turned out to be another unexpected pleasure, Antonella, an Italian lady travelling solo joined our table for lunch. Antonella lives in Rome and as it was on our itinerary, she told us all about the wonderful weather they were having and that she also has family in Australia. It was great to have someone else to talk to, Hubby and I aren’t used to spending all day every day together and conversation can be hard to come by sometimes.
St-Germain-des-Pres lies next to the Latin Quarter, home to cafes such as Le Deux Magots, Cafe de Flore and Le Procope once frequented by famous historical figures as well as the Musee d’Orsay makes this area a tourist magnet. I loved wandering through the streets and narrow alleyways, not knowing where we were going and somehow ending up at the Luxembourg Gardens. The gardens were filled with people making the most of the last hours of light, it is a beautiful place to relax and to one side of the Luxembourg Palace is the much photographed Medici Fountain. Vibrant autumn colours of yellow and gold provide the perfect contrast to the dark water and shaded fountain. Soon we are chased out of the park, whistles blowing and visitors herded out the main gate.
Dinner that night was in the Latin Quarter at Le Mouffetard Bistrot, we had eaten here on a previous trip and loved the atmosphere of the Rue Mouffetard plus the service was friendly. As we walked to the bistro from the Pantheon we watched the sky sky change colour from monotone to vivid blue and pink as dusk fell. It was a spectacular sun set and bode well for good weather the following day. With a belly full of crispy, delicious duck and potatoes and red wine I slept well that night.