Tuesday 31 December 2013

France: Bumbling around Paris

La Musée du Louvre from the Quai Anatole FranceAnother late start due to Mrs M’s lack of sleep from coughing forced the inevitable visit to a chemist.  She was so exhausted that she decided to stay in the hotel, which left me free to wander round Paris. My intention was to visit the Musée d'Orsay, but horrendous crowds once again forced a change of plan. I crossed to the right bank and continued to the Trocadero  gardens where yet more queues snaked around three of the legs of the Eiffel Tower. This was a good time for a quick snack of a ham baguette, chips and decent coffee that were consumed under the watchful eyes of several birds that I had warned in French not to approach.

Avenue Gustave EiffelIn the late afternoon, I walked back on the left bank stopping at the Pont Royal to sketch La Frégate café. I sat on a wall next to a small junction box, which afforded some privacy from curious passers-by. One local chap however looked quite surprised after his lengthy request for directions was rebutted with a statement to the effect that I was not from these parts. Darkness put an end to my scribbles. I strolled back to the hotel to find Mrs M still in bed with Georgette Heyer. 

Street Lights - Pont Alexandre III, ParisWith expectations of closed or crowded restaurants on New Year’s Eve, we walked to La Cochonnaille for an early evening dinner. We sat in the vaulted cellar of the restaurant with around fifty locals snuggled around small tables covered with red-checked linen. We splashed out on the 26€ menu which featured cuisses de grenouille in a garlicky tomato sauce. Two piles of small bones on plates wiped clean with enormous amounts of French bread paid testament to our enjoyment of the classic French dish. Porto and cheese finished a delightful meal.
Cadenas d'amour - Pont de l'Archevêché, Paris
The streets in the Latin Quarter were packed with tourists preparing for the imminent arrival of the New Year. To avoid the crowds, we wandered around Ile Notre Dame which was theatrically lit by the lights of Paris reflecting off gathering clouds.

It is interesting to see Paris being defaced by thousands of padlocks which decorate many of the bridges on the Seine, most notably on the Pont de l'Archevêché. Even at this time of night, couples were taking selfies with messages on their ‘cadenas d'amour’. Soppy. Anyway, 2014 arrived with minimal fuss. Hoorah.

No comments: