01.05.2009 - 01.05.2009
Jardin du Luxembourg
Our warmest day yet in Paris (or Eurpoe, for that matter). We were greeted upon arrival at Jardin du Luxembourg by hordes of police, and around the corner, thousands of marching unionists in May Day 'celebrations'. Sumathi and I remarked that on such a nice day back home, people would definately not be using their day off to march - we'd probably be at the beach, in the pool or at a bbq (or all of the above!)
Luxembourg gardens, that famous Parisian park, more than 500 years old, once open only to royals; home to the octagonal lake upon which children (young and old) sail tiny boats; countless games of bouilles, chess, football; and where Parisians generally flock to for some peaceful reading time, snoozing time, jogging time or entertaining time. Our packed picnic lunch hit the spot once more and was really nice to feel the culture and see the 'beautiful people'.
Our first experience of controlling vehicles on the right side of the road - came today although the experience was.. by push bike!
Paris has loads of bicycles stands which are credit card operated, and for about one euro you can obtain one day hiring rights. We picked ours up just outside the park and made our way through the Left Bank, winding around the marching socialists, around the Pantheon avoiding one way streets, and across the Seine to the famous Notre Dame cathedral.
Notre Dame de Paris
It seems the masses have descended on Paris for the long weekend, and the queues at Notre Dame proved as much. Surprisingly though, the line moved swiftly and we had a look inside, with its tall stained glass windows and ancient interior. Hard to comprehend that the building is nearly 900 years old. The identity the landmark shares with Paris and France is such that distances are measured as distance from Notre Dame.
Île de la Cité
Warm day, public holiday friday - Paris' most popular ice creamery was teeming with people, with a line to match the one at Notre Dame. Except it wasn't moving as fast! The wait was well worth it, with the 'Salted Butter Caramel' proving an unexpected hit.
Last eve in Paris
Spent the last evening in Paris back in the same place as the first. Initial plans to see Montmartre at night hit a snag, after alighting to find it looking more Kings Cross than Kirribilli. We made our way back to find our crepe stand from night one (Ed: The best! Mich's Sandwiches - near the fountain of St Michel), and walked the streets, crepes in hand, sorry to leave but sure to return.