Paris – Deuxième Journée

3 June 2010

We didn’t do much better at getting up this morning, in fact we were, if anything, even worse and didn’t get out of the flat until quite late. It was very sunny and swelteringly hot by the time we got out as well, which made the whole process even more miserable as we tramped the streets in search of breakfast via a brief stop in the Palais Royale so that the boys could have a little dance together.

Had a bit of a diversion and went to Monoprix on the Avenue de l’Opéra, which I think is my favourite shop in the world. Actually ANY Monoprix is my favourite shop in the whole world. I’m in love with their cheap but gorgeously French bath products and interesting food, especially the violette et figue and petale de rose jams. I was there to buy pants and a toothbrush though, alas.

We think that Felix is going to run away to Paris when he is eighteen and spend his summer spraying himself silver and standing on columns for money.

Boulevard de l’Opéra, which we know and love oh so well.

After this we wandered to the Madeleine, which seems to be a favourite lunching spot for everyone in Paris. I loved the rows of flowers that sat on the steps leading up to the church. It was much gloomier inside than I had anticipated but still very lovely and very austere.

It’s a short stroll from the Madeleine to the Chapelle Expiatoire on the Rue Pasquier, which is a very small but lovely chapel that marks the spot where Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI’s bodies were found after the restoration of the monarchy in France. The small park that surrounds it is also a favourite spot to have a lunch!

I had been there once before, when I was writing my dissertation about representations of Marie Antoinette before, during and after the Terror. What, you aren’t really surprised that that is what I decided to write my dissertation about are you? I remember going there with my camera and taking photos of the beautiful statues of the unfortunate King and Queen.

After this it was time for lunch, which we ate in the gardens of the Palais Royale, which is one of my favourite spots in all Paris. You can really tell why everyone flocked there during the eighteenth century, even if it a lot more quiet and sedate these days than it was back then.

Felix with a giant bottle of milk – it was so thick and creamy and my poor semi skimmed drinking, deprived children guzzled it down. Note also that Felix is accidentally wearing a pair of Oscar’s trousers here as we thought they were his shorts. Hm.

After this we attempted to get a Metro to the Marais but there was some sort of accident on the line so we had to abandon this folly and instead walk across to the Conciergerie, which I have been to several times before (like everywhere else in Paris it would seem). This time, however, I had Felix with me to look impatiently at the cells and ask loudly what the point of it all is. I find it incredibly moving though to stand where so many people that I am interested in must have stood and pace the Ladies’ Courtyard just as they must have done.

Gothic archways. It really is a hugely impressive structure.

The ladies’ courtyard where the female prisoners, such as Lucile Desmoulins, Madame Roland and the Princess de Monaco could stroll in the afternoons.

Oh look, it’s me again.

Felix admiring the trough where the prisoners could wash their clothes.

We then had a brief stop so that Oscar and I could have something to eat by Notre Dame, which is an excellent place to eat a late lunch.

Oscar tucking into a sandwich au jambon et fromage.

The view from where we had our lunch. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Such a beautiful day and yet, typically we complained and grizzled our way through it…

Time for another boat trip! This one was much shorter and therefore less annoying for all concerned!

The Hôtel de Ville!

We disembarked by the Hotel de Ville and walked to the Pompidou Centre, which was perplexing as ever. I seem to recall a trip there with my sixth form French class, but remain convinced that I’ve never actually seen any art in there.

We went from there to Les Halles via a sit down beside the Fountaine des Innocents, where Dave caught someone trying to steal his wallet and had to chase them away. Thankfully Les Halles itself was a lot less eventful, although FNAC closed and we all got chucked out just as I was a quarter of a way through the book that I want Dave to buy me as a souvenir of this holiday. HINT HINT.

They are filming by the Louvre at the moment – it all looks very exciting with lots of trucks and people and a huge crane and all sorts of fuss!

Crepes for dinner tonight and am now drinking red wine as I contemplate tomorrow’s adventures.

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