It’s our last full day in Paris and we’re starting to feel the strain of going places and walking long distances every day. It’s our 41st day on tour and we still have 50 more to go. So we decided that today should be a rest day with no museums or historical places or long walks planned. We just needed to catch our breath and get ready for the next part of our trip.
We didn’t head out for breakfast until 10am, much later than we usually do. Then we just started wandering down some of the streets in the part of Paris where we are staying (our hotel in Rue de Rivoli can be seen in the final photo). There were many small cafes and quite a few classy little shops as well. We’ve noticed that lots of people seem to like this part of the city, so I guess I booked the hotel in quite a good spot. It’s just a short walk to the river, Notre Dame, the Louvre, shopping precincts, the Town Hall etc.
Just a couple of streets away from our hotel we came upon the Pompidou Centre, a museum of contemporary art. We didn’t go in because we’d already decided today was a ‘No Museums’ day. But just nearby we found a hairdressing salon, so, with seven weeks of travel still ahead of us, Marg took the opportunity to have her hair cut and coloured. While she did so I wandered around and checked out the surrounding streets. I had a bit of a look inside the St Merry’s church, then walked around the corner and discovered the rather interesting Stravinsky Fountain, so I found a good spot at the edge of the pool and spent the next hour enjoying this public space. Lots of people had the same idea as me. I’ve noticed that people like to sit and watch fountains in Paris. It’s a good way to relax.
We walked back to the hotel and gathered some stuff to mail home. I’d bought some museum catalogues from D’Orsay and the Louvre, and Marg had lots of balls of wool that were adding both weight and bulk to our luggage, so we packed 7kg up and took it down to the post office at the nearby Hotel de Ville. That ought to free up a bit of space in our suitcases and make them lighter for carrying up stairs in our accommodation and stowing in tight spaces on trains. Expensive though – in the vicinity of $90 Australian for each of the two parcels we’ve mailed home so far.
On the recommendation of a good friend we got onto Google Maps and made our way to Louis XIII Square at Place des Vosges, a beautiful park, just a few blocks away, surrounded by 17th century houses. We passed an ice cream shop, took a few steps, then turned and retraced our steps. Who could resist an ice cream on a beautiful day like this. After enjoying the park, along with many other people, we walked around the square. We came across Victor Hugo’s house here, but the place was closed for renovation, and of course, it was a No Museums day, so we walked on.
We passed another huge church, St Paul’s, so we had a look inside that one too. We went down the steps to the riverbank for one last walk along the Seine, which has also proven to be a popular place for people to come and relax in Paris. And within about a hundred metres of our hotel we checked out one more church. This one was St Gervais. Although it was a so-called ‘rest day’, I still clocked up over 14,000 steps on my Fitbit, but it was good to get Marg’s hair cut and my weighty parcel sent home, so now we feel ready for the next stage of our trip. In the morning we take the train to Bordeaux.