Day Eighty Nine

Almost time to go home. Hard to believe. It’s our last day in Paris
tomorrow, and our last full day today.

We wake to a perfect day. The rain has been banished, the sun is
out and the sky is a perfect blue.

Max has recommended a restaurant called Frenchies and we decide
to lunch there today. It’s over in the Les Halle quarter, so the plan is
to leisurely stroll across the river, pop into Notre Dame and then
walk to the restaurant for lunch.

The Siene is a pretty pale sea green in this bright light and the river
cruises are in full swing. The river banks are coming to life with a
mixture of joggers, cyclists and the street vendors opening their
carts for the day’s trade. As we walk along, we see the queues to
the attractions about town are longer than ever. They’re a patient
lot, the French. You wouldn’t know it from their interactions in
traffic.

When we get to Notre Dame, we see that the approach to it has
changed. Notre Dame is celebrating its 850 year anniversary – its
foundation stone was laid in 1163. To celebrate, a viewing platform
has been built in front of it and strangely, it blocks the front view
from a distance. It’s still magnificent up close, and we find on
entering that the Sunday service is in progress.

The church is about three quarters full and the priest is focused on
the sermon, despite the milling visitors who don’t really seem to
appreciate the meaning of and request for silence. It’s full of incense
too – another priest swings a lit crucible as the sermon progresses.

It’s quite special to see the church in use. Imagine having such a
glorious church as your local. The stained glass and rose windows
are spectacular. What a setting for a wedding it would be.

Back on the road, we are soon in the the Les Halle quarter and
come across the Pompidou Centre. Weird looking thing it is too. A
building “turned inside out” with all its pipes and works visible,each
colour denoting what the pipe’s function is. It houses the library and
the modern art collection, and there is, of course, a queue to get in.

We’ve not been in this quarter before so we take our time
wandering about. Along our way we discover a china town and see
a wedding in progress. The bride, a tiny little Chinese girl, is
wearing heavy black stomping boots under her bridal gown. How
odd!

We finally make it to Max’s restaurant….and its closed. Can you
believe it? We find out later that its not open for lunch and not open
on Sundays at all. Ah well. Next time.

Luckily there’s a market street moments away and we find a
restaurant full of locals and end up having a great lunch there
instead. We also pick up a few treats for dinner; brie, jambon,
baguette, treats and a good bottle of red. We’re both a bit
restauranted out and both love these market streets with their
specialist stores and great produce.

After lunch and shopping we set off to find the underground shops
at Les Halle, and do, but they have closed for the day. There’s a
major redevelopment occurring above them too.

We meander home slowly after that and re-emerge on the river
bank….near the pet shops! Joy. More chipmunk bellies for me. And
pat them I do. You have to be quick though, their reflexes are super
quick. They’re really very sweet. Wish we had them at home too.

We drop our treats off home and set out for a final coffee and drink
then settle in for a quiet night. And catching up on the diary, which
takes a surprisingly long time.

Our last day tomorrow. Really hard to believe.

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