As we walk out of our apartment block to greet the day it seems that Paris is obliging with some wonderful autumn weather. Chez Prune is a lot less lively this morning but still a place for locals to gather for breakfast. We walk on through the nearby streets to find a cafe which Lynette has read about.
Holybelly is a short walk away and very popular as we find when we are placed on a wait list to get in. It’s worth the short wait, as the coffee is excellent and a pancake stack interspersed with fried eggs is an interesting breakfast option which turns out to also be very tasty.
Almost opposite this co-workshop is Craft, another cafe co-working space, where young people get about their business.
Breakfast over, it’s time to try out Velib, the Paris cycle sharing system which has racks of bikes right throughout the city. Luckily, the Velib station has an option to choose English as our language so that we can use our cards to purchase a seven day pass which costs 8 Euros and provides us with a user number which we can use at any of the Velib locations throughout the city. As for the Boris Bikes in London, the first half hour is free, as the system actually aims to encourage use for short trips as opposed to tourist hire.
The cycleway is great where it exists. Sometimes, for seemingly no reason, the cycleway crosses to the other side of the road or simply disappears where cars are reverse parked across it. One way or another, we continue on to the market place just near Place de la Bastille. We’ll possibly come back tomorrow or another day when the markets are in full swing to check them out.
Along the way we can see cruise boats on the Seine with one looking particularly attractive as a jazz combo on the upper deck entertains a wedding party.
As we get closer to Notre Dame it quite predictably becomes busier, and it seems like a good time to dock the bikes and we find one of the many cafes to have a sit and relax and a quiet drink before pressing onward.
You live in a fancy apartment, on the Boulevarde Saint Michel; where you keep your Rolling Stones records, and a friend of Sacha Distel –
We’ve had to deal with a number of narrow busy streets to get here so dock the bikes and decide that the time is right for some lunch; choosing a shared platter of charcuterie and fromage in a cafe on the street, where a glimpse of the very tip of the Eiffel Tower peeks above the trees. Our server tells us that it’s about an hour’s walk away.
Back on fresh Velib bikes, we enter the Luxembourg Gardens and criss cross down through the pathways in the gardens where hundreds of people sit enjoying the sunshine and taking time out in beautiful surrounds.
The gardens date from the early 1600s and there are just so many lovely scenes throughout as people choose their own preferred way to enjoy.
While some simply sit and contemplate, others engage in card and board games and, when watching some of the people it almost seems that here are hundreds of people waiting for something to happen.
Out of the gardens and a bit of a navigational error sees us heading, instead of westward toward the Eiffel Tower, taking a detour through the Montparnasse before cycling down to the Avenue de Suffren, just near Champ de Mars and the massive Ecole Militaire.
We stop for a drink at a cafe where, for the first time we find the response is that ‘Je ne comprends pas Anglais.’ We’ve been surprised and pleased at the extent to which the people we’ve met have accommodated our poor attempts at French.
We head for the nearest Metro station to avoid getting drenched and manage to deal with the ticket machine to collect a ‘carnet’ of ten tickets, which will allow us to ride the metro.
Our trip takes us back under the Seine until we alight at Republique, where a number of lines cross and where we are close to Rue Beaurepaire and our chance to get home to the apartment before heading out later to walk to Le Fine Mousse, a Craft Beer bar, for a drink and dinner.