May 3 - Marais
Our 6-day museum passes expired yesterday. Today was our last day in Paris so we decided to do what Parisiennes do on the weekend - stroll and relax.
After breakfast and after going to several stores for shampoo and hair spray, we got onto Metro and rode the trains over to the Hotel de Ville station and began our walking tour of the Marais district. Our first stop was at Hotel de Sens which you see on the photo on the left. You can see from the brightness of the photo that the day was very sunny. We sat on one of the benches for our first rest of the day.
We then walked past a basketball court, of all things, and looked at the remnants of a medieval fortress and the largest remaining segment of an enormous wall that surrounded Paris. Ducking into a passageway across the street we emerged into interconnected courtyards known as the Saint-Paul Village. Its art galleries, antique shops and artisan boutiques were mostly vacant. The shoppers must have been eating bruch at nearby restaurants.
After leaving the Village, we walked to St Paul-Louis Church which was completed in 1641. Cardinal Richelieu gave the church's first mass soon after it was completed.
We left the church and found la Place du Marche Saint-Catherine, a small hidden tree-lined square surrounded by several cafés. We considered stopping for lunch but only one of the cafés was in the sunlight and it was full. Although the sun was bright, the temperature was too cold to sit outside.
Next we visited another residence, the Hotel de Sully. Walking through its two courtyards, we entered the Place des Vosges. People say that this is the most beautiful square in Paris. Covered galleries surround the square and contain upscale shops and restaurants. There is a large grassy area in the middle that was packed with picnickers. Because we had no picnic supplies, we continued on to Rue des Francs-Bourgeois.
This narrow street was crowded with shoppers, strollers and tourists. It is a major center of fashion and design. We stopped at the Hotel Carnavalet for a nature call and then headed over to Rue des Rosiers.
This rue is the main thoroughfare of the Jewish quarter. Facades have both Hebrew and French lettering. The Star of David is prominent. There are lots of Jewish and Middle Eastern cafés and restaurants. We stopped at Chez Hanna for falafel. The restaurant was elbow-to-elbow with customers. We sat in a corner behind a post. I lucked out and had a soft bench to sit on. We had good food and friendly service.
After eating we went back to the Hotel Carnavalet which is a free museum of Paris history. Among the many paintings is an exhibit centered on the French Revolution. There are models of the Bastille and some fairly good paintings of revolutionary scenes and personalities.
We were now saturated with Paris life in the past and of the present, so we got on Metro trains and came back to our hotel.
Dinner tonight was up the street at Terrasse du 7eme. We sat upstairs on very comfortable stuffed chairs and ate our meal looking out onto the street scene at Ecole Militaire. Ann had chicken on brochettes while I had veal scallopini. We split a carafe of puilly fume and a creme brulle.