no, we’re not american…we’re just using rick steves’s paris guide and one of his recommended walks through the marais district in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements.
i’ve not told you that we start each day with a fresh baguette, croissants and coffee. we take turns going down to the local boulangerie to pick it up before getting ourselves together for the day’s trek.
we head down to the pernety metro stop and ride under the city to our starting point. in this instance it was bastille and a walk in the marais, the old jewish quarter and perhaps the last of early paris (pre haussmann) with narrow streets, leaning buildings, and tons of character. perhaps the most interesting experience today was wending our through a large crowd of students from a large trade school (mostly immigrants from africa) giving drivers a rough passage before letting them move on. there is a real mix of arabic and jewish residents (it works here….why not in the middle east?) of course this provides a great selection of ethnic restaurants, there is also a large concentration of chinese here. the marais is also the « gay » district and has many bars and clubs catering to them. a little side trip through vosges and victor hugo’s residence in the royal square (he may have written of the downtrodden – but ironically lived like a royal)
at the end of walk is the centre pompidou in glaring and whimsical contrast to this ancient district. bright colourful elements in the building and surrounding plazas.
our true objective for today though was the musee carnavalet…the museum of paris. the museum has a choronological record of paris from early development through the royal progession of elegance to the social uprising of the revolutions and the napoleonic era. the guide sez 90 minutes!! after 90 minutes we had barely touched the first floor! we’re going back tomorrow to do it justice (off with his head…rick steve’s that is:)
fatigue wins…back to the apartment for a rest and resuscitation and of course some wine.