The Left Bank of Paris is a little like home to us. It’s the first place we stayed in 2006 and again in 2007, we rented an apartment for a week in St Andre des Arts closer to the Seine off Boulevard St Michel. It was a loft style apartment with the sleeping quarters above the living area.
These two street signs give us a feeling of a second home. A bit touristy but close to everything.
Many signs of Roman settlement still stand in Paris, mainly on the Left Bank. Last year we visited the remains of a Roman arena, now a small park. Also in the Sorbonne are the remains of Roman baths.
I posted these on my "leapingleapingleonsfrenchfancies" blog on a previous visit.
But I digress, the reason for returning to the Left Bank was for Sue to buy some English language books and unknown to me at the time was to buy a very, very expensive handbag. Walking up Boulevard Saint Michel to Boulevard Saint Germain, the heavens opened once again and it was up with the brollies. The Boulevard also has a couple of great shops with both second hand and special priced CD shops and the rain was my excuse to pop in. I can spend hours checking out CD shops, hence there are five French artist Cds in my luggage to enjoy when I get home.
One of the book shops I really did want to see (and I will return to before going home) was Shakespeare and Co. It has a rich history of selling English language books in Paris since the early 1900s. It sits in the shadows of Notre Dame at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie and has its own website. If you like literature go to http://www.shakespeareandcompany.com/
You could spend hours discovering the most obscure English language books in its narrow, winding hallways of bookshelves.
It was time to consider lunch and so we walked through the narrow meandering streets of the 5e to discover the enchanting church of Saint Severin. Although we knew of its existence on previous visits, we’d never actually found it. The leadlight windows, the ceiling architecture and the fact that it was established in the 15 century made it all the more interesting. It is believed it was built on the foundations of the earlier chapel of the hermit Severin where it takes it's name. My Paris book tells me it was also built on an earlier burial ground.
As we walked away from the church we located a street full of comic book shops.
No wonder this bike is chained to the down-pipe. It is a true classic English Raleigh and fully chromed. The saddle for those who know is a vintage leather Brooks. Very nice.
Not an uncommon sight in Paris is the unbelievable amount of cigarette buts littering the streets, however there is very little doggie poo visible these days.
We arrived home safely to live another day.
Sunday - a quiet day with a ride in the arvo and Lapin for dinner.
Most things were closed, the streets were quiet generally and the weather started clearing. We decided to check out a museum not far up the road dealing with "Inventors and the progress of unique scientific and technical heritage".
The most interesting section for me was in the restored chapel. On display were early Aero and Auto inventions against a backdrop of the early chapel.
Last year we passed by one of these windmills in the Loire, but didn't quite understand how it all worked. Note the four legs at the base, they of course stay in place while the actual windmill would swivel on the base to take advantage of the wind regardless of direction.
Oh no, not another bike - I heard that, but this is special. Rims and sections of the frame are made of wood with metal connecting pieces. Just a great piece of Velo d'Art, don't you think?
Quite an amazing display of Aero and Auto inventions of the past. Man has always dreamt of flying. Other examples in this museum showed that some failed.
This machine was a cross between Aero and Auto. It had an Aero motor, yet a very racing car body of the era. Note the back wheel on the right. Both back wheels were covered in for the effect of cutting down wind turbulance - nothin is new, cyclists use disc wheels for the same advantage today.
Food and Wine of the day
Beautiful Bunny for dinner, Sue purchased a fresh "Lapin" from our local Boucherie.
And me, I'm in charge of wine - check these 1/2 bottles for approx AUS$7.00 each. Vintage 2005 and 2006. Bordeaux wines are more to the taste of Australians, where the middle bottle is from Provence, south of France and is lighter, bit like a Pinot. The Buzet comes from middle France in the Lot district.
The main training area for Parisienne cyclists use the parklands of Vincennes, about 10 kms from inner Paris. As you ride towards the parklands you pass by Vincennes Castle. Tomorrow's blog takes us there.