Postcard from Paris: Paris had its own ideas

11 May

11 May 2019.

A two-hour delay followed by a complete cancellation of our train from Bayeux set the stage for the Paris portion of our trip. I learned a new word in French, supprime, that is “removed” or “canceled.” <SIGH> France, why are you so petulant?

So what if we arrived two hours late? Et alors? The day is lovely, we’ll skip our plans to journey to Saint-Denis and instead enjoy the sun (we had been cold in Bayeux) and parade around the Champ de Mars to the Trocadero and back. We had three more days to execute our minimal plan. This is our 6th stay in this delightful city so there are few “must sees” only the desire to walk hand-in-hand, eat well, drink wine. Our first night’s dinner at Le P’tit Troquet was magnifique!

View from our room on the night of arrival.

Day 2: So what if it is raining? We will enjoy the Musee d’Orsay! Arriving at opening, tickets in hand, we entered with a small crowd and enjoyed almost an hour with the Impressionists on the 5th floor. Last time we were here, there were schoolchildren everywhere. This time, we were knocked to the side only a couple of times by people with selfie-sticks ensuring those at home would know they’d seen a Renoir in person.

I love Musee d’Orsay as much for its architecture as for its collection.

Rain? We walk. It is only a drizzle, like at home. It comes and goes.  Stop in a cafe for espresso and croissant. How Parisian! The Monnaie de Paris was open and uncrowded and pretty interesting, extremely well-done. Ah! Here is the sun, for five minutes. No rain! Lunch at a small place we know (after 6 visits, we have places) across from poor old Notre Dame. Lovely salads and we got to hear the owner’s tale from the “Day of the Fire.”

Poor old Notre Dame! Work is underway.

Another view of the icon.

Tres bien! It is not raining. “Let’s cross the river and walk back on the right bank,” suggests Ric. Luckily we hit the porticoes along Rue de Rivoli just before the rain comes, along with thunder and lightning, eventually a DOWNPOUR with hail. As it eases, we jump into the Metro station at Concorde. Non mais oh! A train passes by without stopping and security steps in to close the station. We are unclear but we think a manifestation or maybe just President Macron moving about. It was a holiday (VE Day). We must walk again and now it is raining in earnest. Soaking wet we arrive back at Hotel Relais Bosquet. We must have dinner close by as we already have 20,000 steps on the Fitbit! But of course, the sun comes back at 17:30 and though chilly it was not a bad evening.

Clearing at sundown, once again!

Day 3: The morning is dry, broken clouds, off to see the Basilica of Saint-Denis, right on our Metro line #8. Coffee on the piazza? Mais oui! The church is open but to our chagrin (as this is rather out-of-the-way from Central Paris), a strike has struck and one cannot visit the museum or the tombs of the kings.

We could see a few tombs from the sanctuary but I have no idea whose this is.



Basilica of Saint-Denis, resting place of French royalty.

Not to worry, we’ve meant to tour the Opera Garnier! Off we go. But today, instead of being open 10:00-13:00, it opens at 13:00 which is two hours off. Let’s walk to Canal St. Martin, then, for lunch since the weather is holding. Whoops! Here comes the steady rain. We find a store and wait awhile, losing interest in our plan for an outdoor lunch. Abort! Find a Metro. Let’s just go home and find lunch. I also find also a manicure and pedicure to pass the rainy afternoon. Once again, the evening turns nice. At least we are able to make our reservation at Les Cedres du Libnan! A fine evening for a walk and a wonderful meal with Lebanese wine.

This sums up the weather on several of our outings.

Napoleon’s Tomb at Invalides, beautiful under (finally) clearing skies at sunset.

Day 4: Now we are cooking! Today it is mostly cloudy but I need my sunglasses on our urban hike! I will write more on Project Easy Hiker soon, but when you are in Paris and have a couple of hours, the Promenade Plantee aka, La coulée verte René-Dumont is worth exploration. It hardly seemed possible we were still in Paris!

The Promenade Plantee is atop an old railroad viaduct from Bastille southeast toward Bois di Vincennes. Serene!

No rain! No umbrella! 10,000 steps on the pedometer before lunch! We won’t talk about the Metro station closure, the wrong way tram, or my leaving Ric behind at the turnstile when his ticket didn’t work. We will speak instead of glorious moules frites, divine Italian food in Paris at Il Sorrentino (Vermentino, grappa, and polpo!), and something to blog about.

These walkers had about 15 dogs between them. Some unleashed, many triple leashed. 15 dogs at 15 Euro per dog maybe 225 Euro for an hour?

It snowed last week in Liguria. At least we weren’t there!

13 Responses to “Postcard from Paris: Paris had its own ideas”

  1. jonnietootling May 12, 2019 at 14:43 #

    So what if . . . great attitude! Particularly when (a) you’re not in control and (b) you are surrounded by so many lovely options!


    • Laurel May 13, 2019 at 00:58 #

      Yes, “not in control but lovely options” I can deal with! Makes a trip quite memorable!


  2. Lori Veloski May 11, 2019 at 15:56 #

    I enjoyed reading about your adventure. I will make notes for when we get to go (someday)


    • Laurel May 12, 2019 at 00:14 #

      How nice! Be sure to plan a good long stay. Our first trip was 7 nights there and as you can tell, we still go back!


  3. Sarah Wyckoff May 11, 2019 at 12:09 #

    “I love Paris in the (rainy) springtime!” 🎶😍


    • Laurel May 12, 2019 at 00:13 #

      Yes, it is still Paris after all! Even when she’s capricious, she is lovely and we feel quite comfortable there after all these visits.


  4. Marcia Kakiuchi May 11, 2019 at 06:53 #

    I love the picture of the dogs! And on my you get a lot of steps in just walking around this magnificent city! Keep on posting. Tell us what you actually have for dinners too. I love hearing your descriptions.


    • Laurel May 12, 2019 at 00:12 #

      We do our walking to ward off the effects of baguettes, croissants, cheese, and wine! The dog walkers were quite skilled at their job and clearly knew their charges well.

      I will work on my food descriptions for you!


  5. chloe erkenbrecher May 11, 2019 at 06:44 #

    So sorry you had such wet and cold weather. Typical of France this time of year. We try to avoid arriving in France in May as there are ALWAYS strikes. Even with the strikes and rain, Paris is magical.


    • Laurel May 12, 2019 at 00:10 #

      Hi Chloe. We travel when we can. Better cool weather than hot with crowds! It was nicer the week prior to our arrival and is nicer now we’ve left. Go figure! We’ve also encountered transportation problems before in late May. SIGH. But we’ll be back anyway!


  6. Janet tabbal May 11, 2019 at 02:06 #

    Lovely writing!


    • Laurel May 12, 2019 at 00:08 #

      Awwww, thanks, Janet! It means a lot to me that you enjoyed it!



  1. Detour, or why we are in Switzerland and not Ireland | Girovaga - May 20, 2023

    […] Getting here was a two-day journey. We avoid flying when we can and so we did. Tuesday we rode on two British trains to London, then the EuroStar to Paris, where we spent one night. The next day, a French TGV Lyria took us to Basel and was followed by a series of three Swiss trains to get us to our tiny mountain village. I know some would find this nightmarish (my brother’s idea of Hell, I think) but we travel light and find it far less stressful than flying. Plus a night and a morning in Paris = a fine meal and a lovely morning walk in an elevated garden, La Coulée Verte René-Dumont, which I wrote about four years ago in this Postcard from Paris. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: