Bonjour a tous nos amis,
Having received several letters from our readers about the missed issue from yesterday, the Publisher, Editors and Staff from France Journal would like to apologize for any inconvenience or distress this may have caused. While it is true that most Parisians have abandoned the city for the month of August, our staff have bravely agreed to stay to bring to you each day musings from the City of Light. Unfortunately when we returned to our offices last night, we found the entire staff suffering from an acute case of ‘Jet Lag’. Having ordered everyone to bed for the night, we are now back and on track with a minor adjustment to the schedule. We will be sending each new issue first thing in the morning Paris time which means for our US readership you will be receiving it in time for your morning coffee.
It was a beautiful day with temperatures a little cooler than the previous day. The humidity was still high but more than comfortable. We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast in our apartment along with the view from our windows. You are see the Arc du Triumph from our window straight down the street – it is quite impressive.
First on the agenda for the day was a visit to Paris-Plages (Paris Beachs) along the Seine River. Every year since 2002, the city of Paris blocks off large sections of the Seine river banks and transforms them into a boardwalk of sorts that one might find along the coast. In all our years of visiting we have never actually experienced this amazing sight so we were quite keen to do so before it is all taken down. Usually, the banks of the Seine are crowed with cars, bikes and pedestrians all fighting for space along the its narrow cobblestone banks. However during the Paris-Plages, the roads are blocked to cars and large and quite clever vignettes—seemingly from the shores of a beautiful beach resort—are erected. From palm trees and sandy shores to games and night clubs complete with disco balls, there is everything one can imagine and more along the shore. You can get a chair massage while watching the river flow by, which Mitch decided to try out. He said it was quite good having fixed a little crook in his neck. There are sections for dance lessons, we watch people learning the rumba and a little break dancing, as well as places for kids to build sand castles. You could also learn about art at the Louvre or take an art class. There were hundreds of lounge chairs and umbrellas to relax in while enjoying a drink from one of the many pubs that had also materialized to quench the thirst of the beach goers. We came upon a beautiful replica of the Eiffel Tower made completely of old steel folding chairs. It went on and on and was an experience not to be missed if you find yourself here at this time of year. There was also a very interesting toilet. The French just have different sensibilities when it comes to using the toilet.
After the beach we met our friend Amelie who decided to show us the Gay Marais. We mentioned to her that we had been to the Marais several times in the past but never saw any ‘gays’. She laughed and suggested that we go have a bite to eat and coffee there and explore. Turns our where we had been going was not at all the gay section of the Marais – go figure. Once one is in the ‘gay’ section of the Marias, one knows one is in the ‘gay’ section. You only need look down (readers be warned) at the sidewalk for confirmation, or look at the police officers (woof) to know that you have arrived at La Marais. It has some beautiful buildings and streets along with some colorful characters. We found a small cafe and had a cool drink and charcuterie (we ravaged it before I had a chance to take a picture so I got a shot of what was left). Then we moved to another small cafe with one of the last original Horse Shoe Bars for expresso. As we sat people watching along the cobblestone street, the heavens opened up with a massive downpour. People ran for cover and we began to wonder how we would get home dry since we did not have our umbrellas. We decided to wait it out for a time but it just came down harder and harder. Mitch spotted a cab and jumped into the street to stop it. All three of us hopped in and off we went. Amelie got out at a Metro stop and we continued for a short while in the insane traffic that had been caused by the deluge. Finally, the skies cleared and we abandoned the cab at the Tuileries and began to walk. The gardens were teaming with flowers impeccably tended in their beds and freshly watered by the rain. As we continued on we took a few shots looking toward the Place de la Concord and Arc de triomphe. We passed along the way one of the few Paris food trucks. A little smaller than what we have in the states.
At the Invalides we found the streets lined with dozens and dozens of police cars, vans and trucks. There have been several protests here around the current middle east turmoil and the French always approach protests with overwhelming numbers of police to keep things in check. There was no violence that we saw and we felt completely safe the entire time. I don’t know what the US new media are saying – if anything – but rest assured, we are in no danger. We then made our way to one of our favorite haunts – La Terrasse in the 7th. We love to sit and have a meal and just people watch. Hours and hours can go by just watching the city go by through the large windows which were thrown open to the summer weather allowing a beautiful breeze to come in. We enjoyed a light dinner of Steak Tartare and Cheese Burger. The manager also treated us to two delightful scoops of Berthillon ice cream – the best ice-cream on the planet. After dinner we made our way home via the Eiffel Tower. We also took a picture of the sunset behind La Defense as we crossed the Champs-Élysées. It was a wonderful way to end the day. Which brings us to the close of today’s issue.
Pericles & Mitch