Paris, France: What a wonderful lazy day we enjoyed. Strolling our way to the Luxembourg Garden and window shopping (or the translation of today's blog title... though lèche-vitrine actually means window licking). Nothing on the agenda except late evening dinner reservations.
I think, on Day 3, we have adjusted to the time change? Used to take us two days. Getting old isn't for wimps. No hotel breakfast buffet, we just started wandering in the general direction of the Luxembourg Garden. The weather was again simply perfect. Warm and sunny... and when the sun would occasionally hide behind the clouds, it was welcome.
Just before reaching the garden is the famed Saint-Sulpice Catholic Church, built in the 1600s. The fountain in front of the church depicts four Bishops and is known as the "Four Not-Cardinal" fountain as none of the four Bishops were ever "promoted" to Cardinal.
One reason we were visiting the Luxembourg Garden today was to have breakfast at the new Mademoiselle Angelina café that has recently opened on the outskirts of the garden. Another small branch of the famed Angelina pastry and hot chocolate house that now has branches all over the world.
After our repast, we entered the garden. So beautiful and busy with small children and families - yet not crowded at all. People were playing tennis, chess, reading, picnicking, jogging, napping, people-watching or simply strolling. There is a small carousel and a large children's playground.
Luxembourg Palace sits on the north border of the park and was built in 1615 for the mother of Louis VIII. It now houses government offices. At this time, the entire right side of the building is faced with scaffolding. The building is being cleaned - the front has already been cleaned. (Just when I thought there wasn't even ONE power washer in Paris. There goes my get-rich-quick scheme. Oh, goodness, Dear Reader, is this town in need of pressure washing.)
There are wooden sail boats scurrying around in the water, powered only by the breeze. Children use long sticks to push the boats back into the lake when the vessels crash into the edge of the pond. Children running around with sticks would be a big no-no in the States, but all children left the pond today with two eyes.
One "boater" was an elderly man and his boat was a violin-type craft, complete with a teeny Ken doll "driving" via remote control. He was enjoying the admirers.
Did you know there are (at least) eight Statue of Liberty likenesses in Paris? I'm here for you, with a little help from Oliver Gee.
The northeast corner of the park (just left of the palace) holds a beautiful water feature built in 1680 by Marie Medici (widow of King Henry IV of France).
The afternoon was passing quickly and we still wanted to continue exploring the 6th Arrondissement, so we left the beautiful Luxembourg Garden and went a few block east to find the Hotel Lutecia. Dave and I stayed here with Lisa and a group of her friends and our French foreign-exchange students in 1999. History: the hotel was frequented by Nazi officers during WWII, then used as a hospital/rehab space for French soldiers. When the concentration camps were liberated, near-dead Jewish prisoners were trucked/bussed to the Lutecia where they were processed (bathed and fed as well) and put into a (hand-written) database so they could be "claimed" by their fraught relatives and friends. So interesting!
It was after one o'clock by the time we returned to our hotel area, and we were starving. There are about 1000 bistros, brasseries or cafes near our hotel, so we pointed to one and stepped inside. Le Bonaparte Cafe was a decent choice and how often can you have lunch with Napoleon?
Napoleon did not pick up the check.
Not gonna lie, I thought Smoked Salmon Toast would be smoked salmon on toast. Like an open-faced situation. Still, very delicious.
After more walking and a nice rest in our hotel room, we went for ANOTHER walk and found ourselves at Brasserie des Pres in the most adorable cobblestone alley you could imagine. The alley - Cour de Commerce Saint-Andre - is across from the busy Odeon metro stop, but transfers visitors back in time. Little cafes and bistros with tables lining the narrow pathway. No cars. (Do not wear heels!)
Sadly, again, we could not even begin to eat this much food, but we enjoyed what we could. No dessert either. Total losers. We walked back to our hotel behind the main drag and found 30 more restaurants we wanted to try.
I need to wrap this up and get to bed, friends. Big day planned for tomorrow and the alarm is set for 7a!
Until my next update, I remain your 6th Arrondissement tourist.
Pedometer: 19,000 steps.