The City of Light

Thursday night we dined at L’Aller Retour near our B&B, a narrow, noisy, bustling cacophony with great simple food and drink. We felt we were getting the real Marais experience. Mostly local young folks, tattooed waitress and a bartender who would fit right in in Portland.

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Yesterday we hooked up with our musician pal Scott Clancy and Sally Wilson for a walking tour of the Bastille neighborhood with local Marie-Claire Vallet. She was funny and knowledgeable. As we walked the streets lined with 19th century Haussmann buildings she explained that among limestone houses of the elite are brick buildings built in the 1950s subsidized for lower income folks.

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We visited one of the oldest Marchés (markets) in Paris with a newly renovated 16th century roof. The individual vendors presented seafood, meat, cheese and produce.

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We ended our walking tour at Place de la Bastille where the French revolution began. Marie explained that the craftsmen of the area went on strike which was illegal in 1789. The royal guard surrounded them and, when they refused disperse, opened fire killing a couple of hundred. News spread quickly and before you know it the Bastille prison was reduced to ruble and King Louie lost his head.

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We said farewell to Marie over drinks on the square and had some lunch. Kay and I had to pick up our tickets for Musée de L’Orangerie (Monet’s water lilies) which we will visit later today. So we took the metro to the TI in the Hôtel de Ville (city hall). This is very near the Île de la Cité and Notre Dame so we walked there and then across to the left bank looking at the various book and art sellers along the river.

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After a brief break we met for a dinner of falafel at Chez Hanna before saying bon voyage to Scott and Sally. It was quite a day. We were beat and slept like babes.

 

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