Day 5 Sun 18
It had been raining a bit last night whilst we walked home from dinner. This was a good thing though as we were hoping it might curb the St Patricks Day celebrations from the Irish pub below our apartment. I woke several times during the night and the early hours of the morning and realised that the rain must have stopped though; they rallied long and hard down at the pub!
The morning was again grey and cool but we headed out on a walk just the same. An older couple stopped us as we approached our apartment asking for some guidance but we replied that we didn’t speak French. They laughed and replied that they didn’t either! It turns out that they were Irish and that we were able to help them after all, they needed to find the entry to the metro. They chatted to us about the thrashing the Irish got against the English in the rugby last night. So, obviously, the noise that had kept me awake was due to people drowning there sorrows!
Our afternoon was going to be spent at the Louvre. My suggestion for the morning though was to attend 10.30 Mass back at St Sulpice and then listen to the following organ recital. Marks plan was to go to rue Cler markets though. Mark won and so it was off to the markets for us.
The rue Cler markets aren’t as big as we had expected nor were they as big as our favourite rue Mouffetard markets but they had all of the stalls we wanted and needed. We wanted to buy supplies for dinner as well as some more wine; this would be our last ‘at home’ dinner. These meals were generally the tastiest and healthiest options for us except for the fact that we would then follow this up with an evening walk out to buy some gelato!
We finished off our trip to the markets with a coffee stop at one of the side walk cafes. This was a great opportunity to watch the mostly local folk go about their Sunday morning routine of catching up with friends over a coffee and shopping.
Our guide Brad, from the other day, had told us how the Saint Germain area is considered the home of French intellectual thought due to its long tradition of housing book publishers, printers and small independent book sellers. To this day you will still find small book shops and you won’t find the likes of a ‘Borders’ or ‘Angus and Robertson’ here. Brad also advised us that The French have a strong commitment to ‘book culture’ and still support these small shops rather than the larger, or online, suppliers such as Amazon. As well as this, he noted, that the French still prefer reading hard copy books. We had noted, whilst riding around on the metro all week, that most people when reading, young and old, do have their heads stuck in the traditional hard copy book. By comparison, when riding around the metro in London though, you will find most people reading e- readers. This was just one small difference between the two cultures but an interesting one, none the less.
We ambled home and dropped our supplies back at the apartment and also sampled some of the fruit we had bought at the markets. Then, with our mobiles loaded with Rick Steve’s walking guide of the Louvre, we headed over the Seine for an afternoon at the Louvre. The Steve’s guide was an excellent way to have some meaningful engagement with a selection of the art in this vast Museum and we spent about 2 and a half hours following his walk clear and concise explanations and instructions.
It was 4pm by the time we emerged so we headed back to the St Germain area to wander the streets for a bit. Mark bought three nice shirts and we bought some more bread to go with our cheese plate for dinner. We were fairly tired by this stage so we headed home to open the bottle of red, finish the cheese plate and to have dinner, a la rue Cler. Our evening meal was a sumptuous feast of roast chicken, steamed broccoli, vegetable gratin and warm lentil salad. All of this for, including a beautiful red wine, for under 20 euros. Now, I challenge you, show me any restaurant or cafe in Paris where you can dine as well for a similar cost!