Today was a day of relaxed roaming with Steve’s mum and dad. We just plodded along, happily roaming the streets and going where the mood or corners took us. We actually began the day on another “trouser safari” as we attempted to find a pair of strides for Steve. We discovered a camping store, which had several sections to it…a ski section, abseiling section, swimming, accessories, camping, diving..the list went on. The thing was though, these sections were not located in the one store, they were in fact spread about at different locations in different stores! So when we found the first one, we thought great, we’ve found the store, we can shop for trousers, only to be met on entry with all manner of ropes and clamps and clips and no trousers! We were in the abseiling section and that’s all that part of the store sold. Off we went…walking the streets and went to about six different locations (all still the same store) but the departments were spread all about the place in different locations! Anyway, long story short, we eventually found the clothing department but again, no success on the trouser expedition. Just as I have the problem with trousers being a foot too long when I want to buy them off the rack, Steve has the problem of them being a teeny bit too short off the rack! We had a nice stroll around the streets though!
We continued roaming and ended up at Notre Dame again. There was a huge marquee set up beside the cathedral for the Fair au Pain – a fair dedicated to bread! We strolled through to have a look and there must have been a baking competition as part of it, because the word “baguette” was being spoken often by the announcer and prizes were being awarded. The smell inside that tent was mouth watering! We continued strolling and just taking in the surroundings of Paris, with no plans, just strolling merrily.
We decided to return to the Arc de Triomphe and climb to the top. We headed up the spiral staircase and the few hundred steps that needed to be tackled to get to the top, which was a nice little bit of exercise for the legs.
It was a grey day, but we had spectacular views across the city and down to the street below. I had wanted to see all the traffic doing its mad thing around the Arc but didn’t get the chance because: 1) It was a public holiday for VE Day, so the traffic was quite light and not too frantic at all. 2) I was too short to see the street anyway! Darn that extra few centimetres that I lack! Through the railings I could look down on the stone top of the Arc, but didn’t quite have the height to see all the cars below. Oh for the want of stilts, Cuban heeled boots, an orange box, a pogo stick…It was still great to be able to look across the city and also to read some of the story of the Arc and how it came to be. It was another of Napoleon’s ideas. After the Battle of Austerlitz in 1806 he declared to his soldiers, “You will march home through arches of victory.”So Napoleon had the arch built as a monument. He had wanted it built on the site of the Bastille, which is the side of Paris that his armies would be returning from the war, but the current location was deemed more appropriate. So there it is and there we were! We also saw the changing of the guard, which was in place for the VE Day commemorations, which unfortunately we had missed.
When we were up the top, Steve looked across at Defense, the quite modern area of Paris and saw the Grand Arch. He promptly suggested a walk to the Grand Arch, as this was an area he had wanted to see. So we began to walk in that direction, toward the huge, angular arch. We walked…and walked…and walked…
…and walked…and walked…! It didn’t seem to be getting any closer and if it was I’m sure it was just an optical allusion! What seems like just a short stroll from high atop the Arc de Triomphe, does in fact turn out to be quite a hike when actually attempting it from street level! When we had got a little closer, Steve said in a somewhat weary tone, “Will we walk all the way, or is this far enough?” Honestly! The audacity of the fellow! “This is your gig!” I quickly replied, “we’re following you.” To which Pauline added, “We’re going the whole way and touching it!” Well said! Steve had started us on this monumental plod, so we were darn well going to finish and since it was the Big Fella’s suggestion in the first place, he was going to darn well lead the plod!!
We did eventually make it! We walked around the large public square in front of the Grand Arch and the sun had come out and warmed things up, so that was nice too. Needless to say we didn’t walk back! We took the Metro.
So we had a lovely day of simply roaming and chatting and seeing some places together and it’s been really nice for Steve to have that time with his mum and dad, just spending time together. Our time in Paris is almost at an end though. Sigh…We must return sometime, it’s a city we have really loved and there’s obviously so much more we could see and do. Maybe we will, maybe we’ll be here again. Before then though, I really must find myself some hot pants and thigh boots!