Don’t visit Paris in June

Apparently we should have researched Paris before we came here. Or so the woman in reception insisted. She was quite rude. However, she’s right, June is the WORST time to visit unless you like crowds and heat and more crowds. This is what the lady of the house has told us in no uncertain terms. She claimed Versailles tomorrow would be like hell on earth. OK, so we never come to Paris in late June again! It’s over 30 today and there are no signs it will get any colder any time soon.

Before going on I feel it necessary to talk about our hotel staff. Apart from the obnoxious though presumably well meaning American lady of the house, there is a well bearded chap who seems to be in charge on the weekends and appears to be wearing the same clothes that his grandfather wore doing the same job. Naturally, this would be fine, if they’d ever been washed. Honestly, the stench still remains a day after he’s walked by. All weekend we were forced to hold our breath from the stairway to the breakfast room then back to the front door. I can’t really say if he’s a nice fellow or not as we could never really get close enough without seriously gagging.

The kitchen staff are all very quiet but very nice. They are all youngish black girls who speak only French. They seem to smell ok. The night time guy on the weekends is a big jovial kind of chap. The guy who I think is probably the owner, is a surly fellow (at least he was this morning) and doesn’t appear to be at all pleasant. Of course he could have just been nursing a hangover I suppose. There’s a little girl who seems to be permanently plugged into a laptop in reception. I’m not sure what that’s about but she seems to be a fixture.

So, this morning we had breakfast then started walking towards the Mouff. We walked the tiny, litter strewn streets leading, higgledy piggledy to the Metro station at Place Monge. On the way we watched a couple of pigeons enjoying a morning shower under the sprinklers around St Medard. They lifted wings up, enjoyed the spray for a bit then turned around and did the other wing. Very cute and very smart.

Pigeons enjoying the water from a sprinkler, the Mouff, Paris

The Metro dropped us at the Louvre and we joined the thronging masses at the queue for security. I bought a ticket and we ended up at the Richelieu gallery where we looked at lots of gorgeous statues. At the beginning of the Richelieu wing are two rooms lit by huge windows that constitute the roof. In the right hand one are some magnificent statues by Puget (1620 – 1694), a French sculptor who, apart from anything else, carved a wonderful St Sebastien…apparently, it’s in Italy.

We also spotted a Joan dressed in her peasant dress but with armour by her side and boots obvious beneath the hem of her skirt, who looked remarkably similar to the Joan in the Pantheon. There were a whole host of wonderful statues, some famous, some rude, others just plain fun. I love statues!

The three graces, Louvre, Paris

Just around the corner from the statues is a whole range of early Mesopotamian artefacts including some pretty impressive items covered in cuneiform writing. The small cylinders which would be rolled over wet clay or wax blocks to form a distinctive seal, were particularly impressive.

We spent an hour wandering around then decided the crowds were getting a bit thick so decided to leave them to it. We settled for a street-side café in the Opera part of town. The café was called the Café de la Commedie. The waiter we had was awful. We formulated a system whereby if your service has been terrible you are entitled to take 15% OFF your total bill as a sort of anti-tip. This would give the management something to think about. If a particular waiter was bringing in 15% less than his workmates, what could the boss think? This is GREAT feedback and should be instituted straight away. It’s all very well expecting a tip for good service but what does the public get for bad? Apart from that, don’t go here as the waiter is awful. I mean he doesn’t even speak French for Christ’s sake.

After suffering through a beer and a panini, we set off for the Place de St Germain des Pres which we figured would be a whole lot more pleasant, which it eventually was. We spent a lot of our last time in Paris around this area so felt pretty safe it would be nice. We sat in the Lipp Brasserie where a lovely waiter served us coffee and tart. Now he got a good tip!

We sat for a bit then walked along to the Metro for the short hop back to our hotel for an afternoon rest. The search was on for an air conditioned cinema which shows round the clock English films…

Dinner was enjoyed at an Indian restaurant just down on the Boulevard Port Royal opposite the cinema, which does not dub…ever. Unfortunately it is only showing French films at the moment. Dinner was lovely even if it did feel somewhat English having Indian food and beer. Staff very friendly though a bit vague at times. One young chap insisted we try a glass of digestive from his home town. It was alcoholic lychee juice. Very, very nice.

Walked back to the hotel and slept.

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