Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oct 15, Part 20 - St. Germain des Pres and home

It was getting dark when we left St. Sulpice (last post), and I didn't take any more pictures for a few blocks until we came to the end of Rue de Rennes and intersected the Blvd Saint-Germain. Here was the famous Cafe de Flore, and on an opposite corner Les Deux Magots, both very famous, especially as being the hangout of the Existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Bouvoir. So I had to take a couple of photos. Those two weren't the only ones who made the location and the cafes famous. There was quite a list. Hemmingway and many others gathered here, or sat and wrote in the cafes and such. At that time, they chose the area because it was cheap, but of course that all changed. Similarly, the artists and writers had earlier chosen Montmartre for the same reason, and look what happened. Wherever the artists and writers are hanging out now, it's sure to be less than posh until it's thoroughly "discovered." Then they move along.

Opposite the cafes is the towering Church of St. Germain des Pres, below.

There is one huge tower at the west end. It's not as beautiful as many of the other churches of Paris, but it's imposing. I remember it being rather plain inside when I'd been there before, but we didn't go in this time. We were tired and hungry.

Here we begin walking down the Blvd. St. German, which will take us right past our hotel, although it will be a good walk, even from here. The atmosphere had changed again. It was still exciting. There were more trees, more people looking for evening entertainment.

This is the south side of the church.

The Rue de Bucy was lined with restaurants and looked promising. And it looked promising to a whole lot of other tourists as well. We passed the first few restaurants and went into a fish place. It was like a steam bath inside even though it was almost cold on the street. When we hesitated and left, the Maitre d' said he had another place a little further along, so we followed him. It was much quieter and not baking hot. We had what amounted to their fixed price menu. It was nice to rest and enjoy the relative quiet. The company was good, but the food was average and made us both feel bloated. Actually, some of it tasted alright, but it had a lot of salt or something. Recommendation: forget the fixed price food and just order. It's a little more expensive, but it may be worth it. Or maybe it was the quality of the restaurant. Anyway, neither of us had felt so bloated since we began the trip.

Relaxing, tired dinner dinner.

End of the meal.

End of the day. Wow, was it nice to undo the buttons and lie down! Our room at the Hotel de Notre Dame was small but comfortable. The wood beams on the ceiling are probably part of the original Medieval structure. They had certainly not made allowances for the space that we modern people like to stretch out in. Everything was small, but it worked and was clean. But what did we expect? It's part of the charm. It's Paris. If we'd wanted to stay at the Holiday Inn, we would have booked it. Or stayed home.

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