23 Nov 2014
A clear Sunday morning was the perfect day to do a jogging-sightseeing tour of La Seine. Our hotel is across the river from Notre Dame so from here we followed the river heading west. We wondered if we’d stick-out being dressed in our jogging gear amongst the fashionable French but we were by no means alone. Like in New York’s Central Park on a Sunday, the banks of La Seine were filled with joggers and cyclists.
Besides those out exercising, the streets felt quiet – the party people sleeping off hang-overs. We debated running down on the cobblestone path at the water level or to stay on the road level with the bridges and buildings. We followed the locals and stayed at street level.
At Pont des Arts, one of the bridges covered in padlocks that glittered in the sunlight, we stopped and climbed onto the bridge to soak in the view of the Isle de la Cite.
We were each approached separately by young girls with a clip board.
“What’s this for?” I asked her as she thrust what looked like a petition into my hands. She pointed to the top of the badly photocopied page at a ‘deaf, blind society’ logo. After writing my name, I realised that actually she wanted money. This was clearly a scam. Later upon our return we watched a pair of uniformed police moving her along.
Picking up our pace we continued west along La Seine heading for Point de la Concorde with its gold and black statues. On the opposite side of the river at Place de la Concorde in 1793 Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette where guillotined and the Revolution was born. Not a good time to be a Parisienne. But today it looks peaceful in golden and pastel light.
I was intrigued with the huge glass domed building on the opposite side of La Seine: the Grand Palais.
“Let’s keep going” David said heading back down to the running track. This part of the riverside track was busy with runners; it was contagious. And so with my running app setting our pace we continued around the bend, under Point de la Alma, until the top of the Eiffel Tower emerged rising over the amber trees. We followed the path back up to street level to get a better look at this icon.
Strange to think that it was originally designed as a temporary structure for the 1889 World Fair. It was back lite in the morning sunlight looking like a gorgeous cliché. Ah Paris, you flirt!
We’d been seduced to travel much further down stream than we had initially planned and so turned to head back. This time we crossed over at Pont Alexander III and returned on the north bank.
At Jardine Des Tuileries we climbed the stairs into the autumnal garden and headed towards the fountain with the Louvre behind. I find it amusing that the grassed areas are strictly off limits. There is an assortment of deep green garden chairs scattered under trees and around the ponds instead.
We didn’t linger as by now we were tired, and hungry having skipped breakfast. The most direct route home from here was along the river at the side of the magnificent French Renaissance building of the Louvre. We continued until Pont des Arts, past the Shakespeare book shop and through the back streets of the Latin Quatre to our hotel.
Arriving home we were exhausted, thirsty and hungry. And possibly un tout petit peu grumpy.
“Let’s not go out before breakfast again” begged Dave. I agreed “This is a holiday, not boot camp!” We had traveled further than planned. Our circuit was about 9.5k.
What we needed after plenty of water and a rest was; a delicious three course lunch (sans vino). Bouillon Racine is a beautiful Art Nuevo restaurant first opened in 1906.
I’m sure we’ve dined here each time we’ve been to Paris. I adore the interior of this place, both during the day and at night. We made a point to book a table this time, learning from our experience of yesterday, requesting the upstairs dining room.
The other advantage of booking in English: they gave us an English menu which helps enormously! We both started with the crab meat with seafood coulis; steak frittes for him and Lamb cassoulet for me. The meal was perhaps not the best we’ve had but it was enjoyable none the less.
For me this place is primarily about the ambience and reasonable food. By Dessert we went a little overboard, ordering one each. Delicious! The waddle home was rather uncomfortable, stiff and sore from our big walk/run and now full!
“Is it possible to over indulge?”