Saturday, 12 July 2008

Paris day two

Our second day in Paris saw us attempting a philosophical discussion in a left bank cafe near the Hotel Les Invalides (the place where the rioters of 1789 seized the arms that allowed them to successfully storm the Bastille). But our topic, "What Is Love?" was quickly abandoned in favour of a few games of backgammon, which drew the conclusion that love is not getting too infuriated when your husband beats you all the time.

A short bus ride saw us in the well-to-do shopping district of St Germain, where we salivated in various specialist chocolate shops while picking up a few gifts for friends and family back in Blighty.

We strolled back over the Seine and checked out the Stravinsky Fountain, whose various attractions inspired by the composer are now badly in need of retouching and repair. The Michael Jackson impersonator was deservedly drawing more attention than the no doubt once splendid water features.

We took ourselves past the Pompidou Centre and found a cheapish bar (by Parisian standards, anyway) for an apero or two, then took the Metro to find a vegetarian restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet. The friendly dykes having a smoke outside the lesbian pub next door informed us it had been closed for some time.

Nothing daunted, we got back on the metro and aimed for the Indian quarter just off the Strasbourg Boulevard. We had a very tasty and well-priced three-courser (complete with free glasses of kir) in the Passage de Pondicherry, which kind of reminded us of eating in St Nicholas Market in Bristol. It's a covered arcade and is buzzing with shops and restaurants from India, Pakistan and Bangladsh, not to mention a colourful and cosmopolitan stream of passers-by.

Our next plan, to see the Trocadero Gardens illuminated by night was thwarted by them being closed, but it did afford an excellent view of the Tour Eiffel and the giant stage being set up in its shadow ready for the Celine Dion concert taking place to mark the glorious quatorze in a few days time.

Our trip back on the metro was marked by a lively puppet show by some in-carriage buskers, a welcome change from the backing-track accordianists, bad guitarists and worse singers we'd thus far endured. We chucked them a few cents by way of thanks.

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