Circumstances found us in Paris on Bastille Day with not a lot to do and no desire to face an ill disciplined horde
armed with selfie sticks in the middle of the city. So, after a leisurely breakfast on Rue Cler we ambled off in the general direction of the Bois du Boulogne.
We angled towards the base of le Champ de Mars and there, directly in front of l’Ecole Militaire was a monument.
It was fenced off, the ground around it was over grown with weeds and scattered with litter. A closer inspection suggested it was a monument for peace as the word was written in several different languages (32) and alphabets (13). Later research revealed it was indeed a monument for peace. It seemed to fit, in these times, that peace should have to bear such neglect however, again, later research disclosed that the monument was only supposed to be in place for a few weeks but was still standing after 15 years. It had been abused, defiled, hated and numerous attempts have been made to have it torn down but still it stands. Perhaps that too is fitting.
After ambling around the Eiffel Tower we crossed the Seine but had to walk around the Trocadero. It had been closed off in preparation for the firework celebration that evening. We walked along some very quiet streets gazing at the buildings, reading the signs on the consulates and embassies along the way until eventually we came to the edge of the Bois du Boulogne.
We found the park filled with joggers and walkers
and the tranquility was only occasionally disturbed by the military flyovers forming part of the day’s celebrations.
Along the way we met a young coot intently drawing circles in the water. We watched his artwork for quite a while but eventually the heat of the day got the better of us and we sauntered off to find refreshment. By and by we found a cafe and sat down for a coffee. A few tables away a middle aged couple were seriously engaged in what could only be described as face sucking. We decided that may well be married but probably not to each other. Anyway it wasn’t the sort of cabaret to enjoy with lunch so once again we took to the road.
Some while later deep in the south western corner of the city we found a Persian restaurant and settled in for lunch. Refreshed and revitalised we set off to explore a section on the city neither of us had ever visited. All was calm and we ambled across a lovely park. People were picnicking, playing, reading, sleeping, sun bathing and generally idling the day away.
From there we headed towards St Germain where we did our best to try to enjoy an outrageously priced soft drink each and from there we headed towards Gare du Nord and the train to Brussels. Mercifully the crowds had started to dissipate and the walk only took us twice as long as it should have. By the time we’d reached the station we reckoned we covered 15 – 20 kilometres on foot over the course of the day and deserved a small reward.