Walking around Paris is one of the things I enjoy most about being in this beautiful city. Today, I estimated I walked over 15 kilometres.
I may not have had a rip roaring New Years Eve but what I did have, was a wonderful, New Years Day full of lovely surprises.
Being Sunday and particularly, New Years Day with most of Paris in shut down, my plan was to take the metro to the 8th arrondissement and explore Parc Monceau.
Venturing out, on rue de Rivoli, which is normally heaving with shoppers and tourists, was quiet.
The air was pleasant, almost too warm for a coat and suddenly, I had a great idea. Walk all the way.
About the same time last year, with snow still on the ground, I gingerly walked through, Jardin Tuileries. There was barely a soul in sight. This year it seemed the whole world had descended upon it. Tourists galore, touts selling mini Eiffel Towers and berets was not the quiet stroll, I expected.
It seemed, everyone shared my great idea.
After fighting my way through Jardin Tuileries and by the time I reached Champs Elysee, I wondered if I could bare the crowds any longer.
Then I took a right turn, in the direction of Parc Monceau and I took a deep breath.
I left the chaos and entered quiet streets, where everything was closed, hardly any traffic, no people.
Finally I reached rue Rembrandt, one of the streets that leads into Parc Monceau. Parc Monceau is surrounded by beautiful, opulent, elaborate apartment blocks and mansions, overlooking the lovely park.
Unlike Jardin Tuileries, the only people in Parc Monceau were local joggers and families enjoying a public holiday in the park. I bought a cup of hot chocolate and strolled the park, admiring the corinthian columns, an arch that once was part of the original Hotel de Ville, a water fall and numerous sculptures recognising various artists, each adorned with their adoring muses!
After leaving the park, with no set plan, no need to be anywhere, I felt the need to keep wandering around, and so I did.
Walking in the general direction of home, I happened across the magnificent Saint Augustin Church with a wonderful Joan of Arc statue out the front.
I stopped for a much needed coffee and continued on to find a street sign, I wanted to photograph for a friend and found myself on Boulevard Haussmann and Printemps department store.
The theme for their windows this year; travel. Click on the images for a better view!
Standing together, shoulder to shoulder, with the young and old, trying to find the best vantage point, the windows of Printemps, never disappoint and always surprise and excite me.
The sponsor ? CHANEL!
As the light was fading, I stumbled across, the shop of Louis Roederer, the champagne maker. Just a small thing that put a huge smile on my face. A friend of mine loves their champagne.
It started drizzling when I came across Eglise de la Madeleine, which made for a good excuse to pop in, a service was in process, the organ playing, another perfect surprise.
I was too close to Place Vendome, not to pass by the expensive square and area that boasts, Jimmy Choos, Chanel and other top brands.
Finally back on rue de Rivoli, where once again the streets were alive with people.
Dragging my feet, feeling exhausted, slightly wet and very hungry, in need of food and familiar surroundings, Petit Fer a Cheval, it had to be, my favourite bar in Paris.
The French don’t eat until late and being 6.30pm, plenty of tables were available out the back.
As the restaurant was filling up and after I had devoured my dinner, I decided to stand at the bar and finish my drink and leave. I needed to get home and blog. Then I met Alain, who was very patient with my bad French.
We chatted, he bought me drinks and flowers! Tres gentile.
Exhausted, after a lovely plat de jour, chicken and pureed broccoli, my tired feet only had to take me a couple more streets home.
Over the road from my apartment is a local store, called Epicure du Marais, which sounds a little more elite than it’s name. They sell the usual grocery store items but their prices are less than the normal bigger chains.
Each night, as I pass by, the owner and I have chatted a little more. Tonight I discovered his name is the same as mine; Adele. This was a pleasant surprise for both of us.
After buying a bottle of wine and a bottle of water, we said our goodbyes.
One last surprise for the evening, he took an expensive bottle of wine from the shelf, ripped off the price tag, popped it in a carrier bag and offered it to me with a Bonne Annee – Happy New Year.
Once again, with a huge smile on my face, clutching my gifts of flowers and a bottle of wine, constantly astounded by the kindness and generosity of the French, I bounced up the stairs to my apartment.
Bonne Annee, indeed – Happy New Year!