Rive Gauche – A walk on the “left side”

One traveler is departing today, heading back to Carcassonne from le Gare de Lyon, and we decided to walk her to her train station. Since most of our walking along the Seine River has been on its right side, we decided to take in the scenery, on the left bank, la Rive Gauche. We headed down to the Seine (less than a block from our apartment), and were halfway across the bridge to the Left Bank, when we paused and asked a stranger to take a picture of the three of us – the only one we have of our Paris adventure.

We started on our way when a large, stately, black car (a vintage Bentley or a Rolls Royce) pulled up and parked. Out jumped a chauffeur, who opened the door for a beautiful bride and her groom to step out and onto what is probably one of the best spots for a photo shoot with the Eiffel tower in the background. So sweet and romantic to watch!

Just like in Amsterdam, houseboats are an option for city living. They line up in groups, off and on down the Rive Gauche.

If I could pick one, I think I’d take this one – although I imagine the docking fee is out of this world!

The Left Bank is like one big wide promenade for walkers, with plenty of room for runners and an occasional bike rider. Lots of people were out this Sunday morning, despite the gray, drizzly weather. Parts of this “promenade” are paved, parts are a wide gravel path, which goes through small parks and green spaces, and parts are sidewalk.

There are ramps that take you down to businesses on the stone quay at the river’s edge. Most ramps were closed since the river is so high and is spilling over its edge. Many boats, both for tours or that serve as bars or restaurants, had been closed all week since the rains had made the river swell.

We passed an American church,

and saw a few carousels on this side of the river. Parisians love carousels – there are a couple in the Tuiliere Gardens, a couple in Montmartre, and at many other spots throughout the city.

We walked past the booksellers whose green bookstalls, perched on the stone, river walls of both sides of the river, are so iconic to Paris and offer old books, copies of vintage prints, and all kinds of souvenirs.

Before we knew it, we were in front of the Musee D’Ordsay and had an encounter, that was the only attempt that we knew of, at being pickpocketed or robbed. A 20 something girl approached me with a clipboard, to sign a petition to support the hearing and speach disabled. She acted as if she couldn’t hear or speak. Foolishly, I signed the form and she asked for money. When I refused, she could suddenly hear and speak English. Looking around, I saw there was a group of 6 or 7 with clipboard petitions. I walked away, without a donation. I am sure if I had opened my purse, the group would have surrounded me and there would have been some diversion tactic so one could grab my wallet. It was not a scary experience, just sad. What a life for these young gypsy girls.

Off we continued…

It was quite a walk from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame and then across the river and northward towards the train station. We walked just under 5 miles (you’ve got to love iPhone apps) and decided we had better hop on the metro to make sure we arrived in plenty of time. We know from experience, it is no fun rushing to find the right track or to find no spot left on the interior luggage rack of your train car.

We saw our friend off, and rather than have a train station sandwich, the two of us remaining in Paris, decided to splurge on lunch at Le Train Blue. OMG!!!! To be continued….my next blog entry.

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