When the evening is nice and balmy and the air is very fresh after a sudden April shower it’s nice to take a walk and wander around in Paris making little discoveries on the way. Every cafe, every little nook and cranny are filled with people enjoying their meal and a glass of wine or beer. The most popular occupation seems to be simply watching the passers-by, the Life itself flowing all around. Strolling along Rue Clovis, then on to Rue Cardinal Lemoine, to Boulevard Henri IV, gradually emerging in that amazing square Place des Vosges. Then on to the mixture of ancient winding streets, little gardens, parks and playgrounds with lots of trees and shrubs and flower beds – Paris is an amazingly green city. After many a turn we emerge near some old walls which I correctly recognize as Musee Carnavalet. It is actually a misspelling of the original owners’ name. The two lovely mansions built probably in the seventeenth century used to be family homes, but now they house the Paris City History museum. There are so many exhibits they say it is bursting at the seams. The inner gardens and courtyard are nicely laid out with geometrically perfect flower beds and some imposing statues. Several memorial plaques inform the tourists that a few famous people lived there, including Marquise de Sevigne Femmes de Lettres. It seems to be a French tradition that in practically every century there was at least one woman writer, even at the time when women played mostly domestic and or ornamental roles. Marguerite de Navarre, Marquise de Sevigne, Madame de Stael, Georges Sand… From Hotel de Rohan, one of the museum buildings, it is a short walk to Hotel de Sens which also used to be a family mansion and which now houses the Forney library. We walk on, to the Seine River and to Pont de la Tournelle from which we can see Notre Dame beautifully lit from behind by the setting sun.
We briefly debate whether we have any energy left for another trek, it’s not far, maybe ten minutes walk along the embankment. From there we could take a bus… But no, the weather is too good and the surroundings too lovely. We opt for continuing our walk. And so we climb up up Rue Cardinal Lemojne, then Rue Clovis to the Pantheon, and on back.