Wednesday 26 June 2019
Ironically, having revelled in the fact that we no longer need to go away during the school holidays and can therefore avoid higher prices, other people’s fractious children and the hottest months of the year, our trip to Corsica and Sardinia saw us heading for Paris in a positive heatwave. Temperatures in Paris hit 34 degrees on the day we arrived, schools have closed, national exams have been cancelled and vehicles are being restricted in the capital to combat pollution.
As we arrived at our four star Holiday Inn, close to the Gare de Lyon [which features a picturesque and elegant clock tower] . . .
. . . the neon sign on the building next door flashed the immortal words “Sex Shop”.
Matilda felt she was stepping back in time to the period before retirement and before she had issued her minimum star requirement for hotels when Robert habitually booked those closest to the station for convenience. Curiously, the areas around the main line stations all across Europe seem to feature establishments which offer this service.
Having checked in and applied sun protection we walked to Notre Dame to pay our respects to this iconic and beleaguered building.
Scaffolding and other supports are in place to protect the surviving walls and windows whilst restoration is underway.
Having watched footage of the fire, it is a tribute to the skill and determination of the firefighters to see how much of the fabric of this cathedral they have managed to preserve. As we have visited Paris several times and the heat was debilitating we reserved further sightseeing for next time we visit in September to see the Van Gogh Ateliers des Lumières exhibition.
We woke early to catch a train to Toulon, a city which boasts a successful rugby union team . . .
. . . as well as a naval base and a port with plentiful waterside cafes, ice cream parlours and bars. The heat makes these establishments doubly enticing.
Temperatures today have hit 36 degrees and we plan to return to see the sights and watch Toulon play when the weather is cooler.