So Paris is the city of love? Well this week she has transformed from a lady of romance – a temperate sounding word – to a sultry mistress of mercury; hot, sweaty, stormy and changeable, and yet remains so scenic. The bronze and gold statues on the Pont Alexandre III gleam in the heat, Sacre Coeur in the distance seems baked white against the intense blue summer sky, and trees along the avenues are shady havens of green.
That was the scene last Sunday when the 100th Tour de France finished in a still sweltering Paris evening. For most of the afternoon the temperature was around 340C, searing the footpaths and tourists alike on the Champs Elysees where fans were already securing their viewing spots for the finish that night. A few found a cooling off spot in a nearby fountain. By about 8pm when we – in the spirit of the occasion – cycled back over to the Arc de Triomphe to see the spectacle it had dropped a meagre but merciful 2 points to 320C, and made for a wonderful evening to watch the thrilling finish of Le Tour.
Since then the temperatures have held high save for the relief when a sudden downpour cools us off. At the park the most popular kids’ games, judging by the shrieks and squeals, are those played with weapons of mass saturation.
I do miss being able to pop down to the beach at Oriental Bay and dip my toes in to cool off. I’m not surprised that so many people escape from Paris for their summer break. It’s noticeably quieter this week and over the next few weeks many smaller shops (like my favourite knitting boutiques) close for their summer holidays.
Fear not, I have plenty of yarn and the knitting goes on. I have on the needles some small projects in light-weight yarns; like a double moss stitch scarf for my daughter with 4-ply merino “Old Maiden Aunt” yarn in a gorgeous burgundy colour called “Last Night’s Red Dress”. It seems quite apt for sultry Paris right now don’t you think?
Soon I am going to check out Paris Plages. Sand has been trucked into the city and laid out along the banks of the Seine and the Bassin de la Villette for a beach like experience complete with Palm trees. I’m attracted by the promise of ice cream stands and water spray fountains for cooling off. I shall report back.