Monday, 15 June 2015

Pétanque et Paris

Like me, you might think that these days pétanque is only played by old men in town squares in the south of France, but you'd be wrong.....this most gallic of sports is positively thriving here in Paris.

Did you spot the famous landmark in the background?

This week we've been moored on the Saint-Martin canal in the young and studenty 19th arrondisement, where each evening until sundown the quaysides have been packed with groups drinking and socialising over a few ends of pétanque or a game of Molkky (similar to skittles).

10pm and it's buzzing in the Bassin de la Villette

Built in the 1820's the Canal Saint-Martin, together with the Canal Saint-Denis, transported goods from the industrial areas of Paris out to the Seine and beyond.  Today the first section of the canal has been covered over and made into a public park, creating a rather eerie 2km tunnel, lit only by occasional vents up to the world above. 

Steering Serenity by torchlight!

The picture doesn't really do it justice but there's something very disconcerting about relying on your husband on the bow telling you which way to steer because you can't see the front of the boat - particularly when the tunnel isn't even straight!

But as soon as you leave the tunnel you're part of a classic Parisian landscape of arched metal footbridges and tree lined cobbled quaysides.   And when we cruised through on Friday evening Serenity had no shortage of admirers as Parisians of all ages overflowed from the quayside bars and cafes to enjoy their drinks in the sun.

With guests aboard only for the weekend the whole crew's had some downtime and the opportunity to explore Paris' culture, shopping and food. The highlight for me was getting lost amongst the winding alleys of the Saint-Ouen flea market (often touted as the world's largest) whilst our Tour Guide Sarah adored the gothic Basilica Saint Denis.

The crew exploring Paris

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