The weather here is perfection: blue sky, abundant sunshine, cool breeze and not too hot. Last night the kids and I went out at 9:30 pm to the amusement park in the Tuileries Gardens. To get there, we strolled down the rue de Rivoli from Place de la Concorde in the gathering dusk. Note the darkening colors of the sky from lilac blue tinged with orange to midnight blue.
This is the giant ferris wheel called La Grande Roue. From the top, you can see all of Paris.
Empty. Because of COVID-19, very few tourists. No Americans. All businesses in the tourist and hospitality industry are suffering. The government is pumping billions into the economy in an attempt to keep everything afloat.
Here’s the west wing of the Louvre which overlooks the Tuileries Gardens. Tuileries comes from the word, tuile, which means ’tile’. Since the 13th century and before Queen Catherine de Medici moved into the Louvre palace in 1559, the area had been occupied by tile-making factories.
We left the amusement park at around 11:30 and strolled up the rue de Rivoli towards the Place de la Concorde. It was a perfect warm midsummer night. I loved this illuminated tuk-tuk.
We had every intention of jumping on the metro at Concorde but, as I said, the night was beautiful, so we decided to walk to the Champs-Elysées. I also wanted to show my young companions where I used to work. Taking the road called rue du Boissy d’Anglas which runs off the Place de la Concorde and alongside the Hôtel Crillon on one side and the American Embassy on the other, I took them to number 9 which is where I used to work in an international boutique law firm.
“I met and made a lot of friends here,” I told them.
Then we strolled back to the Place de la Concorde and the American Embassy (cops everywhere, so we felt safe) and headed west along the avenue Gabriel. Suddenly it got very dark and the street lights were dim. On our left was a dark leafy park, on our right policeman with rifles standing guard in sentry boxes. Rows of paddy wagons with Gendarmerie emblazoned on the side were lined along the avenue Gabriel. Why? Because we were passing the back garden of the Elysee: the offices and apartments of the President. The kids were impressed.
“You mean President Macron lives here?!?” they said. Yes, I said before explaining that the Elysee Palace is the official residence and workplace of the President of the French Republic. I don’t know why the road was so dark, but it was. Of course our every move was scrutinized, but I suppose that a woman out walking with two kids didn’t seem threatening. Although one might wonder why we were out so late …
We came out onto avenue Matignon which leads to the Champs-Elysees. Normally, even at midnight, the Champs-Elysees is filled with tourists during the summer months, the height of the tourist season. This is what it looked like:
We ended up here, eating delicious burgers out on the terrace. Then we jumped on the metro at George V. Twenty minutes later we were home by 1:15 am.