Paris Journal 2003

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Sunday, June 22 (continued)

commercejours.jpg (36873 bytes) Yesterday we started out by walking down the rue du Commerce, just around the corner from the apartment, because it was closed to automobile traffic.  This was the final day of the "Days of the Rue du Commerce," and the only day that cars were not allowed.  

This photo was taken from the steps of the church, St. John the Baptist of Grenelle, which is situated at the end of the street.

Yesterday was also the 22nd Festival of Music in France - a holiday that is celebrated in 110 countries.  Live music was to be heard in all kinds of places all over Paris, but that is not really very different from most summer weekend days in this city.  In fact, we have heard better music on some weekends than we did on this music festival day.   For example, we've heard excellent jazz on the street in the St. Germain des Pres area.  But the featured jazz band in the Place du Carrousel, in front of the Louvre, was lackluster.  After a bit of listening, we were able to conclude that the guitarist was really a classical guitarist, and he just didn't "get" jazz at all.

But of course there was a zany group of local musicians on the rue du Commerce.   They were just finishing up playing when we caught up with them.

Musicians on rue du Commerce After, they put down their instruments and ordered beer a the brasserie La Tour Eiffel.


St. Jean Baptiste de Grenelle, interieur We went into the church for a brief rest before undertaking an enormously long walk that took us along the Seine, over to the Tuileries, the Louvre, back to the left bank and up to St. Germain des Pres, and finally back home on the number 10 metro.

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Cooleys on park bench in Champ de Mars.

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Near the beginning of our walk, we found ourselves a nice park bench in the shade in the Champ de Mars and watched people taking photos of other people with the Eiffel Tower in the background.  A favorite technique is to hold one's hands up so that it looks like one is supporting the weight of the tower.

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This bored teenager (left) decided to hang upside down from a railing on the Peace Pavilion in the Champ de Mars. 

Like the twinkling lights on the Eiffel Tower, the Peace Pavilion was supposed to be a temporary, millennium thing.  However, the bureaucrats received 4 million e-mails asking to preserve the Peace Pavilion, and so it will remain at the end of the Champ de Mars, opposite the Eiffel Tower, appropriately placed in front of the Ecole Militaire.

Ponies are for children to ride in the Champ de Mars. Some children get to ride these ponies in the Champ de Mars.  Other children are busy stealing things.  Soon after we left the Champ, we were walking along the Seine and a young Pakistani or Indian boy ran past us, looking very guilty and afraid.  He was clutching something in a plastic garbage bag.  His little friends ran one way, and he ran the other way.  Soon after, two policemen arrived, looking both ways, wondering where to go.  I told one of them that the boy with the sack ran that way (toward the Eiffel Tower), and he thanked me profusely.

We went on to the Passerelle Debilly and lunch (see previous page).

Flowers in the Champ de Mars The "fonctionaires" of the river brigade made a grisly discovery in the Seine, near the 5th arrondisement, on Friday morning:  the body of a 30-something year old man, evidently drowned.  They identified him by his "carte Orange," used for travelling on the metro or RER trains.

We didn't see any bodies, but we did hear some awfully bad rock and roll being played by pompiers on their boat near the Quai de Conti in the 6th arrondisement.  Can't blame the Festival of Music for that one -- these firefighter/rockers were not listed in the festival program.

Good drummer in Paris. Some of the better musicians we heard during Music Festival day included this drummer (left), whom we've heard before out on the streets of Paris in prior summers.  Also, a military band that played in the courtyard of the Louvre was very good.  Here they are (below), waiting around for their bandleader to arrive.

Military band members.

Lovely sailboat moored on the Quai de Conti in Paris. The music festival went on into the wee hours of the morning.  In some parts of Paris, such as the 20th arrondisement, there are creatures who sing all night every night of the summer.  These are frogs.  Real frogs.  Grenouilles.  My fellow Sanibellians can relate to this noise pollution.  The mayor of the 20th arrondisment is determined to do something about the frogs, but he isn't yet sure what it will be.   During the months of May and June, the frogs have made "un veritable calvaire."  The problem has become much more serious during the past ten years.  

May we suggest importing great blue herons and egrets?  Wouldn't they look good in Paris?


At left, a sailboat moored on the Quai de Conti with a tourist boat floating beyond it, and the ile de la Cite and Pont Neuf in the background.

Florist shop on av. de la Motte Piquet. While I have the attention of the Sanibellians, I wanted to let them know that we see palm trees frequently in Paris.  These three are for sale, I think, at a local florist's shop on av. de la Motte Piquet.
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