A military band
that surprised us in the Marais. We
don’t know the occasion. Could it be
they were recognizing the American Independence Day? Who knows.
Maybe they do this every Tuesday.
An old tavern sign in the Musée Carnavalet.
Inside Notre Dame des Blancs Manteaux in the
Marais. This church reminded us very
much of Saint Sulpice, which we also visited later in the day.
The official sales started at the beginning of
this month. I like the fact that this
clothing store kept the old art nouveau bakery façade.
Cool outdoor furniture in front of a shop in the
chic Village St. Paul, in the 4th arrondissement.
Lights in the Napoleon Courtyard at the Louvre
are all in disrepair. You’d think that
the Electric Company leaders would want to see them fixed, since there is a
plaque giving them credit for installing the lights.
eventful because we went to see two apartments, one in the Marais and one in
the 6th arrondissement, near St. Sulpice, where we thought we
might stay for the month of September.
We decided on the one near St. Sulpice, in large part because we like
the owners so much. They both have
design and academic backgrounds, and lived for some years in New York state where
they still live in the summer. It is
great to make new friends in Paris.
these appointments, we wandered around in the 4th, 1st,
and 6th arrondissements, taking in the Musée
Carnavalet once again.
in the 4th, which is the Marais (former swamp), we were surprised
by a military band on horseback.
We also visited
the serene Notre
Dame des Blancs Manteaux, a church near the National Archives.
Lunch was at
the Café Hugo on
the northeast corner of the Place des Vosges. We highly recommend this place. You can sit outdoors, always in the shade,
and have fabulously fresh salads with perfect vinaigrette and cheerful
service. Prices are very reasonable.
After lunch, we
wandered down to the Seine and it started to
rain, thank heavens. We stood in an
archway at the rue de l’Hirondelle (the Street of the Swallow), one of those
impossibly tiny and short streets not far from the Sorbonne. When the rain lessened, we went on to St.
Sulpice, Hemingway’s favorite church in Paris. Inside it was mercifully cool (outside, it
was 90 degrees F). The famous organ
was being tuned. I found that to be
interesting, and Tom found it annoying.
But we were both footsore and had about 20 minutes until our
appointment nearby, so we stayed. I
eventually walked around inside the sanctuary and came upon the sacristry,
which was open (never has been before when we visited). Inside, a gracious gentleman explained to
me and to a young Brazilian couple all the symbology used in the carvings on
the sacristry walls. The room has been
beautifully restored with money donated by Americans.
In the news in Paris:
Nicolas Sarkozy had announced a plan to deport illegal immigrant youth as a
way of retaliating for all the riots they committed last Fall. He has been very vague about what criteria
will be used to determine exactly which kids will be deported. His plan has drawn great criticism as well
as large demonstrations. On Saturday
(the day of our arrival when we slept off our jet lag), there was a
demonstration from the place de la Bastille to Bercy, on central Paris’ east side. According to the police, there were 7,200
demonstrators. The organizers of the
event claimed there were 50,000, and Le Parisien claimed
there were 15,000. Mostly immigrants
demonstrated, but there were also non-immigrant parents who don’t want their
children’s classmates to be deported.
Le Parisen also reports that the French morale has
improved. It has gone up from 28
points to 30 points (out of how many, I wonder? A hundred?). This is because households have the feeling
that life in France
is improving. They also think that
their buying power will improve, and most think their own financial situation
is evolving positively. The job
outlook has improved slightly as well.
was a real problem on Monday and Tuesday, but today is much better, according
to Air Parif
and my nose. The mayor of Paris encouraged
Parisians to leave their cars behind and to take public transport
instead. That’s what we do. For three months of the year, when we are
here, we do not drive a car at all.
Now if everyone could do that, think how different the world would be
Let’s get back
to Saturday. So many things happened
while we slept off our jet lag. There
was live jazz at the flea markets of Saint Ouen. There was a Tropical Carnival at Republique
in the 10th arrondissement, where 30,000 people participated in a
parade (bigger than the demonstrations mentioned above?). Most of the Tropical Carnival participants
have their roots in the Caribbean.
Saturday, the city of Paris
organized a giant treasure hunt in several arrondissements. Over 9,000 people participated. One participant named Valerie said, “It is super-rigolo and I have discovered a
lot of unknown places thanks to this rally.”
Saturday festival celebrated a chevalier from Barre who was executed for
blasphemy 240 years ago. The young
man’s crime was not removing his hat when a religious procession passed by. His punishment was that his tongue was cut
out, he was decapitated, and then his body was burned. The remembrance takes place every year, I
think, at the foot of Sacre Coeur.
A new swimming
pool on the Seine will open on
Thursday. It is called the Piscine Josephine
Baker, and it is located on a barge by the Porte de la Gare and quai
Francois-Mauriac in the 13th arrondissement, near the Mitterand
Library. Open from 10AM to 10PM Monday
through Friday, and from 10AM to 8PM on weekends, the pool is sure to be popular. The fee is 5 euros for the first two
hours. (To discourage lounging, after
the first two hours, you are charged an additional 5 euros per hour.) A full-length (25-meter) lap pool, it only
has four lanes marked and is just 10 meters wide. Certainly this will be crowded. Supposedly, 508 people will be allowed in
at once. That’s a bit much!!! The pool has a glass roof above and glass
walls all around. It is going to be
featured as one of the stars of the fifth edition of Paris Plage (the Paris beach project
that will open soon).
The mayor has
also announced that he wants to build another, similar pool on the west end
near our dear park, Andre Citroen, in our 15th arrondissement.
mayor of Washington DC
was in Paris to visit the mayor of Paris, whose name is
Bertrand Delanoe, by the way. There
were two purposes to this visit. One
was the unveiling of a portrait of Rosa Parks at the entrance of a sports
complex named after her in the 14th arrondissement. An hour later, a statue of Thomas Jefferson
was inaugurated on the quai Anatole-France, at the Solferino pedestrian
bridge in the 7th arrondissement.
The sculptor’s name is Jean Cardot.
Just as all
major cities have different systems for classifying their levels of terrorism
has a system of classifying their level of alert in the event of a heat
wave. As temperatures have been quite
entered Level 3, which means “maximal mobilization.” At this level, city hall reinforces the
information on the electronic information boards that one sees near many
métro stations. The city also augments
the number of personnel working in the retirement homes and sets up a phone
number, 39.75, that fragile people can call for help.
says that an office of tourism information desk was inaugurated on Monday at
terminal 2F of the Charles de Gaulle airport.
I happen to know it was really open on the Saturday before that,
because I used it. In a confused,
jet-lagged state, I asked, ungrammatically, in French, “Please, m’am, where
is the taxis?” The nice lady at the
desk answered my question in English without correcting my French.
The real answer
is, you have to walk up to terminal 3 to the taxi stand there because
terminal 2 is terminally unfinished.