Paris Journal 2003

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Saturday, June 28

Ecole Militaire and Eiffel Tower on eve of June 27, 2003 Yesterday's evening adventures including walking for hours along the left bank of the Seine, up to the Blvd. Saint Germain, down that boulevard into the neighborhood just north of the Luxembourg Gardens, and back through the 7th arrondisement along the rue de Babylone.

We had dinner again at Seraphin, on rue Mabillon.  Again I had roasted vegetables stuffed with chevre accompanied by a small salad, and Tom had a salad made with green and yellow beans that had been marinated and then cooked with ham.  We both had pork cutlets with a rich brown sauce -- a classic French sauce made by the deglazing/reduction techniques.  All the food was superb.

Good thing we walked all the way home.  I've managed to loose a couple pounds in spite of all this eating of dinners out.

Ecole Militaire and Eiffel Tower on eve of June 27, 2003

Most Parisians don't eat dinner until 8:30 or 8:45.  We tend to go at 8 so that we can avoid cigarette smoke.  But we've noticed this year that fewer Parisians are smoking.   The bureaucrats are trying very hard to get them all to quit.  A new law requires every cigarette package to now carry, in big bold letters, the message that "Fumer tue" (Smoke kills).  This latest "attack" on the tabac industry comes after an increase in prices and the ban on selling cigarettes to kids under 16 years old.

In France, 66,000 people died from tobacco-induced diseases in 2002.   Even though lots of mature adults have quit, 40% of the "jeunes" (the young) still smoke.  Fortunately, they don't have as much money for eating out as we older people do.  80 million cigarettes were smoked in France in 2002.

Tom Cooley under mimosa tree in the Champ de Mars

Having grown up in tobacco country, Tom doesn't care for it.  He quit smoking many years ago.  But he does like mimosa trees, which also grow in the South.  That's why he's smiling in this photo taken on the Champ de Mars.

He may also be smiling because I told him about a piece I read in the newspaper regarding the aging Mick Jagger.  Mick is worried because in recent times (as opposed to earlier years), when he performs on stage, there are fewer and fewer women's undergarments  AND  more and more men's boxer shorts thrown at him.

But Tom just keeps getting younger.

Smart car with advertising. Here's another Smart car -- this one decked out in advertising.  Evidently one can get a pretty good discount on one of these cars is one is willing to have it painted like this.
Shop window on rue de four; sea shells on mannequin The sales of summer are on.  The French have two sales seasons each year -- one in the winter, and one in the summer.  The summer one goes from June 25 to August 1.   It is all very regulated and regimented.  Then everyone leaves on vacation.   Actually, some go on vacation in July, and this store has what any French woman would need for her vacation on the Riviera.  To send this message, the mannequin in the window is plastered with seashells.

I read conflicting things in the papers about the economy here.  Evidently retail sales are way down.  However, business people interviewed in a recent poll say that the Paris region is "economically attractive."  The French economy has grown 0.7% this year, and isn't expected to grow over 1% in 2004 because of the euro's high value against the dollar.

Rue de Ciseaux, with Tricky Dick graffiti, 6th arrondisement

Rue de Ciseaux (left) is a very tiny old street that intersects with the Boulevard Saint Germain directly across from the church, St. Germain des Pres.  I looked up and saw this Tricky Dick graffiti high on a wall at the end of the street.   "Ciseaux" is French for "scissors."
Maison de l'Amerique Latine Plaque re Jean-Martin Charcot

This fine house on the Boulevard Saint Germain is now the Latin America House.  A plaque informed us, however, that it was once the home of Jean-Martin Charcot, the founder of the School of Salpetriere.  He was a famous professor who changed the way we think about and treat the mentally ill.  The Salpetriere Hospital in Paris has a very long history of treating the mentally ill.  At one time, a very long time ago, almost every undesirable, wretchedly poor human on the streets of the city was incarcerated there.  Conditions were bad.  But Dr. Charcot and others changed that.

Dr. Charcot deserved to live in this very, very nice home on the boulevard.

Jazz group near St. Germain des Pres We continue to see various assortments of the same general group of jazz musicians.   These two (below) are some of the best.  The percussionist plays a washboard, and the other man is playing the soprano sax.  The guy with the clarinet approached us (left) to try to sell us a CD, but we gave him a euro instead.

Two of the better jazz musicians on the streets of Paris.

Les pigeons ramier

I managed to get photos of the pigeon ramier in the Champ de Mars yesterday, so you might want to check back on the June 25 page.  I translated the quotation about these birds from French to English.

Well, today I think we're going to go try to find the Gay Pride Parade.  That should make for some good photos.

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