Monday, July 11, 2005
Cycling on the
Yesterday we started out at 5pm for a three-hour
walk. Beginning as we often do, by
walking up to the Champ de Mars and on to the
These men and women are career naval officers from
The band’s name is something like Banda Marcial o Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais. The Corps has a web site, and evidently they have a symphony band as well bossa nova band. You can even download and listen to some of their marching band music at this part of their web site.
The children loved the band. The band leader went to the crowd and led
several children by the hand to the front of the group, where they had their
photos taken. Two young
Spanish-looking women engaged a nearby Brazilian soldier in conversation by
asking him to take their photo. They
talked, and talked, and then exchanged phone numbers. Ah
We continued on our walk up to the
Sadly, the outdoor café at the Hotel Degrés de Notre Dame was not open; it is being renovated. Pity. It would have been a perfect evening for dining outdoors.
Because it was a Sunday, most of the outdoor dining places were just brasseries and pizza or couscous places. We wanted real French food, as we almost always do.
So we climbed the hill toward the Pantheon and took a
right turn so we landed at Le Petit Prince (corner of rue de Lanneau and rue
I could have sworn the air seemed polluted yesterday, and indeed according to Airparif, the air quality was poor. And here’s what they say for today:
quality forecasted for 11/07/2005 : Poor
ATMO index for the agglomeration of
ozone maximum hourly concentration : from 110
µg/m3 to 140
NO2 maximum hourly concentration : from 60 µg/m3 to 90
Oh, no. That dreaded bad ozone again. What is the level at which to worry, I wonder? Well, Air Parif says, in their national norms section:
Health protection threshold:
Looks like we are already there. What are the health effects of bad ozone? Here is what the U.S. EPA has to say.
The air quality will probably get worse as the week goes on, because there will be plenty of sunshine and warmth to cook the auto exhaust into bad ozone. This is when I start to wish that all those Parisians out there madly driving their cars around the city would just go on vacation. Just leave! The Parisian government sets lower speed limits when ozone is really bad, because cars don’t emit as many pollutants when they go slower, apparently. But these lower speed limits are widely despised and ignored.
Ironically, this is the period of the year when Tom and I don’t drive cars at all. If everyone did that for three months of the year, think how much cleaner our air would be. I have several American friends who ride bikes instead of driving whenever and wherever they can. I don’t think many Americans are the worst environmental pigs.
Every Western country seems to have its share.
The Parisians have started to leave on vacation. The newspapers are covering the massive
traffic jams caused by this mass exodus.
They call it the “bison futé” (“buffalo stampede”). The traffic jams, interestingly enough, are
called “bouchons” (corks used to stop wine bottles). Most things are described in food terms
here, even when the subject isn’t food.
Wine is food, you know. In