|Place des Vosges|
|Courtyard, Hotel de Sens|
|Marina, Canal St-Martin|
The next day it was time to test the bus system, so we chose an easy ride over to the left bank so that Carolee could register for classes. The bur riding turned out to be as easy as hoped. Descending at St Sulpice, we tool a quick look inside the church. Didn't like it - dark and dingy. It has a very famous organ, but we didn't hear it. Then off to the Luxembourg Gardens, where I found a seat by the pool and waited while Carolee ran off to do her registration. I noticed quite a few police and Carolee explained that the French Senate meets right there in the Luxembourg Palace. We threaded our way back through narrow streets to St-Germain des Pres, where we caught our bus back home.
|Carolee, tomb of Gustave Caillebotte|
|Duane, grave of Jules Romains|
|Tomb of Heloise & Abelard|
|Rue Mouffetard, see?|
|Arenes de Lutece, now a playground|
|Jardin des Plantes|
The next day's jaunt was back to the left bank, where, influenced by guidebooks and a famous photo by Cartier-Bresson, I wanted to walk along the Rue Mouffetard. Our education with the bus system continued when the bus driver dumped his whole load of passengers just past the river and drove off. His break, maybe. The next bus would be along in seven minutes, in any case. But we walked along up the hill, passing a favorite restaurant of Carolee's and turned onto the fabled street. Not worth a special trip was my reaction - only a bit more charm than many streets we'd seen already. Improvising, we opted to walk home past the Arenes de Lutece and the Jardin des Plantes. The arenes is the site of a roman amphitheater, but it didn't look like any roman ruin I've seen before, it was so heavily rebuilt. But it was a great place for kids to play, and whole classes of schoolkids were being led in and out as we rested a while. Four backpacks on the ground defined two soccer goals. A short distance away we entered at a corner of the immense Jardin des Plantes. This was a discovery: part English Garden, part French, part horticultural display and part museum and menagerie. It was pure delight. After a rest there we crossed a busy circle to the Austerlitz bridge and a longish final lap homewards. Here I had a problem with faintness, but a few minutes of internet doctoring at home indicated that I hadn't been drinking enough water. This was confirmed by the simple experiment of drinking a few glasses of water. We now carry water with us.
|Cafe life, waiting for gay pride parade|
|Waiter in traditional costume|
|Parade stretching down Blvd Henri IV|
|White & Black|
The next day, Sunday, was quieter, but the temperature was up. From the newspaper we chose to see an ecology exhibit at the Hotel de Ville (City Hall). Bland, it was. As, apparently, was the day.
|Tour St-Jacques (St James Tower)|
|No handrail down to Sq du Vert Galant|
|Square du vert Galant, tip of Ile de la Cite|
|St-Eustache church, clean|
|Garden of Palais Royale, boules|
|Garden of Palais Royale, spray, sun bathers|
ESSAY: ON BEING A GIMP IN PARIS
The last few years have left me with an ailment of the nerves in the legs which makes the muscles weak and seriously compromises balance, It was a bit of a dare to come here at all, and I wouldn't have attempted it without Carolee. So how'm I doin' with it? Some pleasant surprises here. In San Diego I'm doing well as long as I can still drive. If I lose that, and I could, I'll be stuck at home and dependent on others to drive for me. Here in Paris when I go out I'll see, in a few hours, a couple dozen people getting around with canes. In addition to that, a couple of blind people and occasionally someone in a wheelchair. They're getting by. How? The simple answer is compactness. The apartments and flats are small and numerous. Ours, at 550 square feet, is large. So local business can also be dense. Within 300 yards we have several grocery stores, a department store, any number of cafes, bistros and restaurants, two laundromats, two banks, a post office, a hardware store, pharmacies, bakeries, a hospital, a walk-in medical lab, and even a McDonalds and a Starbucks. If we widen the circle to 600 yards we include another hospital, two major transportation hubs and an opera house! There are plenty of people on the street to offer aid where needed, and they do. All it would take is a small circle of friends and I'd say I'm better off here than in San Diego. Wish I could afford it.
Carolee, not a naysayer, points out that compactness has its downside: noise and odors.