Paris in the Springtime, 2001
by Rick Swallow
The Ninth Week
Blue, underlined text may be clicked on to see a larger version of the picture being discussed.
Wednesday May 9 [Shirtsleeve]
I got into Gare du Nord at 20:45, went home to drop off my backpack and left to
walk in the balmy spring air--finally. I spent nearly an hour leisurely shopping
for a restaurant at which I could get something resembling a vegetarian meal.
I didn't feel like Chinese food tonight so I settled on some kind of salad (?) and
some kind of fish(?) entrée in a restaurant near Les Halles. It was good.
I bought a baguette for tomorrow's breakfast and to nibble on and went home
for the night. A bagette, by the way, costs 4.20ff (about $.60 US) and is 31 inches
long. And tasty, not like our American pseudo-baguettes.
These two shots were taken in Rodin's Garden,
the first being Le Penseur (The Thinker) in Bronze,
and the second, Rodin's Bronze Door to Hell, the
marble of which is in D'Orsay (previously shown).
Now why, I ask you, would anyone sit and think
with their right elbow on their left knee? Why? I
tried it and I tell you it would not appear on my top
100 ways to relax list.
Another of Rodin's famous works is Le Baiser (The Kiss).
The marble is in the Rodin Museum, with a bronze nearly
in front of the Orangerie---just near the Concord, as you
can determine by the wheel in the background. I tried to
get a clear shot of the bronze but Cathie and Steve were
not to be moved and ignored my pleas completely.
Another of my favorites is Le Main de Dieu (the Hand of God) in which Rodin depicts God's hand
holding the lump of clay from which He is molding Adam and Eve. He has a lot of "hand" statuary,
including one called "The Hand of the Devil. The collection of sculptures in the Garden and in the
museum is really excellent as statues go.
Thursday May 10 [Shirtsleeve]
Sultry summery day with temperatures in the low
70's. Fully overcast all day. I visited the Louvre,
which is still on strike but open free, so I took the
opportunity to do a photo shoot of Hammurabi's
Code. Now, for those of you not familiar with
Hammurabi, he was the Mesopotamian ruler (The
King of Babylon) who had placed in stone, the one
pictured, a codified set of laws, which, gee whiz,
just happens to include those that were said to
have been carved into the stones Moses carried
down from the mountain. The interesting thing is,
Hammurabi wrote them during his reign some
1700 years BC! It seems that God did a little
Here is a front and a side shot of the stone.
First, a close up of Hammurabi and his scribe, pictured at the top of the stone, then, for your
reading pleasure, two close-ups of a couple of sections, one from the front, and one from the
back of the stone. Note that they had to learn to write between the lines, too!
Friday May 11 [Shorts/Shirtsleeve]
Temperatures in the high 70's today.
Very summerlike with a clear azure
sky! I put on my shorts for the first
time, slipped into my Berkies and
hit the town about 11.
I took a walk along the Champs and in my wanderings through the gardens on both sides I
located 2 different water sources. I can only presume it is potable water as the sources have a
push button and are available all the time. Apparently for filling water bottles?
I also discovered that there is now a mother duck with 9 ducklings in the sailboat pond. Hmmm.
I find that a bit odd as there is no where nearby where she could have hatched them. Must be a planted group....
The water in fountains is being turned on as summer approaches. Apparently the Mayor feels that the millions of winter visitors/tourists
would not like to see the fountains operating. Curious.
I found that the river level had dropped about a foot overnight and the park was accessible, so I climbed on in over the fence, as did about a
hundred others. They will not be denied their little park in which to eat their lunch and partake of a little wine. As I sat there basking in the sun,
traffic on the berge started to flow, opened up right before my eyes. Imagine. I took a bunch of shots of the park
which I will post when I get to the Cyber Café probably tomorrow, to upload what will be the last of my pictures for this trip.
Now the picture which will appear here shows what a nice day it is....Remember that this is France. :-)
Saturday May 12 [Shorts/Shirtsleeve]
Wow! Another summer day. Almost hot. I left again about 11 and headed by metro to the March! aux Puces at Port de Clignancourt, the
last stop to the North on Line #4. It is perhaps the world's most famous flea market, as I have stated earlier, and is open Saturday through
Monday. What a melting point of cultures that is. I've been meaning to give it a visit since I got here. Alfred had given me a large brochure on
it and Kit Kitt (from CA...) said I should go. Well, now I have. It's like walking through an enormous swap meet but many of the "stalls" are in
buildings in streets down side alleys, meandering here and there. After a couple of hours of that, and the heat, I decided to go to the other
end of the #4 line line, Port d'Orleans, and walk back. That's at the southernmost side of the city, so now I've walked North to South, East
to West through the wonderful city of Paris. Does it seem like I'm starting to get ready to go home? Really, there are lots of museums to see
yet, but frankly, I'm simply "museum'd out."
I made another great discovery: There is an outdoor drinking fountain which was turned on in Place St. Martin across from Notre-Dame on
the Left Bank. One can only presume that it is potable. It runs continuously and looks --- well, sort of -- like a drinking fountain. That mayor,
what a nice guy!
Sunday May 13 [Shorts/Shirtsleeve]
Cruised all over today. I discovered that the berge is closed to traffic on Sundays between 9 and 18:00 and open to cyclists and pedestrians.
I walked through the tunnel starting just east of Notra-Dame and ended up coming out at the Concorde. Later in the afternoon I walked the
berge on the Left bank from almost the same point up to Pont de l'Alma and headed north across the bridge to end up at Pizza Pino on the
Champs for supper. From there I walked back over to Les Halles and found that my Cyber Café is not open on Sundays. Rats. Guess the
site will be pictureless until I get home as I don't want to spent an hour of my last day (tomorrow) uploading pictures. Check back in a couple
of weeks to see the rest....
Monday May 14 [Shirtsleeve]
Des Egoute Catacombs
Tuesday May 15 [Shirtsleeve]
I leave Paris today at 1305 for Dulles and arrive in San Diego at 2010 on flight #915. Therefore, c'est fini
And that, as they say, is that.
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