Paris Trip 2012

Day 2 - 9/16/2012

I sleep until 12:38 and wake to a glorious, sun-filled day, perfect for walking. I have no fixed plans, nor goals, only a loose collection of themes that will guide where I go. I want to find connections to mushrooms, fishing, beekeeping, marionettes, the Romans, rats, and weirdness. While wandering the city, I keep my eyes open for these things.

Actually, this isn't quite true. I have a single goal that I must accomplish here. I want to go fishing in Paris. I brought my spinning reel and some tackle and have researched where I might fish. I need to buy a fishing pole. This hunt will shape most of my first week.

I depart with the intention of going to the Musée d'Orsay. The weather is amazing so I walk the 2.6 miles. At the museum, there is a huge line. I decide the day is just too beautiful to spend inside. Instead I wander over the Pont de la Concorde to the Jardin des Tuileries. On the bridge, among the love locks, I am approached twice by young girls who reach down and cry, "Monsieur", pretending to find a gold ring on the ground. Both times I am looking at the ground and clearly see their sleights of hand. It amuses me.

I am amazed by the gardens and the approach to the Louvre. I try to grasp the wealth required to build and maintain these buildings, grounds, bridges, monuments. It is a thought that occurs throughout my trip. Along the southern promenade to the Louvre, I pass the strange statue, "Les fils de CAÏN".

I meander around the courtyard of the Louvre. While gigantic, I don't feel overwhelmed by the scale. It somehow feels cozy. Again, I can't bear to go inside. I sit and imagine the past, the procession of carriages, the percussion of horses' feet and the clatter of wheels, voices that carried further in the quieter times gone by.

The glass pyramids in the Cour Napoléon are ugly.

From here, I re-cross the Seine on the Pont Royal and tour the streets of the 7th arrondissement. I walk slowly towards Napoleon's tomb. The Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde is tucked behind a small square filled with families and children, and surprisingly, Boy Scouts. Their uniforms have flair and style. They would be beaten up as effeminate in the States.

In the distance, I can see the golden dome of Napoleon's tomb. I walk along the fenced perimeter of the L'Hôtel National des Invalides looking for an entrance. It is an enormous complex. I can't wait to stop walking and eat something.

I arrive early. Anna and Lucy won't be around for a while. I wait and watch rats scurry in the grass-filled moat that surrounds the grounds. A woman stops and asks me if one can walk to the Eiffel Tower from here, which looms over the buildings to the west.

I am sleepy and very hungry. It was wise not to visit any museum. As dopey as I now feel, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate them.

Anna arrives with Lucy for her evening walk. We head east to the 6th arrondissement. I have no idea where we are going. I am a zombie - hungry and brain-dead. We stop at the Church of Saint Thomas Aquinas, browse high-end children's fashion stores, stop at the Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the oldest building I have ever entered, detour to the Course du Commerce Saint-Andre to see the remains of the original wall and tower surrounding Paris, pass Fontaine Saint-Michel, Shakespeare and Company bookstore, and finally, gratefully, we sit and have a beer at a corner cafe in the Latin Quarter. We sit next to 2 young women and start a conversation. One is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The other from Siberia, Russia. They met on the steps of Sacré-Cour. Lucy contentedly eats her bone at my feet.

After an hour or so at the cafe - lingering is to become one of the most rewarding aspects of this trip - we walk Rue Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, where I snap a photo of a weird, green house. Later I learn it appears as B-footage in Doctor Who's, City of Death. Finding other locations from that show is to become another obsession.

Anna and I part ways, she takes the metro, I walk home along the Rue Saint Jacques. I pass the Pantheon and see it and the Eiffel Tower in opposition. I pass the Hippy Market, the Centre de la Mer - Institut Océanographique, adorned with an iron octopus on the door. I get home, eat a little something, and pass out.

The Louvre - Trying to Capture the Immense Scale

Les fils de CAÏN

The Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde

Little Lucy

Tom Baker, as Doctor Who, Ran Through this Street

The View from the Apartment

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