Friday, July 05, 2013

Chez Paris

I began my discovery of Paris on an idle grey day, with intermittent drizzle soaking the city.  I began my wanderings down the wide boulevard heading south from my apartment, taking in the lavish apartment buildings and their ornate architecture and playful flair..

 I made my way over to the Esplanade de Trocadero, overlooking le Tour Eiffel from up on high.  Just as I got there, the rains started coming down.  I ducked under the awning of Musee de l'Homme for some shade from the downpour.  Once the rains passed, I made my way down the Jardines de Trocadero and across the Seine to Champs de Mars under Eiffel's Tower and throngs of tourists.

I continued my stroll through Champs de Mars and over to the Ecole Militaire before ducking into a little alleyway of markets to buy the trappings of a proper Paris picnic.  I grabbed a small bottle of wine. Although was curious how I would open said bottle without a cork screw, I figured since this was Paris, someone was bound to have a proper bottle opener.  I stopped at the requisite boulangerie  for a small baguette and found a little fromagerie.  I bought a small wheel of stinky soft goat cheese, and the ladies of the store helped me pop the top on the bottle.  They were total pros at such biz.  I then finished my stroll over to resplendent Invalides.  

Once at Invalides, I tried to decide if I had been inside prior.  There was a Military History museum inside, which I did not remember visiting prior but I recognized Napoleon's tomb.

The rains returned and I found some shade under a tree to have my picnic of bread and cheese with a tomato, and some fine Bordeaux to wash it down as I stared at the effulgent gold dome.  I watched the rains pass as I started on Ethics by Spinoza.  Absolutely fascinating stuff.  I will share more on that later. 

After lunch, I made my way over to Quartier Latin, wandering down Rue Danton and past the statue of the great French Revolutionary ("il nous faut de l'audace, et encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace"—"We need audacity, and yet more audacity, and always audacity!).

I meandered my way back along the Quai d'Orsay as foreboding clouds rolled through the dark afternoon.  On the way back, I bumped into a statute of the former Ambassador to France, Monsieur Thomas Jefferson.  Quite a lovely first day in Chez Paris.

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