Sunday, June 30

I visit Musée Cluny, take a long walk down Boulevard Saint-Germain, and spend a perfect evening in Jardin du Luxembourg.

À Paris aujourd'hui: Ciel plutôt dégâgé, maximales 24C. In Paris today: Mostly sunny skies, a high of 75. My first day without having to wear a jacket or take un umbrella. Agenda: Musée Cluny up the street for medieval stuff, then a visit to Musée Rodin over in the 7th, and later on the outdoor Chopin concert over in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Umbrella = parapluie, perhaps my favorite French word, from "para" meaning "against", as in "parachute" or "paranormal", and "pluie" = "rain".

I'm starting to get just a little bit tired of the tourism and looking forward to the start of classes on Thursday.

When you open those big blue doors of my building, this is the little outdoor corridor you see. My apartment door is on the left edge in the shadows. A little bit of greenery and lots of bicycles, a motorcycle, and often a baby stroller or two. Garbage cans on the right, separate ones for bottles/jars/cans, paper/cardboard, and garbage. I was concerned about noise, but it's actually very quiet. I can hear people come in and go out but my heavy door does a good job of muffling the sound. I wish I had one of those gorgeous French private courtyards with a garden and chairs, but you can't have everything I guess.

Well, you can in fact have everything, but you have to pay for it. I saw some pretty nice rentals available for 5-10 times the outrageous rent I'm paying here.

The courtyard of Musée Cluny. An American couple was playing a game on the chessboard when I arrived.

A tapestry.

Stained glass windows from the Middle Ages.

Sacre de David et Sacre de Louis XII. Prov. Cathédrale d'Amiens. 1501

A processional cross from the second half of the 15th century.

Various game boxes, boards, cards, chess pieces, etc. from 1300-1500.

A typical Parisian news stand, on Boul St-Germain in the 6th.

Armani shop window display on Boul St-Germain, with reflected buildings and clouds. I think this is what they call "fashion", but I know nothing.

At the corner of Boulevard Saint-Germain and rue St. Benoit, in the 6th arrondissement. There's two famous cafés, one on each side of the street.

Les Deux Magots, a hangout for intellectuals in the old days.

And across the street the equally famous Café de Flore.

Just down the street from Musée Rodin. Wasn't I just here a few days ago? I obviously haven't solved my traveling salesman problem. My brain must not be NP-complete. But I think I may be close to solving the drunkard's walk problem.

Went to the entrance of Musée Rodin and decided that I just wasn't up for YADM ("Yet Another Damn Museum"). So I hopped on the métro and went home. Some other day perhaps, when I'm more in the mood. Can I say that I was at Musée Rodin if I was in fact "at" the museum, but didn't actually go inside? :-)

The walk was great, though.

Are those cannon swiveling towards me, or is it just the heat from the sun finally frying my brain after so much walking? Just to be safe, RUN AWAY!

The Faculty of Law of the Sorbonne, across from the Panthéon.

The entrance to my school's administrative building on rue de l'Estrapade, Les Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne.

There's a story behind this street name. From an article on the net:

Paris street names hide many stories, but few can be as gruesome 
as the rue de l'Estrapade. Tucked away behind the Pantheon in the 5th
arrondissement, the street today is quiet, studious and respectable, 
but until the 17th century it was the scene of a quite horrific form 
of torture - the infamous estrapade (or strappado)! 

In Paris, this form of torture - which consists of tying a victim's 
hands behind their back then suspending them from a post by their 
wrists - was used mainly on the city's Protestant population. 
Few survived the punishment, being repeatedly hoisted back up to 
the top of the post then dropped down again, in full view of the 
baying crowds.

Shortly after the estrapade was declared illegal in France, the 
writer and philosopher Denis Diderot moved into a house at the 
number three of this street where he worked on his Encyclopédie. 
His encyclopedia contains a description for the words tortur and 
estrapade, which he points out "n'est plus d'usage, au moins en France".

Whether any traces of the torture were left in the street at the 
time of Diderot is not noted, but nothing survives today. Anyone 
walking this way now would find no descriptions of the street name, 
and no reminders in the road's buildings and commerces. If the 
passer-by then sat down to eat at the 'L'Estrapade' restaurant 
at number 15, they would probably not even stop to reflect after 
finding a plat named 'Suicide au chocolat' on the menu.

Stopped at a pâtisserie and got a Saint Honoré pastry for lunch, named for the French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. I ate it siting in the shade on a bench in Arènes de Lutèce, watching several teams play boules down on the sandy floor of the arena. I don't know whether it was an organized competition or just random games. The pastry was delicious!

Stopped at the Wallace fountain at the base of the stairs of rue Rollin on my way back to the apartment to get a drink and wash my hands. This is called "functional art".

Chopin concert, Jardin du Luxembourg. Arrived too late to get a nice chair. Had to sit on the gravel ground. A bit uncomfortable. But look at that scene with the trees and bandstand. So pretty. This is the same place where I sat 7 years ago and listened to a high school band play John Philip Sousa marches and ate a "jambon" and drank a beer. Scored a chair that time.

Statue and flowers, Jardin du Luxembourg. And kids playing with such gay abandon. All the time. Everywhere. This may be my favorite place in the world.

Children's boats. Jardin du Luxembourg. The kids have big sticks. When the boats come close they push them away again with the sticks and laugh and giggle. Very cute.

Children on horses. Jardin du Luxembourg.

Flowers. Jardin du Luxembourg. There must be an army of gardeners taking care of this park. They're artists.

Stairs. Jardin du Luxembourg. Why this picture? I don't know. It does give you a bit of a feeling for the expanse of the park and how many people come out to enjoy it. Although this is just a small corner of the central section of the park.

Tennis players. Jardin du Luxembourg. See the older couple holding hands? I see that all the time here. Public displays of affection are much more common here than in the States.

Young lovers. Jardin du Luxembourg. These two were so incredibly sweet and so obviously in love, completely oblivious to everything except each other. I was sitting on the grass right next to them with my blanket and wine and cheese. I felt a bit awkward about surreptitiously taking the picture, but I don't think they would have minded. I'm not making a habit of this though.

Picnic. Jardin du Luxembourg. Must have been a celebration of some kind. Lots of champagne toasts going on. Looked like they were enjoying a very nice meal. These folks were also right next to me on the grass.

You have to be careful about the grass in the parks and gardens. Often walking or sitting on the grass is prohibited. Elsewhere, like here, it's explicitly permitted. Signs announce the rules.

Two long strips of grass in this section of the park were jam-packed with people sitting and having a good time.

Woman strolling. Jardin du Luxembourg. My intention was to take a picture showing all the people sitting in the grass. It wasn't until I got home and looked at this photo on my big screen that I realized I had captured this captivating young woman strolling all alone down the path.

Paris on a summer evening. Gotta love those shadows and the pretty sky.

A summer evening in Place de la Contrescarpe. Yes, I live here. Please don't hate me.