Saturday, March 21, 2009

Snapshots of Paris

Well, that was a swift trip. Up there on Wednesday, work on Thursday, back on Friday. Train both ways with lengthy books.
   The general strike on Thursday seemed to have little effect in Paris apart from thinning the traffic along the quais. Someone told me this was because many people took a day off rather than face with what turned out to be no chaos at all.
   The metro was running--I learned this after I'd worked 40 minutes from the hotel to my appointment. That over, I ducked underground and metro-ed to Opera for lunch and a quick look at the clothes in Galeries Lafayette. 
   But it was too summery to be indoors. I started walking back in the vague direction of Ile de la Cité avoiding the grands boulevards, letting narrow streets take me where they wanted and coming upon an entire glass-covered alleyway lined with shops selling nothing but old postcards, stamps and coins.
   The day was warm enough to have filled outdoor seats at all the cafés  in 
Rue Montorgueil to bursting.
   Cyclists, pedestrians, dog walkers including this couple with the matched set of poodles, everyone was making the most of the sunshine.
   I crossed over to Notre Dame. Kids see-sawed and chased each other in the gardens to the south. As usual, the flowers in the formal gardens intrigued me. Whoever designs the plantings always choses unexpected combinations. This time, santolina and chard were in the mix. On the left bank, you could buy a print of this grand and graceful cathedral and just stand there in the sunshine and gaze and gaze at the real thing.

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