Sunday, May 15, 2011

toujours penser à Paris

Still thinking of Paris and keeping up with my little French learning new words and expressions. I found a great helper in that - Kristin Espinasse's book Words in a French Life based on her blog French Word a Day. This book is helping me: learning French words and expressions; learning from an experienced blogger, and her cultural comparisons - American versus French - is prompting me to go over my own experience adapting to American life. But that would be a different story.... These are "out of date" memories but I have been trying to keep away from my computer - one of the things I have to do to encourage my shoulder to heal. I returned to exercises in pool, going to physical therapy, keeping up with exercises at home and going for long walks. But today is so rainy day that nothing can be done outside and it is Sunday, so I decided to open a picture folder called Paris and to look into sub folder named street scenes.

I still have seen the Statue of Liberty in New York City only from Staten Island ferry or Manhattan, but in Paris had a chance to get close to it. In appreciation for the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, on July 4, 1889 Americans living in Paris erected a small replica, about 35 feet high, of the Statue of Liberty. It is mounted next to the Pont de Grenelle, a bridge crossing the Seine, 1.5 km South of the Eiffel Tower. Not too many tourists obviously try to get close to this statue, so there is a camp of homeless people next to it. But there is actually quite nice walk on Isle de Grenelle towards the Eiffel Tower that allows to appreciate the ironwork and sculptures on bridges.
To get around Paris the best way is to buy Paris Pass. Which one to choose, really depends how long one is staying. We had weekly passes and it is good to know that instead of sightseeing bus, you can choose Bus No.69 which covers most of "tourist objects". The other option is to walk around which I enjoyed a lot. To drive in Paris is possible - there are lots of cars on streets, but you can choose this option if you have superb parking skills. Some examples of necessary parking can be seen in pictures.

If your car is an art work, then may be you are allowed to park in No Parking zone
No wonder that people choose to live on Seine where parking is not so complicated as on streets. Some of these houseboats are for rent - approximately 470 euros for 2 nights...

Some houseboats even have a little garden, modern kitchen and fireplace...
During our stay in Paris we were more traditional and rented a studio apartment in Le Marais, near Hotel de Sully, across from Eglise Saint Paul and next to Metro station Saint Paul (opened in 1900). Staying in the apartment gave some illusion of "living in Paris", of course, walking on the street I was missing necessary companion, so I could not pass for la véritable parisienne.

These little friends are cute and I do like dogs but I could not stop to wonder in Paris how come that these little dogs are leaving so big piles after them. These fancy ladies did not have any plastic bags or desire to clean up after their showpieces.
Well, streets are being cleaned by running water - they just open faucets and let a stream of water to run and wash everything away. I do not know how often it happens, so watching your step while walking in Paris is useful.
Sometimes walking can take to unexpected places like this little path next to Palais Decouverte - Paris Science Museum since 1937. I mentioned it in one of my previous entries.
I felt like I am entering a secret garden.

I noticed two middle age people a man and a woman. First I thought that they were here on a date but then I noticed - they were not talking but watching something, and I decided to satisfy my curiosity. The creature they were observing was a muskrat.
The man soon left, and the woman looked at me and finding me trustworthy took out a carrot from her bag. The muskrat obviously was expecting this move and gladly accepted the treat. I said in French
Il reconnaît vous. The woman answered me that yes, she comes here every day. I felt excited that I have a chance to practice my minimal French but not for long. The woman switched to English and told me that she teaches philosophy in Sorbonne and visits this place on her way home. She was kind but soon I felt that I am interrupting her connection with her pet and I walked away.

 The sun was going down, and it was time for me "to go home" to prepare for "opera night".

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