Sunday, 11 March 2018
Our first stop of the day (other than the shower haha)…. This is a massive structure. It dwarfs the arches we saw in/by the Roman forum. Cops are earning their salary today…?!
Beneath the arch is a perpetual flame honoring war dead (WWI). There’s a large brass plaque set in the pavement with the dates for each war. Oddly moving, even with the crowds burbling by, mostly inattentive to the flame, instead focused on where to line up to ascend to the top of the monument (€12; it’s free to do what we did, although it isn’t clear that you don’t have to pay the big €€€€ merely to walk around).
Stopped for lunch at a bistro most of the way down the Champs-Élysées, and it is downhill toward the river…. I had the salade de magret de canard, with green beans, onions, tomato slices, and roasted potatoes. Tasty but not exceptional…what I hoped for.
Didn’t expect this statue of Général Charles De Gaulle. A general-sculpture with no horse.
We’d been seeing this wheel since the Triomphe. It’s next to the huge oval traffic “circle,” at the Place de la Concorde. During the Revolution, many royals/nobles were executed here, when it was surrounded by an octagonal moat. The dead included Queen Marie Antoinette and Madame Du Barry, and over a thousand more.
A few more steps, and we entered the Jardin des Tuileries. I love that the park has many unmoored chairs, which people move around to suit themselves. Look at the crowds!
We found three sets of people playing this game. We didn’t watch terribly long, but it seems that the player throws the baton in such a way that it knocks down one of the pegs and tosses it forward. The player then walks out and stands up the peg in its new, more distant location. In our short period of voyeurism, we could not tell anything else about the game and its strategy.
This is a dead-tree statue by Giuseppe Penone (b. 1947), and is called “L’Arbres des Voyelles” (1999), or the tree of the vowels. Apparently, the “vowels” are five oak trees planted among the upper branches. Can you see a delicate bunch of purple crocuses off the right-most root?
We saw another arch as we approached the Louvre. This one has fancier decorative elements (more gilding) than the Triomphe, and is much smaller. Can you see the glass pyramid through the right arch?
Our bus stop was off to the right. We got into position to wait for a bus, and started watching the oncoming traffic. Most of the buses were for sight-seeing, often with an open upper seating level. Then, we heard motorcycle cops with sirens whooping…several of them…wha? Quickly, we realized that they were the vanguard of a procession.
We were witness to the Toutes en Moto parade—mostly (all?) women on motorcycles and scooters. The lead van stopped right in front of us, and the DJ played a song, then two women ascended and one made a speech. Rousing, I thought, even though I only caught a few nouns…. Then, the riders put out their cigs, put away their selfie-phones, and climbed back on their two-wheelers. Rrrrr-rrrr, and away they went.
This was the final vehicle, and traffic began flowing again. And we noticed that no buses would be stopping at our stop…due to the parade, we assume, so we walked on across the river to where we assumed the detoured route would be.
Found the bus! Saving the feet!
A quick stop at the bakery at the south end of our street (there’s one at each end! Lucky us!), and we ascended to the apartment…and a Camembert snack! Yum.
And wine! Salud!