Flower day

Tram inside

We took the Metro underground and made a connection to an above-ground tram, which meant we had a view! We rode oh-so-quietly along the Seine downstream, picked a station to hop off, and headed toward the Bois de Boulogne—a huge park that once was a hunting preserve outside the city, much like Windsor was to London. In 1783, this was where the first Montgolfier hot-air balloon was flown untethered. In 1814, after Napoleon’s defeat, abdication, and exile to Alba, 40K British and American troops camped here, cutting down trees and otherwise intensively occupying the landscape, leaving it quite ravaged. The park was created in the 1850s. The builders installed an extensive irrigation system with pipes going everywhere. Crews planted lawns, meadows, and 420K trees (says Wikipee).


We encountered this sign above a restaurant not far from the trolley station. I thought that’s not the kind of place I want to eat…rather have the not-bones part of the fish….

Seine downstream

We crossed the Seine safely on a vehicle-busy bridge, then continued downstream.

Rehab building

We passed this building undergoing rehab, slowly. Interesting architectural details.

Fleur jaune

Here, outside the paving stones and micro-mananged enviroment on the old city, I found wildflowers! Fleur jaune.

Dunno blue

Tiny fleur bleu.

Nibbled violet

Fleur mauve.

Partial moat

We left the Bois and passed over this almost-moat and into a garden—jardin.

Conservatory jardin

The main part was a large central conservatory (the palm house, natch), and six flanking arch-topped greenhouses in two trios.

Fleur rouge

Fleurs rouge.

Fleurs blancs

Fleurs blancs.

Fleurs jaunes

Fleurs jaunes.

Jean Moréas

Then, we turned back toward the apartment. First, we passed through a poets’ corner…this is Jean Moréas (1856–1910), who was born to an Athens family and originally named Ioannis A. Papadiamantopoulos. He came to Paris to study law. I think of him as Mr. Moustache.

Champignons de Paris

Back in our neighborhood, we made a quick store stop (milk for coffee!), and I found this carefully packed box of white button mushrooms (champignons de Paris), stunningly aesthetic and appealing.

Quiche foursome

Okay, food pick—tonight’s quiche foursome. Plus salad.

Water-centric exploring

Ecole militaire

Kinda drippy, so we drank coffee and pondered the universe, leaving just before the drippiness was predicted to end at noon. The large building on the left is the main building of the École Militaire complex, a military school for training officers, founded in 1750. Thought it appropriate that two Jeeps awaited a green for their left turns….

M ecole militaire

École Militaire is also a Metro station, one of those close to our habitation.

Bastille monument

We took a train (no changes!) to the Bastille station, about a half-hour ride. When we emerged from the earth, the weather slowly clearing. This is the monument in the Place de la Bastille. Of course, the famous prison is long gone. It initially was built mostly in the late 1300s as a fort to reinforce the east side of Paris and to protect the adjacent city gate, Porte Saint-Antoine, with its drawbridges; the building was modified over subsequent centuries. Within decades, the fortress was sometimes used to hold prisoners; by the mid-1400s, it was the state prison used by the king, who also hosted dignitaries there—a multifunction complex…. Anyway, that’s an older version of the prison that became the symbol for the revolution in July 1789. By November of that year, the prison was mostly destroyed. By 1792, the area was a square honoring liberty, with a central fountain added in 1793.

The name bastille is probably rooted in bastide, a medieval term for a fortress. I don’t know if the term was attached to this fortress from the beginning, or the name came later….


Part of the ditch that fortified the Bastille is now the Bassin de l’Arsenal, mostly used by houseboats—some quite commodious. It was a commercial port until 1983. That boat on the left is named Ypie, I’m thinking the pronunciation is yippee.

Fleurs jaunes

We followed the lock (écluse) to the Seine and turned downstream toward the famous islands. This was in the upstream park on Île Saint-Louis. Pretty!

Omelette pork shank

At the other end of the island, we lunched at a brasserie we’ve visited several times before. We discovered it was unusually jammed by many tables of rugby fans, in Paris for the national playoff (I think). Rah!

The Guru had a ham and cheese omelette with fries; I had a pork shank, roasted with homemade applesauce. I took a gamble on my dish, not even looking up jarret de port grillé before ordering. Sometimes you have to live on the wild side (even if it’s a limited wild side).

Our lady back

After escaping the sweat-inducing heat of the dining room, we headed on to the Île de la Cité, arriving on the “back side” of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. The building was once painted, and not the stained browns it is now; I have no idea what colors/patterns. I wonder if it’d be safe to assume that most of the exterior was in the cheapest colors; some paint pigments (pigments de peinture) were quite dear in older times.

Ladys stubby towers

We crossed a bridge and began to work our way along the south bank, periodically looking back at the stubby towers of the cathedral. Even stubby, they’re pretty darned tall! By the way, the cathedral’s bells (cloches) are named—mostly with male names, but not exclusively.

Car in motion

Many boats (bateaux) passing by, many large and packed with tourists either on a tour or using them as a taxi between places of interest. This one was an unusual cargo vessel, even transporting a car.

Bridge photog

This is the third gal we’ve seen in bridal gear being photographed (bride is mariée). She looks quite happy. Behind the photo crew were several women in jewel colored gowns—emerald, royal blue—and one in black. I assume they were the bride’s attendants.

Moss moment

I got out the macro lens and looked at mosses that have taken up residence on the railing above the river next to the sidewalk. They are slowly breaking down the stone/concrete. Moss is mousse, which is also the word for foam on top of a latte (latté).

Pain bio

We made quick groc-shopping stops just before heading in for the night (tired feet! happy tourists!). This was in the window of the bakery…pain bio means organic bread.

Express train back

Wall exit

We made our way south to the wall, noticing these red and white plastic…things. Turns out they are a cross between a traffic cone and a barrier wall—see far left. Just outside the wall: train station (gare).

Train symbols

We took the required short shuttle—6 minutes, if I recall correctly—down to the TGV station where we could catch the fast train to Paris. Loved this very helpful graphic of the train engine-and-cars lineup. We were in 02. Note the central location of the bar (bar). (Did not check it out.)

River crossing

We had a non-stop to Paris, zoom zoom. Cannot figure out where this river crossing is; had an incorrect setting on phone, so no geolocation, ooops. No matter. Castle, navigation buoys, boat…that’s enough.

Black wings headdress

Climbing off at Gare du Lyon, this guy presented an arresting view—a LOT of luggage, two huge black bags, each topped with a large smaller bag (one black, one yellow-green), a big blue backpack…and, wha?, black feathered heart-shaped headgear (chapellerie)? I think so.

Pineapple lemon

Making our way from the train station to our street, we went up the Rue Cler, with assorted food shops, including this eye-catching lemon-pineapple (citron-ananas) pairing.

Our neighborhood

Closing in on our street (rue), a tall blocky fountain (fontaine).

Film shoot

All checked in, apartment (appartement) is small, yet good for us and bigger than a hotel room in this price range. The kitchen window faces the center of the block, and there’s a tree and no window right opposite (yay). The bedroom (chambre à coucher or simply chambre) is on the street side; however, it’s a one-way street without much traffic (I think).

First view TE

Ah, our first view of the Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower). No doubt about it! Nous sommes à Paris! (We are in Paris!)

River levels high

The river (rivière or fleuve) remains a bit high, but nothing like the flood stages it has reached earlier this winter.

Cherries by Seine

We found these cherries (cerisier) in bloom by the restaurant boat moorings…this one rented to large parties. The accumulating crowd looked like successful business types…more men than women. However, it was trying to start raining, so we returned to our domicile. En route, we stopped at a market and got milk for tomorrow’s coffee (brought ground coffee with us from Avignon), and assorted yummies for a simple, snacky dinner. Certainly, Paris snacky is far superior to snacks at home.

Upward views, but not only upward

Peeking garden

We set off for the southeast quadrant of the city—inside the walls, of course. Somewhere central to the old city, I found this gnarly garden peeking over the second-story wall. Wonder how mossy it is inside.

Looming belltower

A bit farther, we found this looming belltower, with the “teeth” detail on the spire. If I were a better historic preservationist, I would know the real name for those zipper-teeth features.

Penitents gris

We finally reached the street of the dyers, which has a creek running alongside it. This chapel has its own footbridge for worshippers to cross into it.

Dyers waterwheel

They have left a few waterwheels intact in the creek, and they slowly turn turn turn. In the walls, we could see the sockets for the axles of missing ones. Not sure what the waterwheel power was used for; the adjacent buildings are mostly residences, with a few converted(?) into offices. Nothing looks like the workplace of dyers.

Dyers street restaurant

We lunched at the restaurant under the curved awning around the curve in the rear-ground.

Vege lunch

I had the veg lunch: hot leek puree soup, a quiche of onion with sweet potato chunks on top, and a salad with assorted veg, including raw bicolor beets.

Silver tree

From there, we went to the south city wall, crossed outside briefly, then made our way north, toward the river, staying east of the ex-pope-complex.

Outside wall river edge

We crossed outside the wall, and managed to dash across several lanes of traffic (when the traffic wasn’t there), to walk along the river. I wondered how close the water was to the city walls in medieval times.

Bridge to nowhere

We wandered west along the water, saw a free pedestrian ferry that crosses to the island, back and forth. It doesn’t look like an island because it’s a big one. We watched the ferry get caught in the swift current, and maneuver against the river’s force.

One of the tourist spots of Avignon is this bridge stub, originally built between 1177 and 1185. It was the downstream-most bridge of the river, and I imagine toll collection was a fierce business. The bridge was destroyed and rebuilt in the 1200s, and these arches are often dated to the 1340s. The bridge was abandoned in the mid-1600s. The bridge went across the island and a second branch of the Rhône, so it was much longer than it looks here. [Note dandelions flourishing in the lawn.]

Wallport up

We crossed back through the wall, re-entering the old city. As near as I can tell, nowhere along the wall can tourists access the top. The walls seem narrow, but high. Now, anyway.

Seabass dinner

We took a break, then went out for a hot meal. This is my plate, sea bream with assorted veg, including yellow potatoes, purple potatoes, roasted tomatoes orange and red, roasted sweet orange pepper, fresh pea shoots and alfalfa sprouts, with a bit of tasty gravy and fresh bread.

I’ve been craving veg, and I got them today!


Dried fruits nuts market

We start and end the photo-day with market moments. Here’s the morning periodic market nearest us. This vendor offers dried fruits and nuts.

Market packup

Elsewhere it’s pack-up time. Look at these gorgeous cabbages.

Market cleanup

Nearby, the machinery waits to make all pristine again. As if the Saturday-market never was here. In Mexico, this function would be performed by a squad of men with ill-fitting boots and brooms made from twigs.

Exterior piping

Moving on, I’m assuming freezing temps are rare here (duh), as otehrwise there’d be sewage backups on the upper floors.


Came across this demonstration that seemed to indicate that “animals” need to be elevated in importance. They are more imporant living creatures than plants? I am confused…okay to kill plants but not critters? I struggle with these arguments.

We kept walking.

Apple store reflection

Presto! We’ve logged another Apple store!

Scenic street

And onward to a chronologically later neighborhood, with straight streets and vertical-walled buildings. Seems rigid after “our” part of the city (and its web of narrow streets). And beautiful in its away.

Church tower view

Looming church tower. They do that.

Tartare de salmon gravlax

Jump in time to…our fancy dinner out. This is the Guru’s appetizer, tartare de sauman Gravlax. Salmon with cukes in large, artsy chunks, with a side of leafy greens. Our main courses were lamb shank (him), and simple stewed beef over polenta pavings (me)—both super yummy.

Vibrant restaurant hours

Working our way homeward, we found plazas of tables and boisterous merrymakers. Saturday night, ya know, and a lovely evening it is!

Plane trees reigning

With elegant plane tree branches above.

Checkout choices

Just had to include this…choices at Monop’ checkout (just to the left) this evening: champagne or cactus. Some humor there, in the stocking crew.

New old world

Industrial architecture dawn

We landed in Paris’s airport, and, while taxiing, the pilot welcomed us with the info that it was 28°F out. Brrr! We walked through the terminal for the usual miles of corridors to Customs and baggage claim (no snags either place), finally reaching the area we sought. We watched the dawn light reach the train station just as we did. Handy to be able to switch from airplane to train under the same (extended) roof.

Spring flooded fields

We saw that the fields were still flooded from winter/spring rains. Some bits of ice-glazing among the migratory waterfowl…brrr.

Hopping tree

As always, with fast-train photography, trees hopped in front of the lens at the moment of capture.

Limestone bluff

We saw this bluff for some miles, seeming like it was urging us southward. We crossed many rivers, and this is before we began crossing the Rhône.


Thanks to geolocation by the Guru, we now know this was Éguilles. That accented e means say “eh,” and usually indicates that at some time long ago, there was a consonant following it that is now “gone.” Gone consonant. Language evolution.

Train cut

Of course, trains must run along near-level routes, so we saw bridges and cuts.

Marseille sign

Aha! Welcome to Marseille. No “s” at the end as in the Midwest. Another case of missing consonants? Perhaps, no, ADDED consonants. The breaks in the letters are deliberate, to look like marble, perhaps?

Arch of reborn

We walked west from the train station, and by this major architectural feature. In western architecture history, whence comes the arch? The Romans surely loved them. Didn’t the much earlier Sumerians use them, too?

Our balcony

See that corner balcony? That’s off our main living floor. Yes, our apartment has two living floors, the main one, and a sleeping loft. AND above that is a terrace, surrounded by potted plants and incredibly lovely. Let me say that the stairs and ladders are interesting terrain for a recovering foot. [Yes, I holler down to the Guru, I am being VERY careful!

Cathedral sunset

Settled in our apartment, we head out to enjoy the final light of the day, highlighting the facade of the cathedral…

Wheel sunset

…and backlighting the Giant Ferris Wheel so many cities consider de rigour these days. Curious cultural juxtaposition to have the cathedral and wheel face each other (as it were).


A final stop at our neighborhood bakery for quiche and several dough (dough and cheese—like pizza, tasty sauce; dough and veg and sardine bits—surprisingly salty and yummy) combos. This one is for with coffee tomorrow.

About tomorrow, late post because we have been up since ATL, except for short train naps. My fitness device shows steps for all hours since midnight, except for one on the plane when I was watching “Three Billboards…,” and one when I napped on the train. At days’ end, we managed to download the photos and quickly flip through them, but no dice on the brain-power to get them posted and compose words. So, these words come from tomorrow….

Bittersweet ultimate

Causeway bridge

Today we left causeway-world. But not before we did important things.

Macro shellface

Like playing with the macro lens.

Macro sanddollar

Including looking at an eroded sand dollar, complete with sand grains.

Four pelicans

We watched birds, including the cruising small-packs of pelicans.

There was of course lots of laughing and some tale-telling. We read, we relaxed. Life was darned pleasant.

Partial rainbow

Just as we were organizing ourselves in the parking lot to depart, a rainbow section emerged.

Sigh. And now the salt-water coast is behind us.

Covered some ground

Concrete tunnel

The title is apt for our day; we did cover some ground. We also kinda went underground through this tunnel. I could not even read the last line of the sign “No trucks except standard height…” because, irony of ironies, truck-roofs had so damaged it that the letters have been bashed to near-oblivion.

Tunnel of trees

We also went through tunnels of trees. The green is beginning to pop. (Apologies for the insect grease.)


Then we made it to the ocean! Yay, Atlantic! Substantial marine layer for after noon…. Thanks, K!

Goodyear replaced wingfoot one

Southbound, we dodged some serious traffic, as the Day-tone-uh race (rrrrrrrr) was underway as we slipped south past it, keeping thousands of vehicles in actual parking lots and not out on the roads. Above we could see the Wingfoot One, but without the customary Goodyear name…and instead a hashtag advertising a Goodyear ad-video that will premier tomorrow.

Egret handicapped

Safely past the motor mecca, we headed for a place that advertised it’s fine view. Walking through the parking lot, we were glad we found a regular space, as apparently handicapped vehicles get special avian…attention…the kind that can damage the paint job.

Sunset diner view

Turns out the restaurant gave us seats to a terrific sunset show, and decent enough food. Won’t go back, but it was perfect for this evening.

Tired, we reached our destination. Yawn. G’night.

Gung Hei Fat Choi!

Church in Sun

Rural small towns in the Deep South: you will find churches, but not usually this large and fancy.

Wall artifacts

You will also find evidence that there used to be more buildings.

Spn moss ness

Go far enough south, and you will see Spanish moss (not a moss at all) festooning the trees, often oaks.

Pine plantation

Monocropping trends towards trees and…

Cotton bolls

…cotton (decorative sample). Also pecans and sometimes peanuts (neither pictured).

Horse hoofprints

The soils tend to be sandy, sometimes nearly white. You may see horse hoofprints.

Small town Fri night

And you know you’re in a small town when the restaurant puts the game to keep the kids occupied out in the street.

* (Chinese) Happy New Year!

No moguls here

Dekays brown snake

This story-of-the-day’s-walk is self explanatory and has no plot: Look! A Dekay’s brown snake! Right there!

Decorative kale

The other story takes longer to write although I took it in in about three glances. I have no picture* for it—too scary-sad for my personal taste. We were walking down a side street—no traffic, and the road was smoother than the sidewalks. And I saw up ahead lots of small pieces of broken, rotten branches. I said, oooooh, I’m not walking right there; looks like that tree is shedding! Then I realized that the small black car parked along the curb had four star-breaks in the windshield—thankfully, not broken all the way. But.

* In the kale-substitute photo, I quite how the droplets are lensing the sky above….