Tuesday, September 11, 2012
A Little Rain Never Hurt Anyone
Our travels today had us heading up towards the Left Bank, then walking several miles, mostly in places that we have never been before. The problem was that once we exited the Cite Metro station, the rain began falling and never let up all day. It proved to be a bigger problem to Paris drivers than to us as we breezed through intersection after intersection where all traffic was gridlocked to a standstill. We quickly learned that if all we could hear up ahead was the blaring of horns, there was a traffic jam. If it was quiet, then we had turned down a small side street where there was no traffic.
For some time we walked along the Seine, and saw a number of boats moored. With the rain everything was closed up or is it, battened down. The boats and rain definitely brought back memories of an unforgettable day during our boat trip on the Canal Du Midi a few years ago. We were also impressed with the sheer number of people out in the rain, especially at the tourist sites. Maybe they only had so many days to see Paris, and come rain or high water they were going to be out being tourists, and now that I think about it, that sounds just like us too.
Linda looks like the quintessential Paris tourist, umbrella braced against the fierce gales, the rain lashing about, and all the while she is looking at the thousands upon thousands of locks that adorn another Paris bridge. There’s more to this than meets the eye though. A few minutes earlier I had led us across this bridge in the opposite direction only to discover we weren’t supposed to cross it, but rather, we should have walked in the other direction.
It had been raining so hard when we crossed it the first time that we took shelter for a while in one of the passages into the Louvre. Then as we stood there a woman tried to pull the ring scam on us. The one where they find a ring by your feet, bring it to your attention and while you are distracted an accomplice picks your pocket. Linda’s immediate outburst of NO, NO Get Away, had the woman going in one direction and the two young men with the same complexion who were only inches behind us, moving in the other direction. No damage done and now Linda has her own pickpocket story she can tell. The best part was that she was so excited by it that she forgot all about my leading her in the wrong direction in the first place.
To say that George Sand was unconventional in a time when women were supposed to be lady’s of refinement would be an understatement. In school you were likely made aware of two George’s, George Sand and George Eliot, two women writers who used men’s names as their pseudonym. This was a detour in a heavier than usual downpour to see the past and while Linda had no clue as to who George Sand was, she could tell from how excited I was at seeing this building and plaque that it definitely meant something special to me. When we get back to the States I will see about buying one of each of their books, likely Indiana or Pauline by Sand and Silas Mariner or The Mill on the Floss by Eliot, then after reading them once again, I’ll pass them on to Linda to read. I know she would like them, and it would make this wet morning visit mean even more.
I have to say that the harder it rained, the smarter we got, discovering the the huge Churches in the area made for a place of refuge in more ways than one. This is the Saint Germain de Pres Church and it is interesting for several things, one of which is its massive pipe organ. The other is that it retains much of the colors in its interior. Originally all these churches had painted interiors, not the bare stone we see today, and while the paint is faded, it still shows what once was. Note the green columns as well as the painted designs to the right of the photo. The rain made for a dark, almost gloomy interior, their were still occasional bursts of beauty.
This statue of the Holy Virgin, illuminated by the candles placed below, was one where it seemed every visitor to the churched paused for a while.
Another Church, this time one we had previously visited not long ago. After that fruitless search for the clue, Linda had studied all the passages in The Da Vinci Code that dealt with St. Sulpice Church, and this time she knew exactly where to look. Still, the result was the same, but at least now we know what the line running down the obelisk and across the floor is for. But that darned rain meant clouds which meant no ray of sun shining on the floor, which means next time we are in Paris we will just have to come back again.
This was not the norm today. The norm was sidewalks half this width or less. None of that slowed Linda down, which I guess was a good thing.
The fresh seafood counter in the Monoprix. The fish monger stands in front of the counter just like the customers, then you show him what you want and he wraps and prices it. As always it is just not only what they have, it is also how it is displayed that makes us say, wow!
Speaking of food, tomorrow is once again bring the market under the elevated tracks just down the street. An interesting thing is that even though the tracks are so close, we have never heard the trains, and we know they run there because we have ridden on them coming back from our adventures in the other parts of town.
It may have been a rainy day, and maybe the Eiffel Tower was shrouded in the mist when we returned to our apartment, but our day had been great. As I write this the rain and most of the clouds are gone, dusk is fast approaching and the lights on the Eiffel Tower will soon be on. As always I have left out most of what we did today, and tomorrow will be the same. It promises to be a very, very long but rewarding day. Our only hope is that the rain is now over and tomorrow will be nice. Anyone who has visited Versailles knows what tomorrow brings. And it looks like Linda does too, especially since she spent an hour this evening with her noise buried in our guide book’s section on the Palaces and the Gardens.
Something tells me I had better use the train ride out to Versailles to read what she did, otherwise there are going to wrong turns made and words said. I will promise myself that I will absolutely not, under any circumstances tomorrow, no matter how trying, turn to Linda and say to her, “But I thought YOU read the guide book.”