Monday, October 31, 2005

Paris--day 9

The weather has finally improved, though many people would probably disagree with me about that. We finally got a little rain, and the temperature has dropped. It was such a relief.

Yesterday, we had a quiet day, watched the Generali Ladies Linz (that is, until Eurosport rudely interrupted it to show something else), and did some shopping. We strolled slowly, but covered a lot of territory. Today, we visited the Jardin des Plantes, next to the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle. We didn't go to any of the museum galleries, but remained outside, enjoying the rose garden, the maze, and the lovely Alpine garden. The Jardin des Plantes is France's main botanical garden, and displays a wide array of plants in a varied and gorgeous environment.

After we visited the gardens, we strolled through the neighborhood, a section of the Latin Quarter that was new to us. Many of the shops were closed, but there were dozens of open bars and cafes. A peek in the lobby of the Timhotel was a highlight for me. Shockingly bright yellow armchairs with tiny pink and and some other color (I forget which) polka dots can be seen from across the street. The reception desk holds a large container of yellow mums and a second container of yellow flowers. The entire front and side of the reception desk is covered with botanical tiles to reflect the nearby Jardin des Plantes.

I am always a close observer of detail, but I find that in Paris, one must be extra-vigilant, for the most seemingly insignificant environment may house a treasure. We passed a bakery whose bottom window shelf displayed a cake decorated entirely in turn-of-the-century little-boy sailors.

It always seemed to me a silly romantic American cliche that French people walk around carrying baguettes, but now I see that they really do. While we were at the Jardin des Plantes, we even saw a crow carrying half a baguette. I wanted a photograph, but by the time I had the correct lens, the bird had flown away with its prize. I found it later, but by then, it was nibbling on the ground instead of walking or flying with the half baguette in its mouth.

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