Thursday, July 27, 2017

Joan of Arc and Lady Liberty

July 27, 2017 – Wednesday and Sunday are the market days for our Grenelle neighborhood.  I like to rise fairly early so that I can process photos and write before 10AM, which seems to be the ideal time to walk through the outdoor market on the boulevard de Grenelle.  By that time, the vendors are completely set up, even the latecomers, and the shoppers are shopping.  There are others like me who just walk through the middle of the market, gazing at the wares in each stall, looking at all the people, without buying anything. 

The Lulu dans ma Rue stall in the Grenelle market.

I combine this walk up and down the length of the Grenelle market with a walk up to the rue Cler, a pedestrianized market street.  In between, I walk along the end of the Champ de Mars, with the war college on my right and the peace pavillion on my left -- war and peace.

After walking through the pedestrianized section of rue Cler, I walk home via the rue de Grenelle and the Champ de Mars.

Yesterday, as I was walking from the boulevard de Grenelle to the rue Cler, a couple of the young women who I call the “do-you-speak-English scammers” were behind me.  They were pestering everyone they passed, trying to scam them.  Most people brushed them off quickly.  A few who had not encountered them before, or who had not been warned about them, were taken in for a few moments – but not for long. 

Two female scammers walking behind me at the end of the Champ de Mars

Scammers bothering a tourist as his wife is trying to catch up with him.

One poor man couldn’t get away from the scammers because he was waiting for his wife to cross the street, wheeling her suitcase behind her.  Jet-lagged tourists hauling luggage are favorite targets for the scammers, I’m sure.

Yesterday the scammers never approached me, even though they were in front of me, behind me, and passing me several times along that end of the Champ.  I was looking very Parisian, I guess, with my black clothes, gray silk scarf, and sunglasses even on a cloudy day.  So I wasn’t taken as a tourist.
But I did have my camera in my palm, and I took a couple photos, surreptitiously, of the scammers at “work.”  I really wanted to get away from them, but wasn’t able to do so until I crossed the boulevard de la Bourdonnais, leaving the Champ behind me.

In the afternoon, the five of us went for a walk up the Ile aux Cygnes to the Pont de Bir Hakeim.  We paused to look at the Monument de la France Renaissante, which is a gorgeous statue reminiscent of Joan of Arc on her horse, symbolic of the spirit and power of France.  I love that this symbol of power is the image of a strong woman, and I was sure to point that out to Olivia and Sarah.  They thought that was very cool.

Monument de la France Renaissante

A little earlier, we'd looked at the Statue of Liberty at the other end of the Ile aux Cygnes.  Strong women at each end of the Ile -- that was not simply happenstance.  This Statue of Liberty originally faced east, toward the Eiffel Tower,  It was turned to face west, in the direction of her big sister in New York City, in 1937, for the World's Fair.  Look what happened to liberty in France in the next several years!  Never forget.

This Statue of Liberty was moved to Japan for a year in 1998, then returned to Paris in 1999 -- all 14 tons of her.
Looking up at the Statue of Liberty on the Ile aux Cygnes

We dined well at Le Blavet on rue Lourmel last night.  Dan and I had the duck breast, while Tom and the girls had the beef filet.  Lovely starters and desserts were consumed as well.  The restaurant, one of our longtime favorites, offers delicious food at good value.

The girls were absolutely exhausted.   This morning, Dan and the girls left very early to take their flight home to Louisville.   The girls said it was a wonderful vacation – all three weeks of it – in France, Spain, and Italy.

In their absence today, Tom and I set about a thorough housecleaning of the apartment.  The cleaning lady is on vacation in Portugal, so the job is ours.  But who better to vacuum and to dust the thousands of books than a professor emeritus from The Ohio State University, who has a Ph.D. in American Literature from Indiana University and a B.A. from Duke?  Who better to scrub all the germs and grime away from the bathroom and kitchen than a science writer who worked for a research institute and a college of engineering?

We did it.  The place is gleaming, and quiet.
The Eiffel Tower as seen from the Pont de Bir Hakeim

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