Thursday, June 12, 2014

Meandering in Paris


The last time we were in Paris a few years ago, David and I jammed our days with museums, seeing all the famous ones and many no one has ever heard of, and, while we enjoyed our ten days, we needed a week of bed rest afterward.  So this time we decided to take Paris a little more slowly, savoring a bit each day instead of gulping huge chunks all at once. Not quite as relaxed as this man who set up his bed on the sidewalk, but almost.

We did have a destination for our first full day in Paris, the Jardin des Plantes or botanical gardens.  Not on a lot of tourist lists, but a pleasant way to ease ourselves into Europe, or so we thought.  These gardens full of ancient trees (some 200 years old) form lots of allees or rows that make a passageway leading to green swaths of grass and little flower gardens and lily ponds.
We quickly despaired, though, of exploring the museums and zoo surrounding the gardens because of the two hundred or so screaming elementary school children.  Seems it was end-of-the-year trip time, and these little children yelled and shouted their delight at being let loose.   David and I decided they could have the gardens, we'd go to lunch. 

We settled at a cafe nearby and I had a croque monsieur, a ham and cheese sandwich,  while David enjoyed a steak sandwich and frites.  A nice treat for €8.
We wandered over to the Gare de l'Est train station, where we'll catch our train on Saturday, and were impressed with the walkways for the blind.  I remembered the trip to Provence in 2007 when my friend broke her leg and had to return to the States early because lack of handicap walkways made navigation in her wheelchair impossible.  It seems that Paris, at least, has become more sensitive to special needs.
We walked back to our apartment, ogling the delicacies in the shop windows, and picking up a baguette, some cheese, and wine for dinner.   This day may not sound exciting to some, but it was a perfect re-introduction for us.

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