We’ve settled into a little apartment in Montmartre for the week. This one’s on the 7th floor (Americans, read 8th), but fortunately, there is a functioning ascenseur (elevator), because this time in Paris, we had to bring ALL our luggage back from La Rochelle, including every book I’ve bought since we got here. We still have plenty of opportunity to climb stairs. Our nearest Metro stop is 112 steps below the street entrance. (There’s a sign.)
Courtney spent one night with us before flying home on Sunday. Here she is still looking happy even after tramping up and down the hills of Montmartre.
After we saw her off at the airport, we had an excellent conversation with the philosopher-cum-cab driver, who drove us back to the apartment. As usual, David primed the pump by asking a question in English that I translated into French, which always gets things going. Then if there’s a lull, he’ll offer another question for me to translate. Monsieur Taxi insisted that David and I haven’t just visited another country. By staying a while and living as we have, we’ve actually added a second culture to our native culture and have been enriched by it. Not just because it’s French, although he was certainly proud of France, but simply that le voyage and l’histoire–which means both history and story–have more to offer a person than cars or houses or any other material thing. I’d love for you to leave your opinion in the comments section, but we certainly agreed with him.
In that spirit, we decided to go have a look at a bit more of what Paris has to offer, like l’Arène des Lutèce, where intergenerational groups play soccer (le foot) in a first-century arena. Here’s a bit of the beautiful square right next to the arena.
A few blocks further is the Jardin des Plantes, where we saw this . . .
Eventually made our way over to Ile Saint-Louis, where we found the restaurant Aux Anysetiers du Roy for lunch. It was like time travel back to the Middle Ages. Here’s what’s on the wall on the way up to the WC.
The building was constructed in 1617, and the walls were eventually painted to add to the ambiance, although if I understood correctly, only about 100 years ago. Still. Impressive, non?
And here’s the sink. You turn on the water with the knobs on the side of the tank.
After lunch we crossed the bridge over to Ile de la Cité and decided to check out the Crypte archéologique du Parvis Notre-Dame, so a bit more of that surreal sense of existing in multiple eras at once–ancient stone walls all around and several super cool 3-D touch-screen displays that allowed you to swoop in on Notre Dame and see it at various points between 1163 and 1350:
Ended the day on our little balcony with this view, (slightly zoomed in):
M. Philosophe-Chauffeur reminded us that everyone can learn something new every day–that history is everywhere. There’s a story behind every painting, every church, every garden. You just have to give yourself time to hear it. Happy learning!