Saturday, June 1, 2013

Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux

Apologies to my Facebook friends for the nonchronological nature of the posts there, as I'm simultaneously sighing over the end of our vacation and the abundant and excellent champagne and catching up on posting here, where I've only arrived at the day after we got to Paris. That was the 25th, and on Sunday the 26th we went to the Île de la Cité in the morning to see the bird and flower market, and to hear the new bells at Notre Dame (thanks for the tip, John Wilson!). There were birds of exotic and prosaic aspects, and all the things you'd need to house them and feed them and keep them happy. Pigeons were flocking to the street as well, hoping for a chance at some of the millet or sunflower seeds piled on tables or heaped in burlap bags.

A few vendors offered mice or rats or chinchillas as pets, and one stall featured treats for all your furry rodent friends. Frankly, it looked good enough to make a soup out of. I would have bought this stuff to make hiking or camping rations - just add water and cook for a bit, and you've got a gourmet meal! Parisian hamsters must live well.

I wouldn't get a chinchilla, though Mom says their fur is incredibly soft and they're very friendly. And I'm not sure who the target clients were for the exotic chicken breeds like the silkies; I haven't heard of Parisian apartment chickens, and I don't think it's legal to keep them in your gardens in the city. Finches, canaries, parakeets, and all sorts of equatorial songbirds hopped and trilled on either side of the street, painting the air with sound. The flower stalls overflowed with blooms and scents, and some vendors had perfumes and soaps for sale as well.

Not a very large market, but fun to walk through on the way to the other side of the bridge and the cathedral. A small rooster crowed every few minutes, and three French hens dozed in their cage in the middle of the street.

And when we got to the cathedral and poked around a little bit in the souvenir shops - we weren't going to try to get into the cathedral with the crowds going in for mass - the bells rang out as promised. Newly forged and tuned to celebrate the 850th anniversary of the cathedral, they make a glorious cacophony that shivers through the bones and hums in the head with overtones. We were out of the market by then, but I imagine even the birds might have gone silent to listen.

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