Walking, walking, walking in Paris. I stayed on the left bank of the Seine this time for some reason, though in other trips I've walked along the right. I thought about taking a boat taxi but the weather was so nice, and I wasn't in a hurry. There weren't a lot of people walking quayside with me, but many people on the bridges taking pictures, and even a just-married couple getting their wedding photos done with Notre Dame in the background, or perhaps the Louvre. The water was down fairly low, unlike the last time I was in Paris, when they had to cut the boat taxi route short because the water was flooding high and fast.
Under the bridges it smells like pee sometimes, and sometimes like dead leaves, but rarely like fish. In a few of the bridges there are enclosed archways that people sleep in, judging from the flattened cardboard and occasional litter around them. Even in the City of Light, there are people who live on the darker side.
Although I never smelled any fish, they must be there, because there are always a few people with lines and poles. I thought that the rescue squad teams (tight red wetsuits for the firemen, tight black ones for the policemen - yum!) were fishing people out with their ropes and pulleys, but the delicious man I asked when I saw the second team said they were just practicing, that day.
When Mom and John were here, we went by the garden barges that were just being built as part of the "Les Berges" project on the left bank. All along the river there are small food courts now, and tables with chessboards and things painted on them; there are exercise areas and playgrounds for children, and lengths of wooden beams in various configurations for sitting and watching the water go by, and the garden plantings both on the quay and on the barges. I walked by a couple with an East Coast accent taking pictures of each other and offered to take a photo of them both, and sent my regards back to New Jersey with them. They asked me where I was from, and without thinking about it I said, "Oregon, but I live in France now." So I suppose I do.
|Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine|
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine
Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure
|The Seine flows under the Mirabeau Bridge|
Carrying our loves along with it
I must remember them, and that
Happiness always comes after heartache
Night falls, the bells chime the hour
Days flow away like this flowing water, but I remain
- Guillaume Apollinaire, "Le Pont Mirabeau" (1912)