Mad Scientess Jane Expat (nanila) wrote,
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Paris, 23 June 2010: Montparnasse & Bois de Boulogne

On our final day in Paris, becala expressed a desire to attempt to find a rooftop garden she’d stumbled upon years ago. The internets indicated that there was one located above the Montparnasse railway station. We duly hopped on the metro to see it. It turned out not to be the one she’d seen previously. The angular modern metal statuary blindingly reflected the harsh mid-day sunlight. We agreed that it was probably better when floodlit at night.

Not a good pavement to navigate drunk


Jardin Atlantique central sculpture

Jardin Atlantique sculpture, detail

Since we were so close, it would have been silly not to visit the Montparnasse cemetery, where Serge Gainsbourg, Charles Baudelaire, Jean-Paul Satre, Simone de Beauvoir and Henri Poincare are buried. I’m rubbish at finding graves because I always get distracted by captivating statuary, which is usually on the graves of non-luminaries. We only found the first two because of the sharp-eyed Erics.

Grave of a chess master


Serge Gainsbourg, singer

Our metro tickets for Serge

If I kiss her passionately enough, she won’t notice where my hand is

No, but I do

August Rubin, paedo? *frown*

Ricardo’s cat

Charles Baudelaire, poet

Guardian lion

Monument to a dead child

We’d worked up quite an appetite by the time we left, so we heeded the belly rumbles and went to a creperie nearby. The others opted for savoury buckwheat pancakes, but I wanted something sweet, so had a honey-lemon wheat crepe, which disappeared in under two minutes.

Our last big adventure, a visit to the Bois de Boulogne, the large park on the outer western edge of the city, didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. I had visions of something along the lines of Regents Park, which is pedestrianized and easy to navigate to beautiful gardens simply by meandering. Bois de Bologne isn’t like that. It permits vehicular traffic, of which there was an abundance, and it was much too large to navigate without a specific target. It was also blisteringly hot. We quickly found a shady spot to have cool drinks and watch retired Frenchmen play cards with silent ferocity.

By the time we made our way back to the 10th arrondissement, there remained only a couple of hours before I must board the Eurostar for London. I stopped by two markets to pick up wine and cheese, which I’ve promised to the bloke. I found some lovely soft cheeses at an open-air market, including Crottin de Chauvignol, Tarentais and the old classic Camembert. I'm inordinately proud of myself for conducting the entire multi-sentence transaction in French. Paris still had one more surprise in store for me. As I shuffled to the Gare du Nord, laden with booty, a French boy sidled up next to me and said hello. He tried to guess my nationality, then produced his phone and made meaningful gestures towards it. I’m highly amused by the idea of attempting to conduct a flirtation using mutually incomprehensible languages by phone. I laughed and refused. He smiled and wandered off, apparently not the least bit offended.
Tags: france, paris, travel
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