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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Paris, 23 June 2010: Montparnasse & Bois de Boulogne [20100630|15:55]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[with a hint of |Emergency Broadcast Network - Behavior Modification/We Will Rock You]

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.

[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2010-06-30 19:50 (UTC)
I wish someday when I die, that I can have a cool headstone/statue! Not that I'd ever know it, being dead and all, but it's still a nice thought...

Did you tell the boy your nationality? I've invented my own for those times when I'm not sure if I want to tell someone my nationality, and it's always entertaining to hear them compliment "my country" and tell me how lovely it is when they want to sell me something!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-07-01 00:02 (UTC)
I told him I was English, mostly because I couldn't immediately remember the word for "American" - which is, er, "americain". :-P My excuse is that it's too obvious.
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From: jerrycoat
2010-06-30 20:13 (UTC)
I'm not a chess master, but I'm definitely having a knocked over chess piece as part of my headstone. Depending on how my life goes, either a pawn or a rook.

They definitely didn't think August Rubin's headstone through.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-07-01 00:09 (UTC)
Auguste Rubin's headstone would have been appropriate for a small child, I felt, but for an old man it just looks creepy.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2010-07-01 11:05 (UTC)
My, that lion is creepy!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-07-23 10:34 (UTC)
(I know you made this comment ages ago, but I don't feel right unless I respond to them.)

Yes, I imagine relatives being rather put off visiting that grave. I wonder if the occupant did that on purpose.
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[User Picture]From: sneakypeteiii
2010-07-06 06:31 (UTC)
You're making me miss Paris! I'd live in Les Gobelins or a sidestreet of Montparnasse, like off of Blvd. Raspail, personally.

Parc Montsouris in the 14eme is my favorite because they have a cute duck pond. Chillens play there all day. Plus, there's a secret entrance to the catacombs nearby. I went to the Bois de Vincennes for a jazz concert one day -- that was quite nice, out West in Zone 3 on the RER A. The local area felt quite comfortable.
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