Friday, November 4, 2011
I've been trying to walk as much as possible to strengthen the somewhat limited leg function I have after my recent operation. I had been in the habit of walking miles at a relatively fast pace and lately that pace has slowed and the miles have become fewer, leaving me more time to notice the little things I might have zipped by in the past.
The great flood of 1910 had the Seine overflowing its banks and left Parisians suffering for months. On several streets on the Left Bank one can find these markers showing the height of the flood at that time. The one below is near the Boulevard St-Germain, several blocks from the river.
And while we're on the subject of water, these green fountains, known as Wallace fountains for Sir Richard Wallace, who had them built after the Franco-Prussian War to provide free drinking water to the poor, are still operating nearly a century and a half later, with perfectly drinkable water. No need to buy non-green plastic bottles when wandering around Paris, visitors!
Sneaking into courtyards is still one of my favorite pastimes and this one had a lovely vine setting off the almost English mews look of the building, with its whitewashed brick and black curved windows.
And even when I'm not on foot, the irresistible photo op presents itself, as did this one when I was on a bus passing the Assemblée Nationale, the French sort-of equivalent to our House of Representatives. These guys were marching out of the gate to the accompaniment of a drummer. Not the kind of thing you're likely to see on the streets of D.C. Do you think they wear those uniforms going home on the metro?