In the category of useful French vocabulary is the phrase “de garde” which means “on call.” So the pharmacie de garde is the one that’s open 24 hours. The maison medicale de garde is the after-hours clinic. And this weekend I am the assistant director de garde. I am free to flâner (that’s “roam around without a plan”) in Paris but I am checking messages and responding to student emergencies. Here’s what I’ve been up to this weekend other than work:
On Friday morning I came back over to Les Halles to pick up tickets for the Louvre for that night.
The crowded-Metro struggle is real.
At the Les Halles observation deck where you can see the construction project.
I checked out the Louvre courtyard to see where we’d need to enter with our prepaid tickets, because Vicki and Robert and the kids were coming and I didn’t want to make them wait and wander around aimlessly. From the courtyard I walked down through the Tuileries with, apparently, every tourist in Paris:
Someone told me once that when it’s hot in Paris, you go to a park and put your feet in a basin. I didn’t see anyone with their feet actually in the water, but many did have their shoes off.
Looking back toward the Louvre
The green chairs in parks are one of the things I get nostalgic for when I’m not here.
Sometimes it really does seem like translation is unnecessary.
“Gee, Mildred, what do you think salade de fruits could possibly be?”
“I dunno, Harold, we’d better skip it. It could be snails or something!”
At the Louvre with Daniel and Vicki’s clan I decided not to take pictures but just walk around and look. I did take one pic of the newly restored Winged Victory:
I love the placement of this statue at the top of the staircase so you can see it from far away. It’s an arresting focal point. A+ curatorial work, Musée du Louvre.
Daniel took a pic of us in front of the Mona Lisa, but if you want to see it, you’ll have to read his blog.
Oh, wait . . .
The major weekend highlight was seeing the Alvin Ailey dance company at Théatre du Châtelet. They were incredible and the French audience LOVED them. Also, the theatre is gorgeous:
I had this hilarious folding seat on the end of a row. It was pretty comfortable but every time I stood up/sat down I had to do origami.
I am not Alice Jane Knight, obviously. She is my colleague who sold me her ticket.
Anna Pavlova appeared for the first time in Paris at Théatre du Châtelet in 1909. Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes also premiered there.
This morning (late) we went to the OTHER Breakfast in America (original/Left Bank version) for brunch and ended up next to a French couple with whom we (Daniel) struck up a conversation. I had to laugh because he grew up in Madagascar and she is Polish and yet like everyone in Paris they grumbled about the problems caused by immigration. In any case it was fun to meet some new people and have a traditional French arm-waving exchange about social issues. Americans are routinely taught not to discuss politics, religion, etc. with foreigners but we (Daniel) have jumped right in on many occasions and never been badly received. Honestly, it’s pleasant when compared to the placid “Where are you from? What do you do for a living? Nice weather we’re having” of American-style small talk!
This afternoon, the final stage of the Tour de France rides into Paris, so I am going with Vicki’s fam and possibly some students. Our heat wave from a few weeks ago has been replaced by fall-like weather: chilly and persistent drizzle. It should be an interesting afternoon–gotta admit it is nice to be wearing long sleeves and socks at the end of July.