A Rainy Week in Paris - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

March 28, 2022 to April 1, 2022

A Rainy Week in Paris

This past week has been more of the same, but different.

 The biggest difference has been the weather. After 10 glorious days of sunshine and slowly increasing temperatures, Paris is beset with chill winds and rain. Umbrellas come out, as do the gloves and puffy jackets. Heads are down, shoulders are hunched, and the pace quickens as everyone hurries about their business.

Paris welcomed April with snow, rain and a mix of both - no fooling!
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I thought my neighbors had picked an unfortunate day to dry their laundry, but on closer inspection I realized they were just trying to protect their flowers and plants
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The more traditional way of drying bedding when you lack a dryer.
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On most days I’ve found a shower-free window for my daily walks about town. Once I took off the brace, I envisioned a rapid return to normal. I had mapped a route through Puglia, booked hotels and planned to spend this last week before departure visiting central Paris and a few art museums. As I increased my brace-free walking distance, however, I realized I must take care not to overdo it. The ankle is much improved, but it tires and the fatigue brings on a near continuous dull pain. All this reminds me that I’m not fully healed.

Nonetheless, I’m very encouraged by the three trips to my wonderful physical therapist Jousé. He assesses my movements, gently prods and manipulates my ankle, and massages my foot and ankle with soothing ointment. All the while we converse on a wide range of subjects - from cycling, to anatomy, to therapy – often in my broken French but resorting to English when necessary. He stresses the importance of movement and keeping up with my exercises to strengthen the ankle. My trip to Italy is till a go, but he cautions against my tendency to overdo it. Rest is essential.

 And so I walk – brief aimless forays or purposeful outings to physical therapy or to lunch with friends. Not too much of interest, save a visit to the Montparnasse Cemetery.

Established in 1824 in the 14th arrondissement, the Montparnasse Cemetery covers 47 acres laid out in 21 sections. I’d visited the cemetery once before, when I got lost trying to get to Luxembourg Gardens. I’d found it a wonderful and serene space, with tree-lined roads and small pathways that crisscross among the 35,000 burial plots. It seemed like an ideal destination for a misty day in early spring.

I entered through the main entrance, off Blvd Edgar Quinet. There was a funeral in progress straight ahead so I turned left, wandering amongst the tombs and mausoleums. 

The week started out sunny and warm, but it was not to last.
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Market day near the Tour de Montparnesse
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Main entrance to Montparnasse Cemetery
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In Montparnasse Cemetery
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In Montparnasse Cemetery
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In Montparnasse Cemetery
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A number of luminaries are interred in Montparnesse Cemetery – politicians, philosophers, artists, etc. I found a signpost with a list of various notables, along with a map showing the locations of their tomb. The list evoked a myriad of memories - from philosophy courses, movies, books, to recent political events. I jotted down the name and location of a few persons and set off to pay homage.

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir met at the Sorbonne in the 1920s. They became life-long companions though they never married or lived together, and each had numerous other lovers. My first exposure to Sartre was in high school French class where I struggled to read his novel Nausea in its original French. I have several books by Susan Sontag, most not yet read. I know her best through the HBO documentary Regarding Susan Sontag. And finally Eric Rohmer, one of the French New Wave film directors with whom I spent many hours during my twenties.

 Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir are buried together, their tomb decorated with kisses from admirers and often, though not today, with Metro tickets. Trinkets also graced the tomb of Susan Sontag – small rocks, flowers, art show and movie stubs. I could not find the tomb of Eric Rohmer – located somewhere in the middle of the expansive section 13. Just one more reason for another visit, perhaps on a quiet summer day.

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 It promises to be sunny tomorrow, cold but sunny. I'll try to get in a few more miles on the Velib bike before heading off to Italy on Monday. I'm excited to finally get this tour in gear.

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Steve Miller/GrampiesWe are excited for you that you will soon be able to get your tour started. We fly out to Frankfurt on the 12th so we will all soon be on the same continent.
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4 months ago
Susan CarpenterThanks Steve - Glad to hear that Dodie has recovered and that you’re off on another tour. Are you going to pick up/finish the Tortes tour?
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4 months ago
Rachael AndersonI hope your trip goes well. Take it easy and enjoy!
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4 months ago