Dispatches from July 22
9 AM: We meet a guide, Francoise, for a walking tour of the city.
This obelisk in the Place de la Concorde stood at an Egyptian temple in Luxor since the reign of Ramses II (3200 years ago). Egypt gave it to France as a gift. See, Napoleon took 130 scientists to Egypt, and while he was busy doing military things, they studied the crap out of everything and wrote a book called Discovery of Egypt. Discovery boosted Egyptian tourism so much that they sent the obelisk in thanks.
The Tuileries garden. King Louis XIV cherished the gardener, Le Notre, so much that Le Notre’s retirement was the only time anyone saw Louis cry. Hey, the man loved his gardener.
France was the first country to recognize Texas as a republic. The Saturday Night Live skit practically writes itself.
Noon: Lunching on a Croque Madame – broiled cheese and ham on toast, topped with a fried egg.
A typical 16th century private mansion
The current mayor of Paris created these Paris Beaches. Every summer, they cart in umbrellas, chairs, and literal tons of sand to create beaches along the river. There are also volleyball nets, food carts, and portable swimming pools!
We stop for ice cream from Paris’s famous Berthillon. Dad has mango. I try agenaise, or prune, because I’ve never seen it before. The prunes turn out to be sweet, jamlike, and steeped in Armagnac. Delicious!
Parisians hated this sculpture at the Palais Royal when they first saw it, but it’s apparently a great hit with children.
At Notre Dame!
The sculptor of Notre Dame didn’t know what the Kings of Judah actually looked like. Notice how the one on the far right has a bigger face and is looking down at the people? Artist cameo!
9 PM: Dinner with Dad’s friends at a sublime Moroccan restaurant, Le Caroubier. I get lamb tagine with dried apricots and almonds over couscous, and a small glass of hot sweet tea at the end.
12 AM: Reading in bed with very sore feet!