Friday, September 9, 2011

Pompidou Area, a Disappointment, and a Surprise

Today's self-guided walking tour, centered around the Pompidou Center area, included a great lunch, a disappointment, and a surprise discovery.

The neighborhood used to be down at the heels.  The nearby Church of St. Merri was frequented by the neighborhood prostitutes and has a side chapel dedicated to Mary the Egyptian, the patron saint of prostitutes.

On rue de la Ferronerie the coat of arms of Henri IV is embossed in the pavement to mark the spot where he was murdered.  His carriage got stuck in a traffic jam due to an accident, he got out to look at the situation, and a monk stabbed him.  I think it was a political act (or perhaps related to mental illness) rather than a road rage incident.

The square of the Innocents was a former graveyard, but it had to be relocated due to congestion.  The fountain in the square, a gift from the king, was used by the local prostitutes for washing and bathing.

Now for the disappointment.  I had hoped to see this, the window of an exterminator's business decorated with rats killed since the shop's 1872 opening.  However, I got confused about the address and found a cafe where I expected the exterminator to be.  I was afraid the shop had been gentrified out of existence.   Have to go back tomorrow and look for the rats.

Lunch, however, was no disappointment.  We had an ocean salad (with salmon) and a tuna steak with lots of vegetables.  The wines were Sancerre and Pouilly (?) something.

The oldest house in Paris is now (what else?) a restaurant.  It was once inhabited by Nicolas Flamel, a possible alchemist who figures in one of the Harry Potter books.

On our way to see the Bourse (the stock exchange, which has a beautiful painted ceiling but does not allow photos), we came across a couple of picturesque passages which we hadn't seen before.  The passages are shopping arcades and were quite fashionable until the large department stores opened.  There was a yarn shop in one of them which carried Debbie Bliss and Bouton d'Or yarns.

We returned to the pastry shop where we'd been a few days ago to buy more Kouign Amann and candy.

Today's Baguette:  Winner of 7th Place in the 2011 Best Baguette Contest
Today's Cheese:  Fourme d'Ambert

1 comment:

  1. Margaret and Bill,

    I'm suspect that the rats in the window were white. They looked more like someone's pets than vermin.

    Margaret, did you buy any yarn?

    Are there lots of statues of angels? I was always partial to them.

    Love you guys!