Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Paris Observatory

I'm going to call the event this week-end "Heritage Days" because the French name for it is too hard to type (has lots of accent marks) and very difficult to pronounce.  At any rate, we went to see the Observatory, not far from Luxembourg Gardens.  If I translated the historical marker correctly, it's the oldest still active observatory in the world.  It was an interesting tour, and, again assuming I was translating correctly, lots of important scientific work was done at this observatory.  In addition, the Paris meridian runs directly through the observatory and we could see markers delineating this line.  The observatory is normally closed to the public.

Afterward we walked to Rue Mouffetard for a late lunch - early dinner.  I had beef with a Roquefort sauce, potatoes and green beans.  Delicious!  It was raining on and off all day, so we didn't bother to search for a prize winning baguette, but instead bought a perfectly acceptable baguette on Rue Mouffetard.

We took the Métro home and that became a bit of an adventure.  The trains were absolutely packed and on the platform and inside the trains we could hear people chanting and singing. We assumed there was a soccer game and the train line we were taking was going to the stadium.  We let two trains go by and then hopped on a slightly less crowded train.  But when we got off at our stop, Place d'Italie, the crowds got even worse.  The platform was jammed and there were so many people coming into the station that those of us exiting were funneled into a very narrow line.  It was scary.  When I finally got out of the station, I asked a young man what was going on and he told me it was a Techno Parade - a parade celebrating techno music.  I checked on the Internet and found that the parade had started at Place de la Republique and was ending at Place d'Italie right about the time we arrived there.

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