Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 2040: Paris au Ralenti (Paris in Slow Motion)
By Doru from Canada, Fall 2012
Page 5 of 19: Sunday, September 16 - Slow Travel Get-Together
Slow Travel GTG: from the left, Karen, Betty, myself, Josette, Shirley
This morning we have a Slow Travel GTG. The plan is to meet at Opéra Bastille and, as we get there, we see only two people waiting by the famous stairs. One of them is a young boy, about 9 years old, and this can only be Xander, and if he is Xander then next to him is Karen. I made it also pretty easy for myself to be recognised by Karen: the man wearing the Slow Travel cap, one of the last such caps in existence.
So we first meet Karen and Xander, and Xander and I get along well from the start, and it will get better as the morning goes on. With five grandchildren, the youngest being of exactly Xander’s age, I have a few tricks to get to the hearts and minds of children, and Xander and I become buddies immédiatement!
Soon arrive also Shirley (Yayoye) and her friend, Betty.
We work out a plan: considering the confusion typical in a market as large and diverse as Richard-Lenoir, we arrange to meet one hour later, back in Place Bastille, and move about independently in the market.
Meeting an hour later, we walk towards Hôtel de Sully, built in the third decade of the 17th century, when King Henri IV's Minister of Finance was the Duke de Sully. We want to take over the Duke’s garden and send Xander as advance scout and occupier, to be sure that we control at least one absolutely necessary bench, one of the only two available in the garden. Xander does a fantastic job and we have the planned picnic, some with food prepared in advance, some bought fresh at the market.
Necessities out of the way, we use the “secret” gate that separates the Hôtel from Place des Vosges to enter the elegant arcades surrounding Place des Vosges and take a walking tour, trying to figure out who lived where almost 500 years ago and well into more recent time. Xander finds again a free bench for us in the beautiful garden, and we sit and chat, enjoying the sun and the shade while Xander, under his Mom’s watchful eye, is busy at the small playground installed in the garden; one can find such playgrounds in just about any public garden in Paris. We take some pictures and here, again, Xander proves to be adept at using not only his own camera but also mine. A useful guy to have around!
As part of the local entertainment, we assist, "bouche bée", to the parking manoeuvres used by a young man to insert (literally "insert"!) his car between two others. As we watch, we count how many times he bumps, back and forth, the car behind his and the one in front. We lose count at over 12 noisy bumps. In the end, between his car and the other two there is no room to slide a cigarette rolling paper. Too bad we don't intend to linger, because it must be fascinating how the disengagement of the three cars will proceed!
Sometime later, we point to our companions the easy way to get to the two city islands and to Notre Dame and, while they go their way, we return to our apartment to ice some knees.
We close the day with another walk in the neighbourhood, this time going towards the Seine and ending, where else, on Île Saint-Louis. We found a short-cut.
Domestic end of day.
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