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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Still rainy, cool, and gray

It was a three day weekend in Paris.  They had a holiday Monday, "Whit Monday (Pentecost).''  (The seventh Sunday after Easter, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. Also called Whitsunday.)  I'd never heard it called Whitsunday.  I didn't even know there was such an occasion in the Bible.

Since we had some rare good weather Saturday morning, we went for a picnic.  It's a quick walk from our front door to the Champ de Mars.  The Champ de Mars is the park that runs from the Eiffel Tower on the Seine to the École Militaire.  We're close to the École Militaire.  'Champ' means 'field' in French, and Mars is the god of war.  Since the park is in front of the military school, the name can be translated as sort of 'the field of the god of war', or something like that.  They used to hold military exercises there.  The park has multiple gravel paths along the sides and down the middle, so I'll probably use it as my running track, along with others from the surrounding neighborhoods.  Maybe I can get motivated to run tomorrow.  So, Saturday around noon, we had our picnic on the field of the god of war, on green grass and surrounded by flowering bushes and trees, and of course, the Eiffel Tower.

Since the crappy weather continued into Monday, we finally gave up on our plan to visit Fontainbleu.  Instead, we decided to go to the Pompidou Center, the biggest modern art museum in France.  On the way there, we walked past a nearby cathedral and mural.

There was a long line to get in, and it was about noon, so we decided to go for lunch first.  We ended up at one of the many cafes on all sides of the museum.  This one had gas burner heaters over the outside seating, so we sat 'outside.'  Outside is in quotes because Paris is full of small areas in front of restaurants with rain-proof awnings and clear glass or plastic walls.  They're legally outside, so it's OK to smoke.  We had the greatest French onion soup so far.  The cheese on top was browned just the right amount, the onions were packed with flavor, and the bread was not too soggy, but not too stiff, and had lots of flavor.  Mmmm, perfect for sitting outside on a cool, rainy day.

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