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France, Paris, Travels

Samedi n’est pas Dimanche

Down at the metro station, I saw signs in French about some equipment anciens that was being exhibited this weekend, from what I could tell, to promote a future transit museum. I didn’t read the station quite right the first time I saw this sign, and so I couldn’t find the destination. Instead, I just wandered around the Tour Eiffel, snapping some pictures. Back at the metro, I saw another sign for the transit museum crowd, and made my way over to Port D’Ivry, where they had parked a handful of old equipment right in the middle of the metro station. Superb!

There were signs in French, with interesting pictures, and staff explaining any number of fascinating things, in French. I found some model train geeks, and after some miscommunication as to the nature of Samedi, which I thought was Saturday, which it actually is, I found myself on a lovely ride on the RER to the suburb of La Varenne Chennevieres.

At my destination, there was nowhere to supplement the downtown ticket from the carnet, so I followed another’s example and hopped the turnstile to leave. Outside, I saw a ticket window and tried to set things right. After all, I’d seen a video camera watching the turnstiles. I was lectured that I was supposed to take care of the ticket business downtown, and that at this point, it really doesn’t matter.

The model railroad club was locked, because they do their open house on Samedi, and this was Dimanche, le jour aprés. I chilled out by the fountain, sharing some of my Dutch graham crackers with the local pigeons.

Usually, when you feed a group of pigeons in this manner, you soon notice the one with the missing or lame foot. They always carry themselves well, and I always try to make sure they get some extra food. Sometimes you can tell that they understand that they are special. Today my friend with the lame foot would hover in front of me, flashing his colorful crest as if he were a hummingbird, and then perch off to my side, awaiting his chunk of graham cracker.

Smart kid.

I wandered in to what seemed a reasonably-priced, trendily chill restaurant, and was quickly seated by a friendly, efficient waiter, who not only spoke English but seemed to tolerate my French. I dropped €5.65 on a salami baguette and a vin rouge, which left me feeling quite good and amenable to a creme brule, which brought the bill to €10.25. It was worth it. Back at the AJ D’Artagnan, I entered the six-digit code to get in to my room, and found four beds, one of them occupied by a guitarist, napping in a white undershirt, and the aroma of wet towels.

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Categories: France, Paris, Travels