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We’ve had a few intervals of sun, but for the most part the weather has been cloudy and often rainy this year, and it’s still downright cold (53 degrees at 10 am on Wednesday). This hasn’t greatly dampened my enjoyment but I’m looking forward to better weather. This reminds me more of April my first year here than May in other years.

Sunday morning I caught up on my blog, then went to see an exhibition at the Conciergerie. The enormous portrait photos were powerful, and the juxtaposition with the medieval-style arches was striking, but overall the aesthetic experience was just ok.

Photo exhibition at the Conciergerie

Photo exhibition at the Conciergerie

I was more interested in the architecture of the building itself, in the reconstructed prison rooms, and in the presentation about the French Revolution.

Somewhat unwelcoming courtyard at the Conciergerie

Somewhat unwelcoming courtyard at the Conciergerie

Restored guard room at the Conciergerie

Restored guard room at the Conciergerie

Marie Antoinette was famously imprisoned in the Conciergerie before being guillotined. Much is made of this at the museum, and in general the interpretive material strikes me as being from a rather Royalist perspective.

The nearby flower market was colorful despite the clouds and rain.

Flower market on a rainy day

Flower market on a rainy day

On Monday I met up with Jared R at the Grand Palais for Carambolages, an amazing art exhibition that I’ve documented in a separate post. Jared R’s initial plan for the week had been to stay with Jared W, but it turned out that Jared W had been given a rather cramped apartment so Jared R decided to spend the next few days at my place instead. On Tuesday morning he brought his stuff over, then we headed to the Conservatoire de Paris to sit in on violin recitals by a couple of graduating students. These recitals are quite a big deal, performed before a jury of five professors and also open to the public. We were impressed by the performances and moved by several of the pieces. These go on, for various instruments, almost to the end of June and I hope to get over to recitals once or twice more during my stay. After the music we walked around the two concert halls, then through the Parc de la Villette.

Lobby of Concert Hall 1 at the Cité de la Musique

Lobby of Concert Hall 1 at the Philharmonie de Paris

Finally, we took the tram over to Porte de Vincennes, then strolled along the Promenade Plantée back to the Place de la Bastille.

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View from the Promenade Plantée

I took the métro home, since my heel was hurting by this point (possibly related to walking more than 10 miles?). After a quick shellfish pasta dinner (based on an amazing fruit de mer package from Picard) we met up with Jared W at Montparnasse for a musical interpretation of Madame Bovary. Jared R, who majored in French literature, followed most of it, while Jared W and I got the overall gist but were pretty much at sea with the spoken French. It was nevertheless a moving performance, even for those of us who didn’t understand that many of the words. Afterwards we had crêpes, then headed back to our respective homes.

Mot du jour: « fruit de mer », shellfish.