Forget my complaints about the weather — today was perfect. Short sleeve weather, as opposed to the undershirt-shirt-jacket-raincoat weather we’ve been having. Lots more photos at Paris-3 Photo Set.
I started out this morning with a few little SNAFUs that combined to make up a very enjoyable day. First, I was expecting the delivery of an inexpensive printer, which I decided to get so I could print maps, boarding passes, etc. Amazon.fr is as efficient as amazon.com, and it even has access to my U.S. account information. But the delivery man had no way to notify me when he arrived (except calling my French cell phone, which for some reason didn’t happen) so he just left a slip in the mailbox. Fortunately, the system here is to leave the package at the nearest Post Office, which was quite close. It wasn’t available until 14h (2 pm), however.
After that I headed out to see an exhibition of Indian miniatures at the national library. (I’m reading Orhan Pamuk’s “My Name is Red” so the topic is of particular interest at the moment.) Through an erroneous or misread listing I went to the Rue Richelieu branch (a few blocks away) instead of the Mitterand branch. The only exhibit at the Rue Richelieu branch was a strange-sounding (free) museum of “money, medals and antiques.” True to its name, it is a highly miscellaneous collection, but it includes some quite impressive antiquities, as well as other interesting or amusing stuff.
In fact, however, I had a hard time even finding the library. It appeared to occupy a whole city block on my map, but almost all of the street frontage was normal shops and stores. There was no entrance at all on Rue Richelieu but eventually I noticed a sign saying that the entrance was on the opposite street. Meanwhile, as I was looking at my map trying to find the library I noticed that I was right next to the gardens of the “Palais Royal“. I had never seen or heard about them but I thought I might have a look. The flowers and magnolia trees were in spectacular full bloom so I forgot about the library for about an hour while I took pictures from various angles and sat for a bit soaking up the sun and scents.
After a surprisingly good lunch at a Lebanese restaurant in the area I picked up the printer box and headed to a rendezvous with Yannis, the owner of the place I’ll be renting in May. A mutual friend introduced us, which was a big savings for me since it avoided agency fees. He sounded very nice from our conversations and indeed he was (when he finally arrived).
At his suggestion I went over to have a look at Notre Dame, then continued on up to the Luxembourg Gardens. When dusk began to fall I hopped on the métro back home and was pleased to find that the little food shops on my street are open until 20h (8 pm to you), and even offer discounts at the end of the day. I would have taken a picture of dinner but for the fact that it was exactly like my first two home-cooked meals. Except that it was followed by a dessert that included fresh strawberries from the local fruit market.