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Le nom du boulanger vient d'un ancien nom Picard «Boulenc» qui désigne le pain rond, la boule, seule forme du pain jusqu'au XVIIe.

 "The name of the baker comes from an ancient Picardy name "Boulenc" which designates a round loaf, "la boule", the only shape in which bread was made until the 1600's."  The above little piece of trivia is from a hole-in-the-wall boulangerie down the street from our hotel.  The paper which wrapped tomorrow's breakfast and tonight's dessert was printed with this tidbit of information.  I confess I enjoyed the dessert more than the information, but the information will likely last longer.

     Since the Louvre was closed today, we surveyed the Tuilleries gardens in the morning sunshine from the Louvre shops to Cleopatra's needle (and incidentally the site of the beheading of the French royalty during the bloodiest days of the French Revolution), and wound up at the Orsay museum, where some of the less well-known works of the Flemish painter Vincent Van Gogh reside in the permanent collection.  Other examples of the Impressionist and post-Impressionist painting schools are on display; residents of New England may recall last summer's (2007) exhibit at the Clark Museum of Monet's early work and an example from his series on the cathedral at Rouen:  four pieces from that series are housed here.  Fans of the film Bean will be pleased and perhaps relieved to know that "Arrangement in Gray and Black #1"-- popularly known as "Whistler's Mother" is intact and is not after all merely a poster affixed to canvas.  I did check!

Plan of the Tuileries Gardens

Life imitates art

Separated at birth?

Mr. Bean did not ruin it.

     We lunched at the cafe on the penultimate floor of the museum, where the food was almost as much art as the inedibles below.  Sitting next to us on my right was a duo of ladies from the United States, young grandmothers by the looks of them.  At one point their conversation grew so loud I could not help overhearing the trouble one of them was having calculating European currency.  "I can't figure this out!" spilled from her lips as coins and bills tumbled from her clutch onto the table.  Her friend tried to help her while at our table we did our best to mind our own business.  Later, when it seemed more appropriate, we struck up a little conversation, and it seemed to help when I suggested she treat euros like Canadian money, having coins for denominations of a dollar or more, or a euro or more, as the case may be. 

    Having had our fill of the museum for the day, we walked out to the street, where we found a couple of seats at a café.  Our waiter was very accommodating, bringing me not only tea and ice, but a leak-proof vessel for mixing the two, so I could have my iced tea without sugar in it.  He also had a sense of humor, pretending to want to run away with me and leave James there to wait on customers.  I thanked him and declined the offer for "my own reasons".

    From the café we walked down to the Seine and tried to make reservations for dinner on the river, at which we were finally successful.  More walking to the Metro station and a ride southeast brought us to the vicinity of where we had to make a choice about what to do for supper tonight.  We popped into a Portuguese restaurant on the Rue de Paris and met the family who ran the place.  Grandma did the cooking, Mom did the serving, and Pop, I don't know what he did more than watch the T.V., change the channels, and yell at the dog.  Just like home.  We were the only diners in the place, so we had the luxury of their whole attention and company.

Next day:

This page was last edited on November 08, 2010
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