March 20, 2006

Monday in Paris

This photo was taken directly in front of our apartment building on the Boulevard St. Germain on Saturday afternoon. The "CRS" or French Riot Police were gathering and preparing for the evening's student demonstrations. By 6 o'clock the street was packed with police armored vehicles and hundreds of officers in full gear with tear gas and masks. We had laid in provisions for dinner, in case we couldn't leave, but things were still pretty calm at 7:30 so we ventured out and enjoyed a nice dinner at Le Petit Pontoise in the 5th Arrondissement. By the time we got back to our house, around 11, the demonstrators were literally coming down the Blvd. St. Michel, just 200 yards from the house, so we ran to get in before the street was blocked and we would be caught up in an angry crowd. We were safe and fine in our apartment, but we could hear the shouting and the sirens for a long time.

By Sunday morning, all was quiet and appears to be over for now. Guess the students finally have to get back to their books and get ready for exams. Now it's back in the government's court to decide what to do about this student employment contract that has stirred up so much trouble. Frankly, as an American, it is hard to understand how a new graduate can expect (or even want) a life-long contract with their first job.

Yesterday was a beautiful, almost Spring-like day and we walked all the way to the Grand Palais to re-visit Art Paris and see how the fair was going. Pretty well by all accounts, especially the contemporary art dealers seemed happy. Then we went to the Musée Jacquemart André to see a special exhibition of old master drawings done around the time of Goethe, as well as the permanent collection of Caneletto and Boucher paintings in the magnificent mansion setting.

Today is is cool and rainy and we are heading off to see an artist friend in the suburb of Garches. She is a lovely lady and she has a wonderful cook who makes a chocolate soufflé that is just divine!

Back soon!

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