We have moved into the Belle Epoque era (late 1800s) and 20th century this week. The 20th century was very turbulent for France, with two world wars fought on their soil, a Nazi occupation to go with that, a threat of communism, and issues with colonial Algeria.
On Tuesday we had a lecture in the morning in the park across the street from the Cite Universitaire–a stone’s throw from our window (but not if I’m throwing, I have a horrible arm). It was a relaxing way to start the day and it was capped off by a great lunch in the nearby Port d’Orleans. We ate at a restaurant called Paris Eclair and I had the entree du jour and plat du jour, which were artichoke hearts in oil and turkey on a skewer with rice and salad, topped off with a glass of vin Muscadet.
There was a bakery (my favorite place) right next door so I picked up a framboise macaron (raspberry macaroon) and a double layer eclair type of thing. I was happy and dandy and all smiles until we turned to leave and a torrential thunderstorm started. We had to make a mad dash to the tram stop and then from the tram stop to the Canada House, but we were still soaked.
The one good thing about the thunderstorm was that it helped cool down the weather–it’s been in the 90s during the day and still at night, which makes for an uncomfortable night sleeping in an non-air conditioned room.
After peeling off our soggy clothes, we were off to the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, which has a really cool urban planning exhibit. They have a timeline of Paris’ development along the walls and scale models of the city. The most exciting part of the museum was a huge screen that had a panel from which you could zoom over parts of the city to see what architecture and development plans are going to happen in the next 10+ years. It was very high definition and was really interesting to see how Paris is combining its rich history and historical buildings with eco-friendly and modern designed buildings of today.