This morning, emboldened by a good night's sleep, I decided to set out on a major new route for my morning constitutional. Instead of walking past Notre Dame along the quais to the National Assembly and then back home via Boulevard St.Germain, a walk of about six kilometers, I decided to try my hand [or my feet] at walking all the way around the fifth arrondissement where our apartment is located. The fifth is pentagonal, roughly in the shape of a single-peaked house lying on its side. Our street juts south from one of the long sides of the pentagon. I started there, and walked east along the quais to the end of the Jardin des Plantes. A 60 degree right angle turn on rue de l'Hopital followed by another 60 degree right turn on Boulevard Saint Marcel brought me to the southern edge of the arrondissement, Boulevard du Port Royal. A long, long walk along that boulevard ended at a point where Boulevard St. Michel intersects, heading north. That takes you back to Boulevard St. Germain, and then home. This morning, when I got to the northeast corner of the Jardin du Luxembourg, I chose instead to turn right on rue Soufflot up to the Pantheon and then down rue des Carmes to our own Place Maubert. All in all, a little less than four miles, which took me just an hour. A side trip to pick up two bauguettes Keyser and I was home at about 8:40 a.m.
This morning's route was strikingly different from my usual walk, which goes by some of the classic spots of old Paris -- Notre Dame, the Louvre, the French Academy, the Musee d'Orsay, Brasserie Lippe, Cafe des Flores, and Les Deux Magots. This morning I saw modern-day Paris waking up -- scores of people pouring out of Metro stations, hurrying to work, parents taking their children to school, the large Val de Grace hospital complex coming alive, and masses of traffic clogging the streets.
It was all something of an adventure; I was not sure how it would go, or whether my estimate of the distance from my map wouldturn out to be accurate. But all in all, I think I prefer the old Paris route.