One of the truly remarkable features of Google maps is that if you zoom in to the maximum, the map switches to a picture of the street or house you are searching for. In some cases, there is even a line down the middle of the street that you can follow with the wheel on your mouse, producing a moving picture of an entire neighborhood. If you Google the address of our Paris apartment, 17 rue Maitre Albert, you eventually get a picture of the street, and on that street is a little man with a mustache, wearing a cap, walking along the street. That little man is a local whom I see almost every day. We have now progressed to the point that when we meet, we shake hands, and ritually ask, “Ca va bien?” If Susie is there, he doffs his cap and inquires after “Madame.” I know nothing about him beyond that, and my conversational French could not support a real chat, even if he had a mind to it. The waitress in the local café greets us with handshakes, and the proprietor of the notions shop, “Bazaar des Ecoles,” recognizes us when we come in for a battery or a coffee pot gasket or even, on one occasion, a new rolling suitcase. Being greeted this way makes me feel that I am truly a resident of this quartier.
Having circumnavigated the fifth arrondissement on one of my morning walks, I tried a new route, along the quais, up to Place de la Bastille, then west past Place des Voges along rue des Franc Bourgeois, which is the boundary between the fourth and the third arrondissements, past la musee de Pompidou, to Boulevard de Sebastopol, which is the continuation north of the Seine of Boulevard St. Michel, and home past Notre Dame. The fourth being smaller than the fifth, this circumnavigation of the fourth is a shorter walk, but it was fun to see an entirely different part of old
Under the reign of Louis Napoleon [see Marx’s great tract, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon] and with the direction of Baron Haussmann,
was totally reconfigured. One of the many changes was the creation of a pair of intersecting streets, one running east-west, the other north-south, to facilitate getting around in Paris . What we now know as rue de Rivoli did not exist. A mare’s nest of tiny streets and buildings interrupted east-west traffic. Haussmann tore down buildings and pushed aside neighborhoods to create a thoroughfare along which carriages could drive. The north-south axis became Boulevard St. Michel on the left bank and Boulevard de Sebastopol, then Boulevard de Strasbourg, on the right bank. Boulevard Paris St. Germain, which now runs from the point across the river from Place de la Concorde through our own Place Maubert to the Institut du Monde Arabe, did not exist either. As I write these words, I sit under a framed map of , dated 1789. Our little street, Maitre Albert, is identifiable by its distinctive hooked shape, but it was then called “rue Perdu” [the lost street.] Paris
Try as I do, I cannot muster the same sentiment for our planned community in