Yesterday, after preparing a simple dinner of quail and caramelized zucchini, I took Susie to an early music concert by The King’s Consort at the Musée d’Orsay. The Musée d’Orsay started life as a train station, and in its present incarnation it is a splendid space, vaulting and dramatic. The concert, held in the auditorium, was a performance of a little-known work by Vivaldi, la Senna festeggiante. This lovely work, splendidly performed, features a soprano, who sings the part of The Golden Age, a mezzo, who sings the part of Virtue, and a bass, who sings the part of the river Seine. No kidding, “La Senna” is the Seine. A French translation of the Italian text was projected on the wall behind the performers, making it possible for me to follow along. The text is, I thought, uproariously funny. It is an over the top sycophantic celebration and praising of the martial courage, generosity, magnificence, virtue, and general wonderfulness of Louis XV of France, who was at the time all of sixteen! Louis, of course, managed to get through his kingship without losing his head, but his son was not so lucky.
This morning at 6:30 a.m., I decided to try a different walk – this time up rue la Montagne Ste. Genevieve, into rue Descartes, then down rue Mouffetard to the bottom of the hill, and finally up Avenue des Gobelins in the 13th to Place d’Italie, around Place d’Italie, and then home again the same way. At least that was the plan. But Place d’Italie is a large circle like the hub of a wheel, with avenues and boulevards emanating like spokes of the wheel. I did not come far enough around the Place to get all the way back to avenue des Gobelins, with the result that I took off vigorously in the wrong direction and got royally lost. I wandered a bit trying to find my way back to avenue des Gobelins, without succeeding. I did manage to stumble on Place Louis Armstrong, in the middle of which was a big fat rabbit. Eventually I found myself at the Seine next to the Jardin des Plantes, an old stamping ground for Susie and me, and from there it was pretty clear sailing home. All in all, a great way to get the day started.