July 14, 2014: The two hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the one hundredth anniversary of the start of the Great War that forever changed Europe, and the twelfth anniversary of the wedding of my son, Patrick, to Diana Schneider, a gifted, charming, dedicated contributor of effort and ideas to a variety of non-profit organizations and the mother of my grandchildren Samuel and Athena. Susie and I celebrated the day by making one of our periodic outings to the Jardin des Plantes, I on foot and Susie on her Segway. A trip to a botanical garden with Susie is a learning experience, since she started life as a botanist. Senior moments, which all of us at this age suffer, for her take the form of forgetting the common names of plants even as she can produce the Latin names flawlessly. She points to an unimpressive little flower and says "viola tricolor, now what is that called?" "Pansy?" I suggest tentatively. "Yes, of course!" At eight a.m. the Jardin was home to the usual joggers and a group of middle-aged oriental men and women doing some form of rather slow-moving meditative exercise.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame, our neighborhood church, set out several hundred folding chairs yesterday morning in the parvis in front of the church for the expected overflow crowd attending a commemorative mass in memory of those who lost their lives in 1914-1918. We may wander over later and see whether we can freeload some of the blessings to be broadcast from inside.
Most of Paris has evaporated for the three day weekend, but the few restaurants still open will be jammed with tourists, so I shall make a simple dinner in this evening -- paupiettes pruneau, caramelized carrots, and rice, washed down with Sancerre blanc for Susie and Beaume de Venise rouge for me.