Readers of this blog will know that Paris is a roughly oval shaped city , through the middle of which, in a great arc from East to West, runs the river Seine on its way to the Atlantic. If you stand facing downstream, the southern part of the city, where Susie and I have an apartment, is on your left -- hence, the Left Bank. Many of the most popular tourist attractions lie along the river -- the Eiffel Tower, the Tuileries Gardens, the Louvre, and Notre Dame itself, which actually sits on an island in the middle of the river. The municipal government of Paris, which is in general a very progressive and imaginative city government, runs a number of flat bottomed boats called Batobus which cruise up and down the river, stopping at places where tourists might like to visit. For a single fare, you can board a Batobus, hop off at the next stop, see a sight, and then hop back on the next boat without paying any more. The Batobus are named for various squares and avenues in Paris. The city also runs a fleet of slightly larger flat bottomed boats called Bateaux Mouches that serve meals, so that one can eat and cruise the river at the same time.
During my morning walks, I discovered that at night all the Batobus moor, two by two, on the Left Bank, just before the bridge to Place de la Concorde which is the turnaround point on my walk. As I have reported in previous posts, at the back of the line up I have been accustomed to see two smaller Batobus, the Jean Gabin and the Yves Montand.
This trip, when I took my first walk, I noticed that Yves Montand was missing. At first I thought nothing of it. "Off on location making a movie," I said to myself. But day after day, as the Yves Montand did not reappear, I grew worried. Had there been an upheaval in the French cinematic world of which I was unaware? Had the soulful, sad-eyed Montand been taken out by the tough-guy Gabin?
Several days later, when Susie and I were crossing a bridge from the île St. Louis, I looked down and to my pleasure and relief saw a Bateau Mouche called the Brigitte Bardot.
Apparently, in Paris, there are even transgender boats!