November 11, 2007

Roman ruins two steps from my door

Posted in Exploring at 1:06 pm by Lauren

When I got home on Monday, October 29, after my first day of work, I was relieved that Elizabeth was still visiting. Though I was exhausted, I welcomed the company, and we set off to do some more exploring. Since it was raining, we decided on a path that kept us fairly close to home, and we had a couple of hours before we needed to meet Allen at home.

We set off with umbrellas and cameras at the ready. We crossed Pont de Sully, with a beautiful view of Notre Dame from behind. At the corner, Elizabeth got splashed by a car hitting a puddle just like in the movies. A guy on a motorbike made a comment we couldn’t hear. We walked down the road to the corner of the Jardin des Plantes. Because of the rain we had decided not to walk through it, but I thought a stroll along the side of it would be scenic. Not so. The walls were solid and too high to see over. Still, it wasn’t raining too hard at this point, and we continued on. At the end of about a 15 minute walk, we found our first destination: second century AD Roman ruins from when Paris was Lutecia. Frankly, they didn’t much look like they were from the second century. Unfortunately, what was left of the arena was hardly recognizable as a site that could have held 10,000 spectators. But it had been revitalized into a pleasant park with benches and green spaces, and it looked like a nice place to bring a book on a sunny day.

Leaving the arena, we chased our second destination, the Paris mosque. Mere blocks away we found it, and it was stunning. The tiling was exquisite (I would expect no less after my time living in Turkey), and the mosque seemed regal in its seat across from a quiet park. There are tours of the mosque (for just 3 euros, if I remember right), but we didn’t take one that day. We did, however, step up to the entrance to look inside at the courtyard filled with tiled fountains. That peek inside was well worth it.

With our time running down, we headed back towards home. Dusk was falling quickly, as we’d just had daylight savings time, and I was glad we’d had daylight to take pictures of the arena and the mosque. We stopped on the way home to pick up dinner (at Picard, which I’ll talk about in my next post), and got there just at 6, when we were supposed to meet Allen. Unfortunately for Allen, he arrived just a few minutes later, and the door buzzer wasn’t working. He waited outside for 45 minutes before he started banging on the door, and we heard him. Fortunately, the rain had finally stopped.


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