No matter how tempting the scenery, laundry has its own implacable schedule. With the washer in our apartment jammed closed, and no response yet from Our street our rental agent, we set out to find a "laverie". Just around the corner, the first one was closed with its iron shutter down. Perhaps it would open in an hour, said the man in the shop next door. But we went on. A couple we met on the street recommended a place just two blocks up and to the right (we remember learning that while "droit" is "right", "tout droit" is "straight ahead". Tricky.) Sure enough, the laundry was there, but when we put our 20-Euro note in the machine, it disappeared without giving change. So the next step was to take our increasingly useful French phone card to the nearest cabine and call the emergency number. When the owner appeared, he explained that the coin-and-bill machine had been built for francs and had trouble with Euros. Just keep the bill on the far right edge of the slot, he said. We were relieved to recover our money, most of which went for the laundry, anyway. Later, we passed his advice on to another customer; it worked.
Our laundry adventure occupied the morning, giving Dan a chance to recover from the intense sightseeing of the past few days, and make some critical Arc de Triomphe progress on his Game Boy episode of Harry Potter. But now it was time to explore Paris. So we set out on foot.
First we walked down the street and into the church of Sainte Trinite, a modern and beautiful building, and then we walked past the Gare St. Lazare, and then we walked down Boulevard Haussman and walked down the Avenue de Friedland to l'Arc de Triomphe, large and imposing. We climbed to the top and spotted landmarks and photographed the city and looked at the museum and saw the tomb of the unknown soldier. Then we continued walking.
Street musicians were on every corner, it seemed, as we walked down the Champs Elysees to the Place de La Concorde. They seemed to be doing a good business, and there was certainly no shortage of people on the boulevard. In the course of our visit to Paris we saw violins, accordions, saxophones, Streetlight! clarinets, drums, flutes, pan pipes, hurdy-gurdies, guitars, and a cello.
Construction was in progress at Concorde, and the French had put up a large number of signs telling pedestrians not to cross the traffic flow at Place de La Concorde, but we disobeyed their signs. The reasons we disobeyed the signs were: (1) the French had put up no signs advising of a way to proceed around the construction; and (2) everybody else was disobeying the signs. So this meant that the traffic through Place de La Concorde consisted of interspersed knots of pedestrians and spurts of cars and trucks, generally moving perpendicular to one another. You might imagine the movement of the little tiles in one of those hand-held puzzles. Eventually everyone got through, and miraculously no one was even injured.
We looked at little ducklings in a pond and sailboats in another pond and buskers and mimes and more street musicians and hawkers and vendors, and so On the Champs Elysees walked through the Tuileries Gardens to the Louvre Pyramid, where we picked up literature and then found our way to the Metro, nicely tuckered out in the leg muscles from all our walking and climbing around.
Our Metro station, Pigalle, is in one of those Parisian neighborhoods composed of nightclubs and sex shops and souvenir stores on one side (with the Moulin Rouge just up the street), and more sedate businesses and apartments on the surrounding streets. Our apartment is upstairs from one of a half-dozen shops selling electric guitars and associated electronic music-making equipment; during our stay we became quite accustomed to hearing the wail of a bass guitar or a scrap of a tune.
This was the day to celebrate the summer solstice, which explained the extra-large numbers of entertainers in the parks and on the streets. We returned to our apartment to become aware that the all-night beer pub at the Pigalle end of the street was hosting a special open-air rock concert, which lasted till 11:45 at night. Dan's appraisal was that the music was pretty good, but that the lead guitarist had learned his moves from the Rolling Stones.