Jun 03 2010
The last day of our stay in Paris was May 1st, which is International Workers’ Day, a national holiday in France. We knew a bunch of the main attractions were closed, so we mostly just relaxed in the Luxembourg Gardens, where lots of other people were doing the same. Many of them were chilling out with a book. There were more miniature sailboats too, though not as colorful as the ones in the Tuileries.
We left the gardens and wandered around, and soon found ourselves in an area with lots of small publishers, bookstores, and other book-related businesses.
We walked along the river, ending up near Pont Neuf. There was a lot of commotion in this one square, and we couldn’t tell if it had to do with Workers’ Day or if it was because a soccer game had just ended. There was smoke, and some sort of flare or chemical fire burning. We decided to get a little further back, and found that there were a bunch of police standing around on the bridge, keeping an eye on things.
As we were standing there, and I was trying to draw, the police opened the trunks of a couple of squad cars and started taking out their riot gear!
A large crowd of people spilled out of a bar and started loudly chanting the Marseillaise. We backed up to the other side of the bridge. It was pretty dramatic for about a minute as they approached the line of cops, but then they all turned and went down into the subway station. The cops didn’t follow them, so I guess they figured it was the transit police’s problem at that point.
We stopped by Notre Dame again for one more drawing. We ran into a very funny young guy who was traveling solo, and we exchanged picture-taking courtesies.
As we meandered back to our apartment we took a few pictures of some of the more beautiful buildings in our neighborhood.