We have been having a very nice and mild spring. In fact, this March was the warmest on record since 1900, equaled only by 1957. We have have made use of the nice weather (and the fact that we no longer have to sit on a train for half an hour to get anywhere) to explore a bit more of Paris. For the last few weeks we visited a different food market every weekend. They are all great, with excellent selections of cheeses.
Mimolette cheese. The holes in the crust are made by tiny cheese mites living in it.
Another thing to explore are the two big parks on either end of Paris that look like two green ears on the map. The one that’s closer to us is the bois de Vincennes, and we decided to go there first. We have only visited it before to go to the zoo, but there is a lot more to see. Since Sunday’s weather forecast predicted 26 degrees and sunshine, we decided to check out the parc floral located inside the bois the Vincennes. I had read about it before; it’s a public park that also doubles as a botanical garden. There is also a big stage where concerts are sometimes held in the summer.
We packed sandwiches and beers for a picnic. The city of Paris has a detailed web sites about the rules and amenities for picnics in public parks; you are only supposed to walk or sit on lawns between April 15 and October 15 to leave the grass time to regenerate, but there are exactly 38 picnic benches available in the parc floral. When we got there it turned out that we had been the only ones to study the rules and/or to care about them. Some of the lawns were halfheartedly cordoned off, but the Parisans are a rebellious people and not that easily discouraged.
We walked around, munched on our sandwiches and beers, hunted Pokémon and were impressed by the large variety of tulips on display.
At the park’s entry we had noticed signs announcing something called “Resto Expérience”, of which we had never heard before. While we were wondering if it was the sort of food festival that seems to exist in every European city except Paris, two people came up to us to confirm that indeed it is one, and they gave us a leaflet with some information and, because we expressed interest, free tickets. It turned out afterwards that the organizers had combined an almost complete absence of marketing with the ridiculous idea of charging 13 to 17 Euro in admission to a remote location just to be allowed to spend money on food. Accordingly, there were not too many visitors at the expérience when we got there. We had some good food anyway, and we will be back next year, hoping the organizers learn from the mistakes they made on this first attempt.
After eating and drinking we were ready to head home for coffee and dessert. On the way back we passed a Quidditch match and found that yes, it really is as silly as it sounds.
We went to the ménagerie today. It’s the zoo in the Botanical garden. According to Wikipedia it’s the second oldest zoo in the world, after Schönbrunn. The architecture kind of reminds me of Schönbrunn. The ménagerie is much smaller though, and not (yet) renovated. They have fewer large animals, and apparently are very much involved in conservation efforts.
We saw orang-utans get fed and heard a bit about them. We saw a red panda, and I took a “Firefox is not responding” photo:
Firefox is not responding to your requests right now. Maybe at 16:15, when there’s a feeding.
We also went inside the former tortoise house. There’s an art installation now that I really liked:
We also heard a snow leopard meow. I didn’t realise large cats do that!
This weekend there was a festival in Palaiseau – aoûtside. It’s a pun of août (August) and outside.
This year’s was the 6th aoûtside festival. It was in a big sport stadium close by and admission was whatever you wanted to donate. There were two stages with music, a geodesic dome where t-shirts were sold, a lightpainting booth, two bars, a food truck selling Indian street food, a foodtruck selling barbe à papa (candy floss!), a book swapping corner, people dressed in Hippie clothes, lots of young people smoking weed, a battle rap (is that a German expression? a false friend?), lukewarm white wine in plastic cups, dry port-a-potties that use saw dust instead of water, furniture made from pallets – in short: anything you would expect from a festival ;-)
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NB: the new gallery looks nice, doesn’t it? but it only offers three albums in their free version, then you have to pay. also the first upload attempt failed halfway through, so i started it again. now some pictures are in there twice and deleting is also a premium feature…