Monday, 2 August 2004

back in Rennes

After 10 days of travel through France for work and pleasure, I'm now back in Rennes. My 3 days working with a colleague in Paris passed well enough, although it was a little hot for my taste. More importantly, we achieved a little bit, and should find some outcome, either in the form of a paper or a prototype, or perhaps both.

I spent Saturday morning reading in the Jardin de Luxembourg, then caught the metro across town to meet first Andy & Renee, and then Sandy, Dave and his girlfriend Alex, at Gare du Nord. After passing the hotel, we grabbed a leisurely lunch in the Latin Quarter, then headed to Notre Dame. To be honest, it wasn't any more impressive than most of the other catholic churches I've seen, and perhaps less so than some.

More enjoyable was a boat-trip we took along the Seine, past all the bridges, palaces, and other features. Normally I would have been reluctant to fork out the 10€, but with the group I was happy too, and it was well worth the money. After the trip, we wandered past the "beach" (this term still sits uncomfortably with me, notwithstanding the very pleasant atmosphere they've established), before deciding to chase food. Having been recommended a restaurant called Au Pied De Cochon (the Pig's Foot), we spent 2 hours traipsing through the Rive Droite asking locals (although the most reluctant, I was the only French speaker, and as such usually the designated spokesman). After a friendly local lead us to "Au Pied De Chameau" (camel's foot), we eventually found and partook of the elusive pig's foot. Dave and Alex went for the seafood platter, which took two waiters to bring, and was as impressive a dish as I have ever seen, either in life or film. The bill was equally impressive, but it was good food, so I didn't really mind.

The next day, leaving the dormant Dave and Alex, the 4 of us headed north with the intention of seeing the Louvre. Unfortunately, we met the double-edged sword of the first Sunday of the month, meaning that the museums are free. Double-edged in that it saves us 8€, but draws crowds of unbelievable proportions. In fact, they were so unbelievable that we decided to try instead the d'Orsay. Although also long, the queue was more reasonable and, to be honest, I suspect the d'Orsay might be more my cup of tea anyway. It was. I really enjoyed the Monets, but also the Van Goghs, the Pissaros, and others. Monet's series of the Rouen church are perhaps some of the more remarkable paintings I've ever seen in terms of evocative power.

I miss hanging out with friends like these.

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