|Tuileries Gardens looking towards The Louvre|
|Tuileries Gardens looking toward the Place de La Concorde|
Between 1793, beginning with the execution of the King following through to 1794, with the execution of Robespierre and his mates this was a bloody mess. Thousands were guillotined during that time, known quite correctly as The Reign of Terror. Now it is a traffic island in one of the busiest parts of the city, but the terror now would return only when pedestrians are foolish enough to not heed the crossing signs.
|The Place de la Concorde|
Stage direction: time passes, again. It is now middle of the afternoon on Saturday, after a much less rushed walk than I had on Friday. I’m going to pick up the narrative where I left off, if you don’t mind, and why should you? Even if you do I don’t care, just letting you know my general plan.
How can I put this delicately? Their French Revolution tour is not as good a tour as mine. Of course it’s not meant to be the kind of tour that mine is, as my students already have a sense of the primary events of the Revolution. But I found the places chosen, while not terrible, were not nearly as appropriate as mine are. That tour was one of the main reasons for my trip to Paris. It left me, not disappointed really, but I suppose I had hoped for more.
|Travis, our tour guide|
So. Travis, our guide, was better than the tour he was giving. After the Invalides he took us to the Pont Alexandre III, from which we could also seethe Grand Palais and Petit Palais, and also the Place de la Concorde. He gave us long bits of the history of the revolution at each stop, though there weren’t many of those on this tour. In fact there were three more only, a short stop ON the Place de la Concorde, then on the spot where the Tuileries Palace stood, until the Communards destroyed it in 1871, then another in the courtyard of the Louvre, and a final one on the Pont des Arts. Good information, skillfully told, but alas, not as useful for me as I’d hoped.
Had I gone back to the hotel just after that I would not be recovering today, but I felt the need for more, and instead of catching the Metro I plunged again into the Rive Gauche, thinking I’d sip an aperitif somewhere charming. Instead I just kept walking along, and finding things! I wandered back to Boulevard St Germain and recognized the Odeon metro stop, then to my great and good surprise also found Café Le Procope and that great little alley where Marat printed out his powerful, vicious and ironically named L’Ami du Peuple.
|Cafe Procope located|
|Cafe Procope, first cafe in Paris|