Friday, April 18, 2008
Spring in the seventh arondissement calls a last-minute afternoon parade attended by dogs on leashes and some of their owners, taxi drivers waiting and smoking at the taxi stand, a tour guide with no tourists, holding a sign, two ladies swinging their pocketbooks back from lunch. Spring troops down the Boulevard de Grenelle, a float of ornamental cherries, pansies jostling their velveteen banners, a brassy ache of wind, barrelling brawling car horns and buses’ bells, churning lost scarves, sneezes, and stray leaves. The spoons glint crazily on the café terraces, the waiters’ aprons rattle their change, the lights go green yellow red, green yellow red. The chestnut trees blow down confetti from their roman candle bouquets. Pigeon policemen hustle sternly up and down the sidewalks, giving you the stinkeye: no loitering. The dogs sniff and trot away, the taxiphone rings, the tourists troop up, their dim offices suck the ladies back in to work, and the day moves on.
ABOVE LEFT: Marie Victor Nicolas de Fay de la Tour-Maubourg enjoys the parade.