I arrived yesterday afternoon, but I am counting today as Day 1, since I was too exhausted to do anything yesterday. In upcoming posts, I will share additional information and backstory about my project and who these ancestors are and why I have their journals, but for now, I am going to dive into sharing my day and experiences.
The plan for today was to be aware of landmarks and sites that Calvin and Octavia had visited in 1844, and to have a rough walking itinerary for hitting many of them. I can say that I succeeded—I must have walked 15 miles today. I am staying in the 10th arrondissement near the Canal St. Martin, and from here walked through the Marais towards the Seine. The first landmark of note was the Hotel de Ville (City Hall). Conspicious was the "Je suis Charlie" sign in a window and the Marine Le Pen "Fear" poster that was plastered in various spots on the plaza in front.
From there I wandered across to the Île de la Cité, and past Notre Dame. I walked past all the tourists on the plaza in front to the back of the church, which was always my favorite vantage point. The garden was relatively quiet. From there, I walked across to Île St. Louis, and decided I might as well keep walking to the Jardin des Plantes, since that had made such an impression on Octavia in 1844.
From there, I walked back along the Seine and found some amazing antique postcards of Paris at a bouquiniste. They are from the late nineteenth/early 20th century, but close enough...
After lunch, I wandered down to the Jardin de Luxembourg.
After sitting for a while sketching and people-watching, I headed north again. This time I crossed the Pont des Artistes to the Louvre and the Tuilleries.
I randomly happened upon the Galignani Bookstore on the Rue du Rivoli, which is the same bookstore (albeit in a different location) that Calvin and Octavia visited several times when they were in Paris. As the sign out front proclaims, it's the first English bookshop established on the continent. After that, I meandered back through the 1st, 2nd, and 10th arrondissement towards my Air BnB.