A day in Belleville

Today: I take the M1/St-Paul to Hôtel de Ville, switch to the M11/République in Belleville, walk the Canal Saint-Martin/sit/reflect. Take the M-3 to Père Lachaise, stop for lunch at Le Bistro Voltaire (tomato salad with vinaigrette, steak au poivre w/frites, bottle of water, un espresso. More reflection.). Walk to the cemetery, purchase plan du cimetière. Spend two hours in the cemetery. Take the M-3/Pére Lachaise back to République, switch to the M5/Bastille, switch to the M1/St-Paul.

Why look! Here is my map! And here are the highlights!

Goals: the Canal Saint-Martin and the Père Lachaise Cemetery, which I have wanted to visit forever. Nobody knows why. And while I maintain that it would be preferable to walk these haunted lanes in autumn or winter, the juxtaposition of all that green with all that gray was striking. It was a peaceful place on a breezy day with low foot traffic, as the guidebooks would say. Love the guidebooks! You shall know me by my guidebooks! Given the rabid scene I expected around Jim Morrison's grave, things there were positively tranquil and only tangentially hippie. But poor Oscar Wilde! Victim to a hundred thousand filthy mouths. I could feel myself swaying with diptheria just looking at the thing. Yerk.

Who I missed: Marcel Proust, Richard Wright, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas!, Francis Poulenc, Camille Pissarro, Adelina Patti, Maria Callas (I hunted but did not find her empty urn), Victor Noir, Yves Montand, Modigliani, Molière, Marcel Marceau, Heloïse and Abelard, Georges Haussmann, Isadora Duncan, Colette, Frédéric Chopin, Honoré de Balzac, and the Communard insurgents who were lined up at the Wall of the Federalists, i.e. "the Mur des Fédérés," shot, and buried right where they fell in 1871. It's a pretty shocking story, but I guess I'll have to go back. The World War II memorials speak for themselves.

I had hoped to wrap up the day with a view of the city from the Parc de Belleville, but again my feet are killing me. And I'm a person who walks everywhere, all the time. Why can't I walk on vacation? What is wrong with my feet? What kind of sandals do you wear that don't turn you into a cripple and don't make you look like an asshole? If these exist, I would like to know about it. Until then consider yourselves hated, makers of shoes. I step on all your toes.