The zoo, the other zoo, a martyr, and Pizza Hut: Last full day in Paris

April 9, 2009 17:13 – 17:13

Today, we happily zipped off to the zoo… only to discover that it’s closed for renovation. Yes. The whole damn zoo. Not just part of it. Right in the height of tourist season. Closed.

The Paris zoo is supposed to be one of the best in Europe. I was really looking forward to it. It’s way out on the eastern side of Paris, and it took quite a while to get there… only to find the gates closed. I’m not sure what this thing is below—because it’s in the zoo. So, I’ll probably never know. It’s probably a genuine fake mountain!

Strike one.

A second thing I wanted to do was to find the statue of Michael Servetus, a.k.a. Michel Servet de Villeneufve. He was a Unitarian martyr who was burned at the stake in 1553. So, brimming with failure at not finding out ahead of time that the zoo was closed, we headed to Place Ferdinand-Brunot, in the 14th arrondissement… hoping the statue and park would a) be there and b) not be closed for renovation.

What’s that there in the distance? Could it be?

Yes! It’s hard to make out due to 102 years of weathering, but it’s Michel Servet!

The chains symbolize his refusal to succumb to the Inquisition. He was burned at the stake for denying the trinity and the divinity of JC, despite the fact that he was devoted to the life and teachings of JC. He is regarded by many as the founder of modern Unitarianism, a sort of patron saint, if we Unitarians believed in saints… which we don’t.

Below, Karen is sitting on a park bench, with Michel Servetus in the background.

Brimming with success, we decided to try for lunch. Another success! We found this café that featured our favorite French lunch—steak frite. So, we enjoyed a couple of tasty small steaks, some French bread, and a couple of Kronenbourgs. Lest we forget, here’s where we found that tasty lunch—the Café D’Orleans.

Following lunch, we decided to see if we could find the other (and much smaller) Paris zoo. Much to my surprise, we did find it, and it wasn’t being renovated! Either that, or there are wallabies running around loose in Paris!

Actually, that one was behind a fence. Here are some more of what they have at the Ménagerie du Jardin de Plantes. There was a very shaggy donkey. I’ve never seen one that shaggy before.

They let the children ride some of the animals! But, the animals have to be stoned.

When children misbehave in Paris, their parents feed them to the zoo animals.

This kitten was still at the playful stage.

After the zoo, we came back to the apartment to try to search for something good to eat for our last night in Paris. I wanted either bouillabaisse or veal provençale, but I didn’t want to pay a mint. Apparently, a mint is the going price for those in Paris. I recalled that we’d eaten at a Pizza Hut many years ago in France, and found it to be vastly superior to the stuff they sell in the U.S. After looking at the menus of several more French bistros, and not finding what I wanted, we went to Pizza Hut. We had their duo—which included their salad bar, a pepperoni pan pizza, and a couple of Stella Artois. It was every bit as good as we remembered, and the French definitely could teach U.S. Pizza Hut restaurants a thing or two about how to make good pizza.

After dinner, we came back to the apartment, and I decided to venture out to see part of the neighborhood we’d not yet explored. Too late, I discovered a pizza place half a block from the apartment! Oh, well. Next time… A bit further, I was surprised to find a Carrefoure. I stopped in a bought some cinnamon, some teabags, and a tangerine. By then, I was thoroughly lost, so I set my hiking GPS for the apartment address. I was surprised that I’d strayed 2K from the apartment! But, my friendly Garmin led me back safely.

Tomorrow morning, we have to get up early and pick up our rental car. We have a reservation tomorrow night at the Achat in Hockenheim, Germany… then on to Prague. Hopefully, we’ll have internet, so I can continue to blog on a regular basis. If there are any typos in this entry, they might go unfixed for a day or two.

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