Monday, October 18, 2010

Le Bois de Boulogne

The weather report said that today was going to be partly cloudy. Partly cloudy was going to be plenty good for me to take a walk through one of my favorite places in Paris: le Bois de Boulogne.

The weather report was wrong. The day was absolutely, cloudlessly beautiful.

So I got going more early than has been my wont and was able to even take a video of the noon bell of Notre Dame – the video is for the sound, not the video. The Cathedral itself is pretty stationary, and has been for a couple millennia, so taking a video of it sounds stupid, and I'm sure it looked stupid to the hoard that was there to do whatever hoards do at noon at Notre Dame on a beautiful day in October. But take a video I did. I have a piece of software from Motorola in support of my RZR (I love what the Iphone can do on the web, but I haven't been willing to give up a svelte little package that slips into the watch pocket of my Levis) that among other things makes ring tones from audio from a video camera. I already have the bells of St Marcair, and the Papal palace in Avignon; it only seems right that I should harvest the sound of Notre Dame also. For that matter I need to get St Séverin and St Germain des Pres also.

The drill for recording the bells is to start panning vertically on the Cathedral about 15 seconds before the hour so that the camera has reached the top of the twin towers when the bells sound. Then I slowly zoom in on the bridge between the towers and finish by zooming on the rosette window. I mean, even though the video is strictly for sound, one never knows when a clip of the twin towers in full cry might be just the ticket for inclusion in some future video production that one might concoct. The bells have an ornate prelude to sounding the hour, and then they sound the hour. Without really thinking about it I found myself counting the hour rings: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine … So what happened to ten, eleven and twelve? I thought to myself. I kept the camera going to see if there was more, but after a number of silent seconds it appeared that there was to be no more, so I stopped recording, put the camera in its case and went back to the apartment to replace it with my new Sony detachable lens SLR digital camera to take to the Bois.

I was about half way there – that's quite close still to Notre Dame – when there was another – tenth – ring; then there was another and then another. After a short silence all sorts of ringing commenced. Who knows?

I took the Metro to get to the Bois. I like to enter near Porte De Passey, so I went to metro stop La Muette. That leaves a walk toward the Bois along beautiful tree lined streets that occasionally burst into full fledged open spaced parks and gardens, past the Monet Marmottan Museum and into the Bois and down to the lake just a little toward La Porte De La Muette from Porte De Passey.

The walk along the lake, past Le Chalet Des Isles, then past the boat rental (there was a young woman in a boat with her boy friend – I guess he was her boyfriend – who had just disrobed from the waste up as I passed) and back into the woods and out to Porte Dauphine and then down Avenue Foch to the Arc de Triomphe is one of the most pleasant walks that I ever take, even without glimpses of partial nudity.

I could attempt to wax poetic, or at least literary about what all I saw this afternoon in the Bois, but, since I took several hundred pictures I will let a few of them talk for me. They are posted below.

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