I may have gotten a wink of sleep on my flight over the Atlantic to France but, if so, it was quite literally a wink. Our departure from went without a hitch other than our failure to sleep. Our hotel took our bags when we arrived by cab too early for a check in so we set out to get lost in the Marais neighborhood on the Seine’s right bank.

It is remarkable that the old part of the city is as it was when the German soldiers roamed the streets during the Second World War’s occupation of France. Hitler ordered it burned to the ground but his subordinates managed to evade his demands. Sometimes underlings can thwart their bosses worst inclinations as we have once again been reminded by Bob Woodward.

We would only last about four hours before coming back to our hotel to catch up in mid day on the sleep we had missed on the flight. But before we did we found our way to the islands in the Seine where the Hunchback once lived……If we can believe Victor Hugo. And, we had a fine French dejeuner (lunch) at the Place de Vosges where Hugo (OOgo en Francais) lived. Along the way we stopped at one of many of Paris’s neighborhood parcs and watched children playing soccer while their parents and grandparents sat on benches in the shade. We saw our first rat there as we left. Probably not a Ratatouille cook. I saw another one lying in the courtyard around Notre Dame. They probably lived here long before the Cathedral was built and they have a lot of ancient infrastructure to inhabit. Of course, they hang out under Duluth’s newly renovated Congdon Elementary too. Such enterprising rodents.

I am meeting too many french people who can speak English. I’m too timid to belabor them with my deficient French. Cross my heart, I’m going to get braver.