After a long trip we arrived in my hometown, Luchon, in the Central Pyrenées. There is very little time to process pictures and notes gathered daily. Since we got here, it has been an uninterrupted stream of aperitifs, meals, digestifs with family and friends.
For now I will report on our transit day in Paris on 14 July, Bastille Day. We landed from our transcontinental flight midday and directly headed to Gare d’Austerlitz to drop off our luggage until our night train to Luchon. It sounded convenient and pleasant to have lunch at the nearby Jardin des Plantes and then spend time in the gardens and menageries. As Bastille Day is also Pierre’s birthday, we were really looking forward to a nice meal on the outside terrace of the newly renovated restaurant “ La Baleine.” The sun, the bread & very decent house wine kept us content, though the meal was mediocre, overpriced and the service lousy.
The garden was originally planted in 1626 as a medicinal herb garden. Back then it was known as the Jardin du Roi (Louis XIII). In 1640 it opened to the public. In 1792 the Royal Menagerie was moved to the gardens from Versailles. Among a wide variety of animals we had a great time watching the super entertaining orangutans, the 250 lb 120 years old Aldabra Giant tortoise (Geochelone gigantea) and I was particularly delighted spending time with the White Nape Cranes. Last fall I wrote a piece called crane/grue that is on my cd Whisk! Don’t Churn! Below you will find the recording as the sound track of the video I shot Monday.
So voilà for now! My son Miles and I are off tomorrow for a short trip to Aix-en-Provence for a mother and son adventure, while Pierre Joris will be in Lodève at the Poetry Festival “Les Voix de la Mediterranée.” We will join him towards the end of the week for a shared performance, and then back to the Pyrenées — and for now, as we say here, Adishatz!