The day Meg and Jason left turned out to be a French holiday, Whit Monday or Pentecost. Last year in Norway Trudy and I ran into this same holiday weekend with abstemious results. Wine in Norway is only available in state-run shops, all of which were closed for the last three days of our trip. Of course that was not the case in France and Peter and I have continued to enjoy our new favorite wine, Domaine du Joncier, Lirac, Cru des Cotes de Rhone, 2008, non-stop.
For the holiday weekend, the Champes Elysees was closed to traffic for an event sponsored by Nature Capitale and les Jeunes Agriculteurs. Across all six lanes, the young farmers had covered the pavement with mulch, topped with all sized boxes of plants. We metroed to the Arc de Triomphe and walked back down the Champs from there, passing through a section of enormous boxes planted with at least 20 foot trees depicting various kinds of forests. In the middle was a display of farm animals surrounded by so many kids in strollers that we couldn't really get near it. After that, came vegetable gardens, most displaying the many varieties of a single vegetable. We watched a scissor lift at the far end, hoisting professional photographers up to get that one fabulous shot sweeping all the way back up to the Arc de Triomphe.
On our earlier walk with the kids we had seen booths set up all along the lower Champs Elysees. Today they were filled with vendors from every section of France, offering up all sorts of regional specialties. We chose a sandwich lunch; one aiguillettes canard and one foie gras plus une verre du vin for just 5 euros each. At the end of all the booths a French translation of the timeless food pyramid towered above the crowds. We cut over to the river past the Grand and Petit Palais and walked home in the shade of the left bank. Photos from the day.