Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Luxembourg Gardens

For election Sunday in Paris we bought baguettes and pastries and picnicked at Luxembourg Gardens, the expansive park that flanks Luxembourg Palace, home of the French Senate. In cities where most residents are apartment dwellers, parks are the hub of daytime activity. In Toronto, where most live in houses, they're primarily for dogs.

The fountain was full of model sailboats that children pushed into the breeze and while their parents fed french bread to pigeons. Back in the shade, fastblitz chess matches drew the interest of tourists who were mesmerized by the flurry of hands and moves as time ran down on the three-minute timers. My favourite activity were the games of p├ętanque, a bocce-like game, where metal balls are thrown as close as possible to a marker. Some players are skilled take-out specialists, making seemingly-impossible shots to dispose of another team's ball with a deafening clank. I had previously thought this game to exist only on the Cosby show.

Photo credit: Hello Hillary

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