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Friday, January 05, 2007

Foto Friday: Paris When It Drizzles

I've been to Paris twice now, both times in January when the skies are leaden and it's not very photogenic.

In the daytime, anyway:

Eiffel Tower, Jan. 1995Eiffel Tower, Jan. 1995

To get this picture I used my little collapsible table-top tripod -- about the size of my hand -- and lay on the ground at the base of the statue of Marshal Joffre, which is at the far end of the Champ de Mars, across from the Ecole Militaire.

I hurriedly snapped a few photos, because I was afraid a gendarme would come along any minute and ask me what I was doing down there, and I don't have enough French to give a good account of myself.

For a while there, I thought the internet was going to fail me. I couldn't find anything that told me what statue that was. But then I found a map that identified the Place Joffre, which is that little bit at the end of the Champ de Mars, and another that identified the statue in the Place Joffre as that of [duh] Joffre.

Whoever he was. That takes you to the French Wikipedia link. The amusing English translation tells us that Joffre was "wire of wet cooper" -- the translation of fils de tonnelier. A tonnelier is a wet cooper. A cooper of course is a barrel maker, but I never knew they were divided into wet and dry. Section C of this site gives us the vital differences between your wet and dry coopers.

The translation also helpfully offers links to works by and about the Evil Joffre. Whether there was a Good Joffre is unknown. (I gather "Mal" is an abbreviation for "Marechal".)

But, can I be sure it was that statue? I mean, Paris is lousy with statues. Fortunately, the internet comes through again. It's the thing just to the upper left of the blue bus. If you look close you can see a tourist sprawled at the base.

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