2017 E5 walk, day 45: side-trip to Paris (zero-day)

Section 10, Day 45
low 48 °F
high 77 °F
19,494 steps
8.1 miles

My first zero-day was something of a reward for four weeks of solid walking. This zero-day, barely two weeks later, was to repair one of my most critical pieces of equipment: my phone.

So, I walked across the street to the train station, and caught an 8:30 AM (or so) train to le Mans.

Two train tracks run from the northwest distance to the left foreground.  Above is a wooden awning, and to the right can be seen two more tracks paralleling the first.  A person is walking across a pedestrian bridge that crosses the tracks, and another handful of people are waiting elsewhere.  To the far left is the station building itself, enclosed in a wire fence for construction work.
Alençon’s train station.

From the le Mans station, I caught a 9:30 AM (or so) fast train to Paris.

To the south is a broad, multistory building.  The lower stories are high, with a widely-arched glass façade with the name GARE MONTPARNASSE.  Above are many floors with small windows, evoking a 1960s institutional feeling.  A few dozen people are in the sunlight outside, sitting on benches or walking.
Paris’s Montparnasse train station, for trains to the west.

I’d allowed myself plenty of time to get to my appointment, so I did some sightseeing around Montparnasse Station.

Behind a tall wrought-iron fence to the northwest stands a two-story building of pale stone and red brick, with a third story under a steep dark roof.  At the top, below a small clock face, is inscribed INSTITUT PASTEUR • CHIMIE BIOLOGIQUE.  Two manicured trees stand behind the fence, and art — perhaps photography through microscopes — is posted at intervals along the fence.  The overall effect is one of studied stateliness.  A cargo van is being unloaded in front of the fence, and the sky above is blue with wispy clouds.
One of the buildings at the Institut Pasteur.

I then made my way past the Luxembourg Gardens, and to the Saint-Germain district to the Apple Store.

Above a barely-visible row of storefronts rises four or five stories of apartments in pale stone.  Windows and balconies are screened by wrought-iron railings; we are probably looking at multiple buildings, but they look very similar to each other.  The sky above is blue with wispy clouds.
The canonical Parisian building façade.

The Apple Store in Saint-Germain was essentially indistinguishable from one anywhere in the United States, and (I presume) the rest of the world — the same architecture, employees, and customers. I had a brief panic when I realized that I’d missed them calling my name, but they slotted me in, and I walked around the neighborhood while I waited for them to replace the screen. I wandered a few streets, had a snack at la Crêperie des Canettes, made it back to the store, and got my phone back, as good as new. (It was a little unnerving to walk around a strange city without a phone or even a map to help me find my way, but I managed, mostly by not striking out too far.)

Then, still with plenty of time to burn, I walked to the 14th arrondissement, where I would be staying with my family in a month, once we’d met up in London and then come back over to Paris. Finally, I walked back to Montparnasse to catch my train.

On an island in a boulevard, between two directions of traffic, a high, green metal arch stands to the southeast.  It holds a sign that reads “METROPOLITAIN” in Art Nouveau lettering, green on cream.  Below are people ascending and descending what must be a stairway leading down; at the far side of the stair is a smaller sign reading “PASTEUR” in the same lettering.  A few trees are visible in the distance, along with people and cars on the street; the sky has patchy clouds.
On the last Friday of every month, all adults are given a tiny glass of absinthe as they enter this Métro station.

The train ride back to le Mans, and the one to Alençon, were completely un­e­vent­ful. I got groceries for the next couple days, and slept.