The Institut Catholique is due northwest of my apartment, which means that the shortest route to school is to walk up rue Gay-Lussac, and dart across the Place Edmond Rostand (thinking about Cyrano every step of the way) and then to walk through the Luxembourg Gardens.
And that, I must say, is always a treat. The gravel crunches in this really healthy-sounding way, and the big fountain in the middle is frozen over right now, so you can watch the birdies have their little ice capades. It has this really heavenly geometry about it. Every tree, bush, and flower has been put there by somebody who was thinking about how it would all hang together. Math can be a beautiful thing.
Really, the only thing that mars the loveliness of it is the Tour Montparnasse (a sixty-or-so story office building that rises some ways in the distance, but rises over the horizon above the gardens nonetheless).
I take the path the goes around one corner of the Sénat, past the Musée de Luxembourg, and lets me out on rue Guynemer. That is a mean corner there, where the people coming from the east on the rue de Vaugirard are really not thinking much about pedestrians as they make their left turns. (Or maybe they are thinking about running pedestrians over. There does seem to be an air of intent in their obliviousness.) So you look once, twice, three times, and then cross the street. Five minutes later, I am at school.
It's a ridiculously pleasant thing to do in the morning. On my way through today, it occured to me that there are a lot of winged statues here. Certainly more than in Los Angeles. Probably fewer than in Rome. I wonder if it messes with the little kids' heads seeing them. I wonder if people who've lived here forever even notice. I couldn't blame them if they didn't. Whatever the case, it is certainly very nice alternative to rolling down La Brea, hoping to make the light at Wilshire.