Sunday morning, we’re all eventually dressed and out the door, heading over to the Musee Cluny, our friends here visiting from Canada. We take the scenic route, cutting thru the market on rue Raspail, shoppers fill the stalls of cheese makers and the produce stalls; it’s fun to see the kids taking it all in. We emerge from the crowds and take rue Vaugirard toward the Luxembourg gardens. Andrew and I had been here earlier this morning doing our weekend jog. There are more runners now doing the loop around. The lawns are green and there are some trees in bloom with delicate pink clusters. The garden changes every time you visit it. The weather, the season, the mix of people, where you’re going, whom you’re with.

When we visit New York, it’s usually the street life that makes the greatest impression. The mix of people from all walks of life working together, sitting on park benches, waiting in line in the great melting pot. Buying a hotdog from the  street vendor, along with the Wall St. bankers, fashionistas, students, kids with nannies, bus drivers, everyone mixing/mingling, eyeing each other, commenting, accepting, condemning, ignoring all at a glance, creates an energy. And a pretty full-on sense of humor.

It’s the same back here in Paris when you’re out on the rues, immersed in street life, summing up metro situations, judging status, appraising style, overhearing conversations, jumping to conclusions. It’s the kick and flow of meeting strangers looking for the metro, then realizing you’re all Americans and where are you staying, what are you doing, did you know… what do you think… I’ve been there too!… say hello to your cousins for me.. or .. a street moment with a Parisian whose dog likes the smell of your dog, then Bonjour/hello, what kind of dog, how long in Paris, what do you think about… this/that, sharing stories on the corner of rue des Sevres.

The kids want to sail a boat in the basin of the pool in front of the Palais de Luxembourg. There is a strong wind that pushes the miniature boats swiftly across, children with sticks run to bat them back in other directions. Parents watch shivering a bit in the chilly air. We go into the garden cafe with its lacy curtains to get warm. Families are crowded together giving their lunch orders. Some child’s balloon bobs on the ceiling in the warm air. We finish our cafe cremes and walk outside where a crowd has gathered in front of a band playing Irish tunes. I kick my boots in the dirt and dance to the music.