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Hemingway Adventure

Paris, France (fourth day)

Paris, France 
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From the sublime to the ridiculous, jogging through the Tuileries Gardens against the background of triumphal arches, statues and the roofs of the Louvre. Note: The fountains of Paris all seem to work.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureWake up, heart thumping and very anxious. Vivid dream that I had lost all the film crew’s baggage somewhere in the Alps. Could have been prompted by last night’s reading of the story of Hadley Hemingway who, early in 1923, lost almost every one of her husband’s original manuscripts, at the Gare de Lyon, on her way to join him in Switzerland.

I think I might have had a glimpse of how she felt.

It’s Chinese New Year today and at breakfast we toast Basil with coffee and croissants. He says it’s the Year of the Rabbit. Must remember to ask him under which animal Hemingway was born.

Today the plans so lightly entered upon over a sangría in the Dix bar are set to materialise. Brian, my Hemingway for the nineties, meets me in the Tuileries Gardens for a brisk run to start the day. Jogging through this spectacular park seems a wretchedly trivial activity, dwarfed as we are by magnificent gilded arches, monumental fountains and the massive grandeur of the Louvre.

The only disadvantage of being surrounded by such sumptuous display is that it takes your eye off the dog shit. This is plentiful, and avoiding it demands considerable agility, which probably adds an extra aerobic twist to the exercise.

We run on, past elaborate neo-classical statues which have an odd Hemingwayesque touch to them - elephants struggling with rhinos, lions devouring peacocks - and rest briefly before taking to bicycles near the Eiffel Tower. Hemingway became a devoted fan of French long-distance cycle races and an avid reader of the sport’s most influential organ - Le Pédale. After this an almost relaxing game of table tennis on a concrete public table beside the Canal Saint-Martin, until we are thrown off by some very small children, followed by proper tennis in the Jardin du Luxembourg, where Hemingway often played, though not, according to Hadley, with great patience.

‘Whenever he missed a shot he would just sizzle.’ His racket, she went on, ‘would slash to the ground and everyone would stand still and cower’.
Paris, France 
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Les Invalides. A monument to great egos, Louis XIV, the Sun King, built it; the body of Napoleon rests inside it.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Paris, France (fourth day)
  • Country/sea: France
  • Place: Paris
  • Book page no: 83

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  • France
  • Day 1 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 78 
  • Around the World in 80 Days

  • Table tennis
  • Day 54 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 4 
  • Pole to Pole