Sunday, January 29, 2006

Eau du Treizième

The things you find...

I am usually the one to find things. I have more time to explore, speak and read the language a little better, and like to take the time to look around. But, Dr. B had something new to show me tonight as we took Dogface for her evening poop, um, I mean walk.

We went up to the Butte aux Cailles as usual, following her (if you follow, she is more likely to get the job done than if you drag her where you want to go). We passed through, and headed downhill, turning back before reaching Rue de Tolbiac. As we came up behind St. Anne's church and headed back toward the Butte, Dr. B stopped to show me a public pool that was in a beautiful red brick building. According to the sign, it was built in the 1920's for the public of Paris as a pool with showers and baths, and was open every day except Monday, when it was used for students in school.

Nearby, several large chrome pipes came out of the ground, looking like modern art sculptures. As we came closer, we read a sign saying that this was actually an artesian well, and was there for the public's use. In this area, the old River Bièvre used to flow, and an underground river still does flow beneath the streets, hence the well. The water is pure, naturally, due to filtration by sands deep below the ground. This water stays at 28 degrees Celsius, and is perfect swimming temperature in the pool. (Read more about the history of this area by clicking on the link above for "River Bièvre".)

I waved my hand in front of a little glass "eye" (much like the sinks in airport bathrooms) and water came gushing out. We each had a drink, and cupped our hands for Lucy to quench her thirst, while watching people fill their Vittel and Evian bottles to cart home with them.

Every day, something new. Paris is such an interesting place.

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