The Parisian Tropics

Emile Zola, in his classic novel Le Ventre de Paris, references quite heavily the smell of Parisian fish markets in the summer. Whilst I have managed to avoid such odours, as he describes in glorious detail, the alternating heat, humidity, and thunderstorms has turned the visit this city into a rather unexpected experience. Nevertheless, we were blessed on Sunday with a meeting with Gianna V., a local whom I've known online for several years with a mutual interest in Glorantha. Gianna took us for a walk along Le Petite Ceinture a former railline reclaimed public nature walk. The walk ended with a visit to a book market where I found myself in possession of several hefty art history tomes.

After that we visited Montparnasse Cemetery, final resting place of many famour people. We visited a good number of sites, but in particular I felt special respect for the sites of Simon de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Alfred Dreyfus, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, and Jean Seaberg. Each of these are individuals who have had a major effect on my own intellectual and aesthetic development; I could write extensively on each. For now, just these words of recognition will have to do.

The work-week began with a visit with Loic N, at the L'Institut du Calcul et de la Simulation on their HPC operating environment and the impressive cross-disciplinary work that they do. The university was next door to the medieval Musée de Cluny so managed to get a good dose of that end of the historic spectrum as well. The following two days have been at the Conference Teratec at Ecole Polytechnique Paliasseau, some distance from the inner city. A good-sized (1300 attendees) the conference show-cased the major projects undertaken in France's HPC environment in their quasi-syndicalist approach (business, academia, and government working on mutual projects). With dusk not occuring until around 10pm or later, much of the evening has been spent on semi-random public transport trips, eating at simple restaurants, and just walking; an especially pleasant discovery was a large park and gardens, Parc Montsouris. It's good to know that the Parisians have dedicated a park to mountain mice.

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