Jan 14, 2010


Well, I have finally set foot on the ancient Chemin de Saint-Jacques.  One of the main rallying points for pilgrims leaving Paris on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela was a large church located on the north bank of the river Seine, near Notre Dame.  Today all that's left of this is the tower which is known as Chatelet.  I got off the Metro at that stop, took some photos, and then started to walk south.  The name of the street changes to rue Saint Jacques on the south bank at the church of St-Séverin.  I did make a slight detour to visit the Musée de Cluny - Moyen Age which was cool.  Lots of scallop shells on the walls and ceilings, but I think those are heraldic rather than an indication that the 15th century mansion housing the collection ever served as a hostel for pilgrims.

Then it was south again to l'église Saint Jacques Compostel.  The parish is now known as St-Jacques Haut Pas, but the older name has stuck.  There is a 14th century stone statue of St. James the Pilgrim, along with a prayer for the blessing of pilgrim's sacks and staffs.  I spent some time there today.

Leaving the church and continuing south along rue Saint Jacques, I was surprised to see a large yellow stripe painted on the sidewalk just across from the church.  From this stripe (a starting line perhaps?) a thin dribble of yellow paint led down the sidewalk for about 20 m before stopping.  A block or so later, I noticed the first yellow arrow, pointing back the way I had come, towards the church.  The arrows lasted about two blocks.  Maybe a coincidence, but a pleasantly surprising one nonetheless.  (For those of you reading this who are not up on your Camino lore, the main path through Spain is marked by yellow arrows.)

When I got back to the Institut, I bumped into Martine.  She has been a God-send.  I've been well looked after by the community at St-Serge, and Martine has spent hours on the phone with Air France on my behalf.  Thanks to her, I will be receiving 100 € from Air France plus they will reimburse me for any supplies I have bought.

The good news from today is that they know approximately where my luggage is.  They delivered it to Provence.  Because Martine has kept calling and very politely but very deliberately pushed, it looks like I may get my luggage back this weekend.

I think I will go on to Spain on Monday.  I've lost a week of walking (about 150 km or so) so I will take a bus to one of the bigger cities further along the route.  I should be able to buy what I need there if my luggage doesn't arrive in time.

I sure hope it does, because a battery charger for my camera will cost a minimum of 60
€, if I can even find one in Paris.  In the meantime, Sharif lent me his camera for the day.  Once he gets back from the library, I'll ask him where the USB cable is and start uploading photos to Flickr.

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