After boarding the metro the other day, a towering man slipped into the car just as the doors sealed shut behind him. It was upon closer look that the other passengers and I realized that what was unusual about this man wasn't his height or his lanky stature but rather what he was wearing: a woman's burgundy skirt suit, a dark brown wig, and layers of stage makeup. As the metro lurched away from the platform, he launched into a theatrical monologue - a conversation with someone on the other end of a toy telephone receiver. The scene continued for several stations (likely ended up in a Vine) before he and I both descended. It was a strange if comical incident, to be sure, but on a scale of surprising sights in Paris it doesn't actually rank highest.
Nor do my Paris gym experiences from a few years ago or the somewhat recent running trend (the pall of outdoor exercise shame has lifted!). But witnessing the scene above, pooches lined in serried ranks patiently waiting for their dog walker to arrive and start the day's adventure, was out of the ordinary. A glorious surprise that elicited a justifiable stream of 'awws' from passersby. I was in the neighborhood for Verjus sandwiches (again) with photographer Valérie Dray and we both couldn't help but admire their astonishing demonstration of patience.
Laura of Verjus explained that these dogs camp out across from the restaurant nearly everyday before their stroll but the kicker is that once they begin, the German Shepherd on the far right takes the beagle's leash in his mouth and leads the pack. Any indecorous barking or tugging and he puts the other pooches in their place with a quick stare.
Having grown up with two large dogs, I often find myself wishing for a bigger apartment to relive the experience as an adult. But with the costly commodities of square footage and green space combined with our hectic schedules, it's not very fair or comfortable for even the smallest dog. Thankfully, I know where I can get my fix when the puppy pangs return.
My favorite spots for dog sightings: Jardin du Palais Royal, Jardin des Tuileries, and Parc Monceau.
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