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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Dempsey is a Golden Retriever puppy who is in training to become a Helping Paws service dog for an individual with a physical disability. He lives with his parents Doreen and Paul, and Bailey the cat. None has ever trained a puppy before. These are their adventures. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the blog author. The contents of this blog have not been reviewed or approved by Helping Paws, Inc.

Monday, April 18, 2005

More walks in Paris

Musee du Vin – The Wine Museum is in the old cellars of the Minimes Monastery, which was founded in Paris in 1493. There’s a restaurant that offers wine and cheese tasting, but I stuck with the regular ticket, which included a tasting of an excellent Gaillac. Walking around the cellars was cool, but most of the displays were simply of wine paraphernalia. There were a few interesting displays. The first was a wax figure of Honore de Balzac. Balzac retired to the Passy area of France in 1840, but he was so besieged by groupies, he needed a secret escape route – through the old cellars of the Minimes Monastery. I also liked La Raseur, a 19th-century sobrietity test. It 's a toy that was given to bistro patrons. If you could balance it, you could have more wine. If not,you were cut off. The model on display in the museum is from Alsace, and I suppose it does look a bit German.

The Statue of Liberty – On the Allee du Cygnes, a small island in the Seine, there is a miniature version of the State of Liberty. Some people say that Frederic Bartholdi, the French sculptor who created the Statue of Liberty with Gustave Eiffel, used this smaller version as a model for the larger, though that doesn't make sense to me. At any rate, the Parisian statue is now owned by the city of Paris, who dedicate it to all the Parisians living in the United States.

Parc Andre Citroen – Named after the Dutch entrepreneur whose company manufactured the much-loved Deux Chevaux, Parc Andre Citroen is tucked away in the southwest corner of Paris. It’s a modernist garden whose most striking feature is probably a large balloon, which is used to advertise satellite services, of all things. For 10 euros, you can ride in the balloon, though it wasn't clear to me how long the ride is, or even when they're scheduled. Unlike the lightbulb-shaped balloons we see in America, this balloon is round, just like the world's first balloon, launched by the Montgolfier brothers in France. I guess this is where Paul Simon got the idea for "Red Rubber Ball." (Though now that I've Googled the lyrics, I see the morning sun was shining like a red rubber ball, not rising like a red rubber ball. Scratch my last thought: Those lyrics are as inane as ever.)