Remember that cheesy moment in movies where the hero makes his speech to a dead-silent crowd, and then there’s that one guy who stands up with the slow clap that eventually builds till the whole place is roaring with applause? Whoever chose me for the Freshly Pressed feature yesterday is my slow clapper, and now I’m thinkin it’s not so cheesy.
Five days ago I was genuinely thrilled when this site hit 100 views. Those three little digits warmed my heart. Then a wand-tap by my fairy blogmother and voila: 1,700 hits from 70 countries in a day, and still counting. They say discretion is the better part of valor, so I’ll be brief but have to give a huge thank you to everyone who took a moment to stop by, subscribe, make a comment, press a Like button, etc. While relocating to a foreign country is a dream in many ways, you can feel isolated at times and this blog is my connection to a language, culture, and family that keeps me grounded. You’re all part of the crew now, and I’ll do my best to keep it going.
Ok, back to business…another Goonie Map stop. If you need to catch up you can do so here. This one took me to Place Vendome, a large open square conceived during the time of Louis XIV. Amid the ritzy hotels and high-end boutiques an intriguing piece of French history sits softly tucked away, barely visible until you’re close enough to touch it.
This is a metre étalon. We always associate Europe with the metric system, but it wasn’t always so. During the monarchies of France, measurement (like most everything else) was a reflection of the king. Therefore the king’s thumb = an inch, his foot = one foot. When the French Revolution arrived folks went nuts on anything that looked like, smelled like, or remotely resembled royalty. The only part of a king they enjoyed was the part rolling away from the guillotine.
Included in the overhaul was the adoption of the metric and decimal system in 1795. Problem was nobody knew exactly how long this new meter was, so the government installed several carved étalons, or standards, in pedestrian-heavy zones. This is one of only two remaining in Paris. For any American readers that might not be convinced by the metric system, try dividing something by twelve. Then, when your blackout is over, try ten.