I had little trouble finding the pieces of most of my childhood yesterday, even if some of it had disappeared. Bit today, I was determined to find Lycée Longchamps.
A lycée was the most prestigious secondary school in the 1950s. At the time, children took an exam at age 10 which effectively separated the academic from those who would leave school at 14. Imagine having your future decided at this age. Somehow I was a year ahead in school and took the exam at age nine.
I passed and was admitted at the Lycée, an all-girls school. The elementary school (both state schools, or public in US terms) were sex-segregated.
So today, I walked in the direction of Palais Longchamps, a big tourist attraction and kept asking people on the streeet where the Lycée was. Most gave me the famous Gallic shrug and added “desole” but then I hit the jackpot. A woman gave me very specific instructions because she had graduated from there.
The lycée had turned into a college, a kind of middle school. Much more democratic, much less prestigious. Oh we’ll, I didn’t waste any emotions on that. I only went to the Lycée for a few months before we left for the US.
I checked out the Palais Longchamps, built around an aqueduct during a persistent drought in the 1800s. It now houses two museums but the water still flows.
On the way to another attraction, I passed a McDonald. Now it is customary for Americans to stop into a McDonald in other countries and see what the differences are. I was not prepared for their emphasis on climate change.
The walls highlighted what McDonald was doing to help reduce their carbon foot print.
They mentioned the Kyoto Protocol in big letters. Who still remembers what the Kyoto Protocol is? That’s certainly not what an American McDonald would be worried about.
The menu, by the way, seemed to be the same fatty, greasy food as in the US. I didn’t try it. I was on my way to a better meal.