I see a sign for les "Aranes de Lutece," the sands (or arenas--their floors were made of sand) of ancient Paris. Without a map it takes me some minutes to find it, but you can easily follow the road signs for walkers, progressing from one to the next. There, tucked in a corner not far from the Jardin des Plants is the ancient 3rd century arena, a stone structure surrounded by the contemporary city. Imagine this place in Roman times! I spend time there exploring and then trying to connect to the Internet, which is supposed to work in all the Paris parks and works in some.
On the way out the Paris mosque and then a beautiful double stairway with an "eau de Paris" fountain as its focus, and all around a wall of flowers. You climb to a street roughly perpendicular to Rue Monge: Rue Rollin. Lovely and quiet, closed off to traffic, a slight bias inward to the center where storm water drains. Here was the home of Benjamin Fondane, Romanian-born poet and philosopher deported from here and assassinated at Auschwitz.
I walk up the Rue Rollin to an elementary school. Like all the public elementary schools in Paris, it displays the required plaque commemorating students who were deported, and like Fondane, murdered in the holocaust. I walk back the way I came, stop at Fondane's house again and than at the "Place Benjamin Fondane," just at the top of the staircase.
I wonder as I look Rue Monge below and a corner butcher shop: Was this the last thing Mondane's eyes set upon as he was being forced down these stairs?