As I grew up, with my head buried in books, and my ears pealed to the tales woven by my history teacher (I took both Ancient and Modern), Laurie Field, one form of words exploded my imagination like no other: Bois de Boulogne. This coincided with the period where I was captivated by both Heminway and Fitzgerald and that lot of writers who haunted the cafes of Paris in the '20s. And they frequented the racecourse at Longchamps, part of the woods.
Today, early - well early for me - I took the metro from Varenne on Line 13, changed at Clemenceau to Line 1 and went all the way out West nearly to La Defense. Alighting at Pont de Neuilly, I swapped to Bus 43 which dropped me about a kilometre from Parc de Bagatelle, part of the Bois. I will take you along with me for the next couple of days. Let's start with that most spendid symbol of decadence: the peacock. The woods resounds with their startling call.