She is a lady: in the young woman standing outside her shop, "un café" in one hand, a cigarette in the other; in the older man in a tweed coat hopping on his bicycle, his thin scarf flapping in the breeze.
|Chillin' at our apartment|
|The Sully wing of the Louvre|
|Looking down on the Sully courtyard|
arrondissement. The view from the steps of the Sacré-Cœur was wonderful. Walking around the cobblestoned plazas, past cafe seats facing out on artists sketching folks and cutting their silhouettes out of paper, was more than a little surreal; similar to other experiences I've had – in Quebec City, for example – in that I could now understand what they were imitating. It was so natural here; like drawing breath, for them, I'm sure.
|In Montmartre Cemetary|
Moulin Rouge was our next stop, in the heart of the 'red light' district. Obligatory photos taken, we decided to find some sustenance to get us through to the evening's entertainment: a fondue house that Tea had read about. Tea had onion soup – yes, Stephen, they drop the French part here :-) – and Kae enjoyed a cheese plate, as we took in the foot traffic; Paris really has some of the best people watching I've seen: everyone is so different, from their dress – formal or casual, it is always deliberate – and mannerisms, to their features; I could've been imagining things, but it seemed that I'd never seen such a variety of noses, chins, skin tones, facial hair... tall and lanky folks beside others so small you could only think 'miniature.' Silly, I know, but it's true!
The fondue house was fully booked, but the owner assured Kae that he would find a spot for us a bit later. We consoled ourselves with more wine at yet another brasserie, and by the time we returned, there was a significant queue. Thankfully, Kae is very memorable – as we all know! – and we were seated without too much fuss. Well, what a restaurant! I barely had time to take in the raucous atmosphere in what really amounted to a narrow room before a baby bottle of the vin rouge was thrust into my hand. Ah, hold on to your hat, I thought to myself.
I lost time that night.
I figure it's important that a writer acknowledge that up front. I remember moments right up to my head hitting the pillow, but many of them seem more like last grasps at dreams as I write this. I'm told I was very happy throughout, managing against all odds to avoid making a fool of myself. Thank goodness I had two lovely ladies looking after me, otherwise I surely would've left all my belongings behind as I hopelessly wandered the streets of Paris.
The next day was a bit rough.
Latin quarter, walking around the old haunts of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Orwell. The market streets were just as Hemingway described them so many years ago: narrow and chock full of carts offering fruit, cheese and seafood, with amazing pâtisseries and book shops in between. Oh, and a rack of rotisserie chicken, with the potatoes roasting away in the drippings tray at the bottom. (It smelled amazing!) And the vendors warmly greeting their regulars with a kiss on either cheek, and such joyful expressions that you'd swear they'd been years apart.
With our train scheduled to depart at 3 p.m., we spent our last morning shopping in the Galeries Lafayette, taking in the stained glass of that amazing ceiling to the main building, and ladies' accessories worth the GDP of small nations.
|No, Tea, our luggage isn't that big. ;-)|