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Samedi dans la pluie

Cold and rainy today. I went out for provisions – finally chose some jam, a special kind of Bonne-Maman with even more fruit. I didn’t get the fig jam or the wild blueberries; I chose raspberry/apricot. Can’t wait for my next croissant. 

Went to the bakery right next door, and while I was buying a baguette, a pain au chocolat and a tiny vegetable quiche, I asked the lady about the man sitting on the ground outside. “He probably can’t work,” she told me. “He’s a ‘sans papiers’ – I think a gypsy. His whole family, his wife and children, work in the neighborhood.” By ‘work,’ I gather she means the same work he does.
So he is not allowed to work in France. He wasn’t demonstrating with the other ‘sans papiers’ on the Boul’ Mich’ the other day because he was at his job in front of the bakery. I went out and gave him 2 euros and explained that because I pass by so often, I could not give him something every time, just now. He gave me a cheery smile. I’ll give him something again, for sure, but now we are friends and I don’t have to feel strange as I pass him by. 
I’d eaten half the bread by the time I got inside, a few steps away, but made myself a proper lunch anyway – a pork chop, ratatouille, asparagus. I never do this at home, but here, it just seems right. Had my pain au chocolat for dessert – with a double stream of chocolate. Mmm. And then settled in to read this weeks “Elle.” The book reviews, of course. 
In case you think I’m being silly about not wearing running shoes around town, because we do it all the time at home – well, the French simply do not. Kids wear Converse sneakers, but middle-aged women wear proper footwear. People dress well to go anywhere. I’m especially impressed by elderly women, even the very old – still carefully dressed, sleek and fashionable. Perhaps it’s impossible to live in a city so beautiful and not dress to match, though the French in less beautiful places dress up as well. But not so well, I’m sure, as in Paris.
And now, out into the chilly drizzle to meet my new young friend Denis, the computer genius who fixed the internet here – we spoke about meeting somewhere to walk around and then have dinner.  But where? “Let’s see,” he said, “do you know the Champs-Elysees?”
“I’m pretty sure I can find it, ” I said.
So we’re meeting on the left sidewalk as you stand with your back to the Arc de Triomphe. And if I get lost this time, I must be going blind. 
I can report that even in a constant drizzle, the Champs is packed – thousand of people, from every nation on earth, parading up and down. There’s a Louis Vuitton superstore there, many stories of luxury goods, which can stay open on Sunday, Denis explained, because there’s a Louis Vuitton Museum inside. Mmm, just want I want to do in Paris – visit the Louis Vuitton Museum. 
Because it was so wet, my young friend and I spent most of our time eating – first at a heated sidewalk cafe, an espresso and a Berthillon sorbet, his mango and mine cassis – black currant. Berthillon are the famous Paris icecream makers, and mine was absolutely the best sorbet ever. 
Then we wandered. Denis is the age of my children but unlike them, has a regular job – he’s a chartered accountant and likes to buy Hugo Boss clothing at the sales. After getting thoroughly sodden walking up and down, we stopped for dinner at his favourite pizza place, where the waiter greeted him like a long lost friend – Denis used to work nearby – and brought us a free glass of champagne. We gave up our walk, though, both of us cold with wet feet.
And now, to work. I have an essay to edit. I hope the rain stops soon, because I need a run – today, nothing but treats, delicious but sitting heavily in l’estomac. 



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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