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Sunday night

I am slowing down a bit, dear bloggees – not only in my sightseeing, but in writing about it. As my stay here approaches its end, I want more and more not to go to museums or monuments but just to walk around savouring the day and buying lettuce – and by the way, the lettuce I bought at the Monge market was superb.

On Friday night, I went out to the apartment building in Gentilly, a Paris suburb, where we lived in 1964-65, to have dinner with old friends who still live there – or at least, Henriette does; Dad’s friend Jacques died in 1989, a year after Dad.  Their two sons were little kids when I knew them and are now the fathers of grown children. It was particularly interesting to see Francois, who was six then, a cute little boy, and is now a graphic artist just like his dad, 50-years old and dressed in a trendy jean suit. Anyway, old times, old times.
On Saturday morning I went to the Vanves flea market. Interesting and fun – stall after stall of junk and treasure. There was a lot of quite good art for sale, material and lace, pottery, jewellry, furniture, books including very old ones, posters, everything.  The Japanese, for some reason, are preoccupied by vintage buttons. I was looking for women’s fashion magazines from 64-65 and didn’t find a single one, though I did buy a ’65 Paris Match full of cheerful ads for cigarettes and pesticides. I also saw one of my favourite books from childhood, Tiger’s Adventures, exactly the same except it was called Les Aventures de Tigre. Didn’t buy it. 
I just got home before the rain and settled in to work when I got an email from Diego, the designer of this website, a talented artist who came up with the idea of the handwritten links, and how to display the pencils. He and his fiancée were passing through Paris, would I like to meet them for a drink? We met under the baroque fountain on the Boulevard St. Michel and had a few beer at a café on the Boulevard St. Germain, watching the hoards stream by and talking about France.  I realised that Paris is enjoyable no matter how you approach it – here I am fussing about the way to avoid lines and when best to see things and how to see everything important, whereas Diego and Bernadette went to the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees and Notre Dame and hoped to go up the Eiffel Tower and that was about it. And were loving every minute.
This morning, I went to my local Rue Mouffetard market – and if there were one thing I would like to take you all to, right now, it would be that market on Sunday morning. The narrow cobbled street crowded, a bit touristey, but there are lots of locals buying their Sunday dinner, line-ups at the cheese store, the butcher, the bakery, the flower store, the wine store. There are so many produce stands those have no line-ups. Big news: melons have arrived, and they’re delicious. I staggered home with my groceries, salivating, as usual.
Then, back in tourist mode – off to Sacré Coeur, hoping again to get there and back before the promised rain, which today, unlike yesterday, did not in the end arrive. I didn’t last long in Montmartre, which was jammed. It was like a Disney attraction called Parisland. Or maybe Artland. When you climb up the very steep hill, you arrive in the square where ten thousand tourists are having their pictures drawn and are sitting cheek by jowl to eat. I squeezed through, took a peek at the Basilica itself and walked back down the hill. Another sight scratched off my list.
Maybe, despite all this raving and ecstasy, I’m a bit homesick. As a peanut butter addict, I brought a pot with me but have hardly touched it. Tonight I had peanut butter toast for the first time in ages. It tasted like home – only the bread was Frencher. 

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23 Responses to “Sunday night”

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    Hi Beth, was so nice to see you. Small world! Continue to enjoy your trip, see back in Toronto soon. Take care. Diego.

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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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