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vendredi – only 3 days left

Today my legs almost gave out. Haruki Murakami, whose memoir I’m reading, runs many miles every day, and I, the softie, had to limp home after a lot of walking. But really, it was a LOT of walking.

Today’s plan was to get the bus to Pigalle and walk to the Musée de la Vie Romantique, from there to Galeries Lafayette and other shops, from there to the Canal St. Martin near the Place de la Republique for a picnic, and home. I almost did it all. The walking home defeated me.
The stunning little museum is dedicated to the writer Georges Sand. Walking down a long dark pathway, you emerge into the courtyard of a lovely little house covered with roses and bathed in sunlight. (See picture, below.) The museum itself must be for avid fans of Sand, with memorabilia, her rings, paintings she did of her children etc. She was an admirable woman, incredibly liberated for her time – she supported herself and her family with her writing in the mid-nineteenth century, taking the name of a man to make this possible, and had an impressive roster of lovers, principally the writer Alfred de Musset and Chopin, to whom she dedicated 8 years of her life. Imagine trying to keep the kids quiet – she had two – because M. Chopin needed to practice.
I bet HER books are in Shakespeare and Company.
From there, one last trip to the Galeries Lafayette, which is not a store but a glittering palace. I came in through a back entrance which turned out to be the Japanese greeting area – there was a Japanese hostess and about 100 Japanese tourists, getting ready to shop. I saw them throughout the shop with their Louis Vuitton bags. I guess the Japanese economy hasn’t been hit as hard as the rest of the world’s? At least for these folks. Because I sure can’t afford much in the store. I’m in heaven looking at fashion now, though, because it’s all purple, purple all the way. I spent much of the Sixties in purple, and now its time – woo hoo! – has come again.
I tested smells in the perfume department and am happy to report that I’ve finally found my scent. Every Frenchwoman has at least one perfume, if not several, with which she sprays herself subtly; she is naked without it. I’m not one for squirting sweet stuff all over myself, but when I can afford a bottle of Cristalle Eau Vert cologne, by Chanel, maybe I will. It’s new, it’s fresh and green, it’s lovely. Maybe they’ll have a small bottle at the airport duty free store.
From the emporium of sparkles, a long walk down Boulevard Haussman, headed first for what’s been called on various blogs the best bakery in Paris, and then for a picnic beside the Canal St. Martin, which I’ve never seen. Got lost several times but found the bakery Du Pain et des Idées (Bread and Ideas), stood in the long line-up. A young baker took over a beautiful old boulangerie and has become one of the master bakers of France. There was a notice on the door, though, saying that he decided not to shut the bakery in August when he went on vacation, leaving it in the hands of his apprentices. Some of the bread, it’s true, was a bit blacker than it should have been. I bought a “p’tit Canadien,” of course, a scrumptious brioche made with maple syrup and cranberries. Imagine! And an ordinary loaf, and for lunch, a roll like a pain au chocolat but with chevre and spinach.
Found the canal and sat munching and reading the latest Elle. God knows where this canal comes from or leads to, but there it is, a long body of water with locks and ornate bridges, very peaceful, lots of people sitting along its banks. Lunch was delicious. Elle, I’m sorry to report, is boring this week, a back to school issue full of obscenely expensive, miniature adult-style children’s clothes.
I would have loved to meander back to the left bank, but as I said, my legs disagreed, so I took the bus. Just went out one last time, to get supper on the rue Mouffetard – roast chicken and a cooked artichoke, ready to go. No matter how good a take-out place is in Toronto, the chances of it having a take-out artichoke are remote.
Now for a quiet evening with my aching legs up, drinking rosé and reading about running.
PS Just looked on-line about Cristalle. One blog said it had notes of “bergamot, Sicilian lemon, a magnolia accord, neroli, jasmine absolute, white musk and Florentine iris.”

Sicilian lemon? Jasmine absolute? I just thought it smelled nice.



2 Responses to “vendredi – only 3 days left”

  1. Unknown says:

    ooooooo Cristalle – I can smell its beautiful scent here on the aromatic east coast…not quite, but remember its and Paris' sweet scent when you're on Air Canada heading home. Bon voyage and look forward to seeing you in our home and native land. Nora

  2. beth says:

    The day I really feel French will be when, before leaving the house, I spray myself with perfume, tie a little silk scarf to my Cavaillon market handbag, check my manicured nails and my perfectly applied lipstick, toss my beautifully cut and coloured hair, and set out.

    A long, long way from that scenario. For a start I never get manicures because during the long and boring process, you can't read.

    Wish you were here. Martinis in Paris – now that'd be fun.

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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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