My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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saturday’s child

Saturday was swanning about day, with a great deal of walking – how grateful I am to my new sandals, which have saved my life. Or at least, this trip. I didn’t bring sandals, thinking, it’s early April, for God’s sake. But it has been 22 degrees for days, gorgeously hot, and the need for comfortable sandals has been intense.

I went back to the Marché d’Aligre, which is really a wonderful mess of junk and stuff, spent an hour or more poking through, digging into heaps of clothes and piles of trinkets and antique books. Found a stall that sells pens and notebooks, hooray, got 5 good pens for 7 euros, and found a leather shoulder bag for 5 euros. So – a small reward for my efforts.
Walked down to the Viaduc des Arts, which is a series of shops built underneath an old railway bridge, and above, a garden path, “la promenade plantée.” What a great stroll on a sunny day, high above Paris in greenery and peace. Then descended to walk to Bastille, where there was a flotilla of police. I asked what was happening. “Un manifestation,” replied the handsome policeman with the most gallic of shrugs. It hadn’t started yet, people hadn’t even begun to gather, but the flics were ready with their armadillo shoulder protectors.
Crossed to the left bank of the Seine and there was the Institut du Monde Arabe, which has a café on its roof and a fantastic view of all Paris. Popped into little shops all the way home, especially loved a beautiful Japanese store selling all manner of colourful paper goods and desk accessories, had trouble not buying here but didn’t. Did stop at the second hand store on the rue Monge, that I’ve visited in the past. It’s filthier than ever, truly reprehensible, with mountains of stuff piled on the floor. The French don’t get second hand – either it’s places like this, which are impossible and very cheap, or it’s designer resale, which is nearly as expensive as new.
I confess, however, that I did root about a bit and found the top I’m wearing now (after washing), and a big black shopping bag with Paris on it. For 3 euros. Stopped in les Arenes de Lutece, a pre-Christian arena in the middle of the shopping street, the oldest arena in France. Which has wifi. Bought wine, milk, cheese, cereal and of course bread, and home for a late lunch. But it was just too beautiful out, couldn’t stay in, so walked across Luxembourg, which was beyond packed, to St. Germain again, just to walk around and walk back.
The day’s expenditures, for groceries, 5 pens, a leather bag, a top and a Paris shopping bag to put them all in, totalled 25 euros and 1 bus ticket. Now that, if I say so myself, is one thrifty tourist.
My friend Gerry had sent me Eleanor Wachtel’s interview with the brave and hilarious best-selling Irish memorist Nuala O’Faolin, who died in 2008. I listened to it while I dined. Kept laughing out loud.
“In Ireland,” she concluded, “I’m incredibly damaged goods, not just because I am, but because I’ve described it!”
Heartbreakingly candid and generous. Highly recommended.

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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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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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