My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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one of the remarkable trees of France

As many of you know, I am an inveterate shopper in junk stores. Never did I think I’d live in the middle of one in Paris – one of the best-known marchés aux puces, le Marché d’Aligre, right outside the door. They start setting up at 6 and people are there to shop right away, almost entirely,  I’ve noticed in the morning, men. There’s an extraordinary jumble of French bits and pieces, African sculptures, old clothes and bedding and books and paintings and … Could have bought a Hermes portable typewriter that works for 20 euros. Some lovely old dishes. Have bought nothing. It’s amazing what the thought of carrying a suitcase does for the shopping.

 Click to enlarge

Yesterday, I went on-line to figure out the bus system; I had to get across town and wanted to take a bus, a much better way to travel than the metro if you’re not in a hurry, because the banquet of Paris flashes by outside the windows. I figured out which bus I needed – #29 – and where it went, set out, got lost 4 times just finding the street, and then – the street was one way the wrong way. But finally I found my bus. Getting lost is part of the adventure here, in the rabbit warren of little streets going every which way. I am always lost, and Lynn has no sense of direction at all. But we get around.

After the long ride right through the right bank, had a long walk to the Musee Jacquemart-André, a museum like the Frick, a gorgeous mansion full of great art. There was a special exhibit of the fabulous collection of a Spanish art collector, including this beautiful Toulouse-Lautrec, the Reader, which I photographed from a book. And then, lunch in the humble little café.

Walked to the Parc Monceau that I’d visited once before, a pretty little park where I sat for an hour on a park bench, watching joggers – French joggers! – listening to birds – birds! – and reading the NYT on my phone. Discovered this magnificent tree, officially one of the “remarkable trees of France,” a plane tree planted in 1814.

I waited for a bus to take me to Pigalle, where I was meeting Lynn; standing at the stop, a woman from India exclaimed at my colourful jacket, bought for $15 at Doubletake. “And look, there’s silver!” she said, touring around me. She told me she’d lived in America and Dubai but here, in Paris, “I have discovered my place, my people. Oh their love of beauty!” We had a great talk about the joys and difficulties of Paris and then my bus came. As I got on, we hugged. “Keep shining,” she said.

I will take that as an order.

I’d been invited for an aperitif with a couple from Toronto who have an apartment they rent out in Paris, so was there to say hello and check out the place. It’s a nice flat and extremely reasonable, so please get in touch with me if you want more information. Not sure it’ll work out for me because it’s very far from where Lynn is working, and one of the reasons I come here is to connect with her while she works in Paris. So we’ll see. But for someone wanting a reasonably priced and comfortable home in Paris, it’s wonderful.

Back home in the crowded metro. It’s funny, I’d assumed that Lynn and I would be eating out every night, and instead, by suppertime, I’m tired from a day of walking and she from a day of vetting English speakers, and we dine on ham, cheese, bread, and salad in our little kitchen. While we jabber. We argue a lot about English grammar. Who else can I do that with?

This morning I went to the Franprix across the way to buy groceries – coffee, milk, olive oil. It’s a joy to do normal things here, like a French person. Will go next to the vast food market also right outside the door, and then for the most important purchase – wine. My Indian friend is right. I too have discovered my place and my people, except that my place and my people are also in Toronto. No problem with having two places. Or more.



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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.

Some Blogs I Follow

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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A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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