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strolling the narrow streets

Again, a quick post as I’m drooping. I slept late this morning, which was a great blessing, so it was a slow day. Madame Blin and I did what we love to do – talk, eat, drink, shop. We went to Galeries Lafayette which was having a SALE – sales are rare in France and very worthwhile – and managed a few small bargains, including a warm bright pink scarf and a lovely blue nightdress my friend bought me as last year’s Xmas present.

I have to constate – a satisfying French word for which there’s no satisfying English equivalent – state, I guess – that the French are all amazingly well and tastefully dressed. Even the very old and the very young, even the angry, revolutionary youth and even, yes, some of the homeless, seem to be well dressed. Walking around is surreal, thinking of what a city street in Toronto looks like; here, it looks as if every person has been styled to step out of a magazine. It’s the men who get me, with their little scarves, their stylish glasses and shoes, their pants that fit. This afternoon, I saw a very old woman in a long skirt, sneakers, a little top, a terrific bag – something you do not see chez nous, malheureusement.

We returned for lunch prepared by M. Blin: lentils with carrots and chicken, followed of course by salad and cheese and fruit; these people eat so healthily, it’s mind-boggling. They almost never eat take-out or in restaurants, they just cook delicious healthy meals twice a day. God bless.

Then Madame and I went for a long walk around town in the sun. She and I, we discovered again, have very different tastes in many things – in literature, for example: she has little time for non-fiction and I for fiction. But we laugh, oh my god, we laugh. And we remember. 52 years of friendship – a treasure.

Following Madame up the medieval streets –

– a cathedral rebuilt in the 17th century

the ubiquitous alleys of plane trees

Dinner: white asparagus in vinaigrette and chicken breasts in a cream sauce. With Cotes de Rhone and followed by cheese. Meal prepared by Madame in 15 minutes, while Monsieur and I discussed why I liked H is for Hawk and he did not, and why we both loved Elena Ferrante but Lynn did not. Fascinating.

I am snug in my hotel for the last night; tomorrow I’ll spend my last night in Montpellier on my friends’ sofa. Never before have I been so extravagant in my travels – five nights in a hotel. It’s reasonable and the breakfasts are enormous, but still, it’s money I never used to spend. But it’s heaven – privacy, bothering no one, doing my own thing. Like now.

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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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