I had to go visit Our Lady today, to pay my respects, to show her how much the world cares. And though I wept to see her from the side, roofless, exposed, hollow, at the same time, there she is, magnificent if battered. She will rise again. Though what a job it will be to restore her – many years of work. (click to enlarge)
A friend wrote to suggest that the Vatican sell a few treasures to fund the repairs. LOL. If only.
I was going to go to the famous Shakespeare and Company to buy a new book for my trip home – I’ve just finished Educated, more anon about that – but the shop is a stone’s throw from Notre Dame and obviously has its own share of fans. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a lineup to get into a bookstore before.
So instead I went to the Abbey Bookshop close by, owned by a Canadian, a massive jumble of books. The owner Brian was kind enough, when I was here a few years ago, to buy and stock both my most recent books. Perhaps they sold; I didn’t see them anywhere. In any case, I bought a humour book for Madame – Savoir Rire: the humorists’ guide to France, and for me, Missing Kissinger, short funny essays by Etgar Keret, one of my favourite writers.
It was a zoo around the cathedral, with every news organization in the world lined up and all the streets nearby blocked off by police. I crossed over to the right bank and walked east, heading to the Marais and the Picasso Museum. Passed the beautiful Hotel de Ville which looks more fragile now.
Then wandering, dropping into shops, window shopping – getting little gifts for the boys and things I need – for example, they sell very good anti-moth products here, got some of those at Monoprix. Passed the famous falafel resto in the rue des Rosiers in the Jewish section, but there was a lineup –
and there was a half hour lineup at the Picasso, did not have the energy, kept walking.
A beautiful park, no lineup, kept walking.
Finally stopped for lunch in a crowded bistro – the salade auvergnois came with a little tartine covered with caramelized onions, of course a basket of delicious bread – fresh orange juice to fill me with C, and a little noisette after, an espresso with a splash of milk.
I’m feeling a bit battered myself, so taking it easy – out for dinner tonight, and tomorrow my last day.
Educated is a very good read – though it feels long in parts, mostly because it’s hard to believe it took Tara the writer the entire book to figure out that her parents are intolerant lunatics and one of her brothers is a psychopath. We’re screaming at her midway through, and she doesn’t really get it till the end. But her journey is extraordinary – from a completely uneducated fundamentalist Mormon with survivalist parents to a Ph.D. in about ten years – phenomenal. This is a young woman who in first year university had never heard of the Holocaust. Recommended, even if there are parts you want to move through more quickly.
Cool and grey, drizzly, here today, as if the skies are mourning too. Long live Notre Dame de Paris.
PS Just realized – that for years I have made plans to climb the towers of Notre Dame to take in the view from the top – but there was always such a long queue ahead of me, I never did. Even this trip, I told Lynn I’d try again. Now I probably never will – because it will take decades for them to rebuild, and how many years more will I be coming to Paris? This makes me sad. Carpe diem!