Small silver souvenirs trigger memories of sites sighted by the Seine.
Flying to France again is still a fantasy. But a flanuer through fall’s fanfare of colors provides consolation for continued Covid-caused confinements.
Parting Shots … I will miss EVERYTHING —especially my friends, the streets, Willi’s — my restaurant and watering hole of choice these days, cozy cinemas, my neighborhood haunts, inexhaustible surprises (e.g. the Shoe exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs) and the energy everywhere. Bien sûr, having gym, library, grocery and department store cards feeds my fantasy that coming back is just the turn of a calendar page away.
Holidays Across the Pond … Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Paris — which is surprising because they regularly close down to honor saints no one, including Parisians, has ever heard of. On Thanksgiving Day I went with friends to a candlelit classical concert at the Institut Océanographique de Paris where we listened to a string quartet play pieces in the ambiance prevalent when most of the works premiered a few centuries ago. Then my friend Jocelyne, who owns my favorite jewelry store in Paris, threw a little holiday party in her store. She designs and creates the small treasures she sells, and we help each other with our French and English. I met her family and girlfriends and learned a little about the mystique of French women. Many American expats celebrate Thanksgiving on the weekend, and my girlfriend Joan puts on the ultimate traditional spread for an international group of friends and loved one. I walked past many Metro stops on my way home to ameliorate my food coma and enjoy the extra holiday illumination enhancing the City of Light.
Friends, Food & Fun — Longtime friends Helen & Charles in Paris to celebrate their 34th anniversary (I introduced them) — Lunch with new friend, Stanford anthropologist, Duana, at vegetarian restaurant (delicious food) — Girlfriend Joan Minor performed at her studio in a unique building converted from a factory into a haven for artists — Out & about with girlfriend Pat, her nephew and his buddies visiting from New York — And, bien sur, street scenes I can’t get at home.
Montmorillon is a magical medieval town in the middle of France that has been called “The City of Writing and Book Professions” because of its history as the center of paper-making and book binding. It is also where my dear, dear friend Suzanne, and her family, have made a second home. Her place on the town square is charming. The village has a typewriting museum and probably more Harry Potter-like bookshops per capita than any other town in France. There is a huge expat Brit community, a lovely, quirky tea salon run by a former Playboy bunny, welcoming locals and fantastic views all around.