That’s what friends are for

Posted on 06 June 2011

I am in love with Paris so, although two friends were in town, I left to join my friends Helen, Laura, and Jane for two-half and one full day in my favourite city in all the world. How could I resist? Helen said, “Meet us there. Free accommodation. We have an apartment that sleeps four.” I nearly didn’t go but then I thought, when is the next time I’ll see Helen? And, how can I not go when one of the joys of living in Europe is living so close to so many extraordinary cities? (I can rationalize anything if I love it enough.)

There is something about this city that makes me feel good. I remember walking the streets with Marlene who was as excited as me to be there. Every half an hour or so, one of us would chime “we’re in Paris” and the other would smile.

If you click on the picture above, you’ll be able to read a segment of Patricia Smith’s poem “Doin’ the Louvre”. Here’s another couple of segments which remind me of me with women friends in this beautiful marvellous amazing city -

“Girlfriend, you and I are too much scream for this place,
but you’re a junkie just like I am.
Too long denied access to official beauty,
we walk these streets
with our mouths open and faces tilted up
swallowing everything, swallowing it all,
much too much scenery and sound
for our thin American throats….

There are
in the Louvre,
girls soft as gunshots,
girls nourished and fueled by silvers, silks,
and the stone glare of Napoleon”

I traveled north by train, switched to the metro, got off at the Eiffel Tower, THE EIFFEL TOWER, and walked to the rented apartment where three “bad girls” were waiting for me and my foie gras and vintage from the south of France. We walked to a lovely but modest restaurant for dinner and I had my usual – steak with peppercorn sauce and frites. The next day, we walked along the Seine and walked and walked until I whined that my feet hurt and we stopped at a little cafe where I ordered a “salade nicoise” and a glass of rose. I think I’m in heaven.

After, we walked across one of the numerous bridges to the right bank to the Place de la Concorde where Louis XVI was executed by guillotine… and so many more. The square is large and imposing. I shutter when I imagine heads severed from bodies in one quick drop of the blade, and crowds standing round cheering.

We found the nearest metro and within 10 minutes were at the entrance to Galleries Lafayette, one of my favourite stores in the city where we remained for the rest of the afternoon. (I bought a simple white tee shirt.) In the evening, we grabbed a taxi to Shakespeare and Company and found a little cafe nearby on Place St. Michel. I love Paris. I am such a tourist but I don’t care.

My last morning, Helen and I took the metro to the Marais, ate breakfast in a small bistro, caught the metro again to the Apple store at the Louvre, and then grabbed another metro to Rodin’s Garden. We were to meet Laura and Jane there at eleven but it is the beginning of summer and the lineup is long. We join the line and chat and wait and wait until I begin to despair that I won’t get in in time to see anything before I have to catch my early afternoon train.

At noon, I pay admission only to the garden – a euro still (what I paid when I went with Marlene) though the grounds have been groomed and the museum fancier than that time. We find Laura and Jane in the outdoor cafe under an arbour of trees and then stroll through the grounds beautified, for the most part, with statues of nude men, men with huge hands and feet and small appendages. I find the musculature of the male body erotic…

I am home by eight in the evening.

Our friends’ last evening, Saturday, we went to Mas Pignou for an aperitif concert. This winery is fast becoming our favourite. Here’s a few pictures that show the glorious setting and us enjoying ourselves. Life is good.

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