Post Paris

Although French people have the reputation of being unfriendly or downright impolite, there are times when they are very charming, like when complete and utter strangers stop at your table when you are served your meal and say “Bon appetit.” This happens quite often. Or on the metro or the bus when young people get up to give their seats to older people. As happened to me a few times. Shoot me.

Someone knits these little hats and puts them on the sidewalk barriers. It’s adorable. And funny. I considered taking one (Presumably the person who makes these would welcome the opportunity to make more) but then, well, they are not as tidy as one might like and who knows who or what the hell has touched or been schmeared on them.

Parisians have great knockers. 

Sorry for that.

When I first came to Paris, Les Halles was still the food purveying center of Paris. Butchers, trucks, slaughtered animals, flowers, blood, vegetables, etc. At the time I thought it was pretty wonderful, now I am not so sure it would be charming but it makes no difference since this all has been moved far away outside of Paris where it is easier to get to and no one has to look at buckets of offal. In the meantime it has been replaced by a sprawling and strangely glorious shopping center that feels like the inside of a beehive or perhaps paper wasp’s nest. This is the first time I have ever seen it since it’s been under construction for decades. I don’t know how long it will last as there was almost no one in it. If you happen to use the Les Halles Metro stop, as we did, you can get ensnared in miles upon miles of confusing tunnels, escalators, elevators, ramps and platforms. It is not easy but it would be preferable to walking in sleet I suppose.

St Joan of Arc 

Dehillerin, not once but twice (in as many days)…first reconnaissance, and then the actual purchase. As if his apartment building isn’t already teetering on the edge of collapse from the weight of the copper pots he currently owns.

The obligatory chocolate shop explorations

The hotel room was so small you had to open the window and sit on the sill. 

The toilet, even smaller.

The new Russian Orthodox cathedral in Paris was a huge letdown. It looks spectacular on the website but in fact you can only see a little room that holds 4 or 5 icons, and a set of doors. There is also a fairly substantial gift shop selling among other things books about Russian saints who appear to have suffered a great deal. While we were there a priest in a filthy cassock, a long, thin, greasily unkempt beard, and a massive, ornate cross hanging around his neck came whizzing through blessing the bobbing, mumbling adherents who were crossing themselves frantically reminding me of a scene from some lugubrious movie except that it was bright and cheery rather than dark and smoky as I tend to think of Orthodox churches.

Achingly beautiful moments

A Painting by Chagall 

Achingly awful cigarette smoke always. 

Three, possibly four packs of cigarettes. Seriously?!

Paris nights. Chez Paul, gotta love it, bad waiters and all. Sorta like Paris.

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