9/11/11 Mon dernier jour en Paris. This morning at breakfast, the Muslim girl was much better behaved. She smiled at me when I said “Bonjour,” and even responded in kind when I said, “Au revoir.” Tables were set, cups, glasses, plates were available. Much nicer than yesterday. (I am so glad I did not interfere.) Are plans made to be changed? Did I have a plan for today? For the record retail therapy always works! First I bought myself a Paris teeshirt to wear tomorrow on the plane trip home. Then I started through les jardins Tuilleries towards Blvd Champs Elysses, when it started raining. And me without my umbrella. So I bought another one, so I wouldn’t have to go back to the room. And continued down the boulevard, looking for comfortable, athletic shoes, preferably the shapers with the curved sole. Ducked into different magazins to look. Finally found the shoes I wanted, bought them, and wore them out of the store. Oh, the difference! So much less pain in the hips and feet. Walked in the rain, happy as can be, back towards my part of town. (My new shoes definitely are not chic, but at this point comfort ruled.)I was hungry, so I stopped and ordered a bowl of French onion soup, some bread and a cup of tea. Very good. (The young Americans sitting near me were eating hamburgers, French fries, and coke.) Dumped my packages at the room and decided to go to the Musee de Decorative Arts, next door to the Louvre. Very strange museum. First exhibit was of a fashion designer (I’ve never heard of) who basically stripped his models. Then un salle des bijoux through history. Animals in art, children’s dolls and inflatable toys. Lots of furniture from la belle époque.
(Side note here: I’ve had some tummy problems today. Yesterday I learned the difference between “cru” raw and “cri” cooked. I’m afraid the salade I had yesterday with thin sliced ham, actually had thin sliced raw ham. Later I had a ham sandwich with jambon cri. Who eats raw ham???? Anyway I think that upset my stomach. I may not eat out tonight depending on how my digestive system feels. Probably more information than anyone needed, but it may be important to look for the word “cru” which means raw – might not want to eat that.)
After the musee, I went in search of a Pharmacie where I could get something for my stomach. Walked in the rain (in my dowdy but comfortable new shoes) all the way to l’Opera and back. No pharmacie open. So I bought some vita-water and cheese for my dinner in my room. Not every meal needs to be a three-course event. I have had some delicious food here: escargots, French onion soup, shrimp salad, raw salmon salad (I think raw salmon is ok), crème broulee, chocolate tarte, fromage, fish with vegetables, beef and potatoes, delicious all. Le fois gras was less than good. I thought maybe it was the restaurant and maybe I should do some taste-testing of fois gras at other restaurants. Mais, non.
I’ve had a fantastic time in Paris. The first six days were full of seeing the sights, marveling at the history, taking over 200 pictures, enjoying the street performers. These last two days were added on to see what it would be like to live here. Of course, it is doable. And even desirable, since I have written more here en Paris than in the past 40 years of my life. The fact is no matter where I go, there I am. Which is a good thing now that I finally enjoy being me. And if I can write in Paris, I can write in Los Angeles or Baton Rouge or wherever I am. As Hemingway said, Paris is a moveable feast.
P.S. The rain stopped, the sun came out to set. I had to go out to the square at the Louvre, where the pyramids are, to say good-bye. Cool clear evening, puffy clouds drifting away, the Eiffel Tower in the distance. And a street performer, a flutist, playing Ravel’s Bolero. Perfect. A farewell blessing, another gift from Paris. (This one did not have a CD for sale.)