Saturday, April 12, 2014

Time Flies ou Le temps passe vite!

This Paris week has passed in a flurry of activity. On Monday, I met my former professor from Le cours de civilisation de la Sorbonne. I was anxious because Madame is an award-winning teacher who is an expert in sociolinguistics and 19th century French poetry. I have not been taking courses since we met last year and was feeling unprepared. I worked very hard the term that I spent in Paris and do not maintain my French at home.

I walked all the way from Place des Vosges to Boulevard Raspail in inexpensive new "comfort shoes"
that I bought to wear while my other shoes were being repaired. Beware of cheap shoes! Madame suggested that we meet at the new site of the cours (CCFS) and that she would give me a tour of the building that now houses all of the facilities (classrooms, study rooms, library, conference rooms) all with SMARTBOARDS and beautiful views of the Paris rooftops. She is deservedly proud of her new workplace and introduced her visiting former student to her colleagues.

Madame had invited me to lunch Au Gymnase which is not a cafeteria in the gymnasium but
a friendly restaurant on Raspail. Simone de Beauvoir was born in an apartment on Boulevard Raspail and Mavis Gallant wrote at Le Dôme on the corner of Raspail and Montparnasse, To lunch with a world-class scholar on the street of my Paris heroines, quel rêve. Madame and I spoke of her new grand baby, current expositions in Paris and her anticipated retirement. Just two women of a certain age having lunch together. Kisses planted on both cheeks, adieus bade, I began to hobble on my newly blistered feet back to the Marais. Eventually, I hailed a cab and was comforted by a man from  Guinée Equatoriale who assured me that no Paris woman would ever walk that far and that he liked a strong, healthy woman.
I started out early before the chairs were out.
The next day, I started out early (for my Paris self) to meet my youngest brother at the gardens of the Cluny museum. For anyone who is visiting this year, Le Musée Cluny has been transformed and according to Madame is worth revisiting. For those who have never visited, the Cluny is a beautiful museum of the Middle Ages which houses six tapestries which recount the story of The Lady and the Unicorn. I read the novel by Tracy Chevalier and quite enjoyed it.

We walked back to my brother's hotel in the 15th  to pick up my sister-in-law for a day of sight-seeing.
As she had a sore knee and I was still "breaking in my feet" (you never "break in shoes"), I suggested a taxi to the Batobus which is one of Paris's sight-seeing bargains. It's not a tour but hop-on-off boat that travels along both banks of the Seine from Le Jardin des Plantes to the Eiffel Tour, stopping a Notre-Dame, Louvre, D'Orsay and St. Michel. It costs 16 euros for 1 day or 18 for 2 days for unlimited use.

We hopped off to give my sister-in-law her first view of the Eiffel Tower and spent some time people-watching in the surrounding parks. Then we headed to Rue Cler for lunch at Le Café du Marché. I have always enjoyed Rue Cler and stayed at the nearby Hôtel du Champs de Mars a few years ago.
However, the area is one of Rick Steves's favourites and you may find yourself seated among a lot of North Americans.

After lunch, we took another of Paris's sight-seeing bargains #69 bus which runs all the way from Champs de Mars/Invalides to Gambetta (Père Lachaise Cemetery) for less than 2 euros. Buy tickets at a tabac or machine because you do not get a transfer (correspondence) on the bus. Drivers carry change so bus riding is not stressful.

I disembarked at my street corner, leaving le couple to travel to Père Lachaise. We spent Wednesday evening and Thursday enjoying Paris together and now I am back to my solo life. It seems impossible but I have only 10 days here before I leave for more family time in Shetland.

It's yet another sunny Saturday in Paris. A little tidy-up and I'm off to buy fresh flowers!

2 comments:

  1. I'm really enjoying following your peregrinations through Paris. Through our visits, we seem to have spent considerable time walking on Raspail, so I loved picturing you there -- and in such exalted company, both your former instructor and all the literary illuminati of the past. . . .
    I love the Cluny, but we haven't been there for a few years. I'm going to try to make sure to get there this trip, although we only have two days in Paris. I'm keen to see the reno -- and to have some time with the lady and the unicorn again . . .

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  2. You might also want to visit Le Petit Palais for the current exposition. I now have a to-do list for Paris. Ten
    more days before Shetland! I can never spend long enough in Paris.

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