ON Saturday we tried to get a connection for the Macbook to the Voltaic Solar panel/battery – no can do. So I ended up carting the whole thing around with me to the Louvre – where we dashed into the Orangerie Gallery/Musee to avoid rain and had a delightful afternoon perusing the Apollinaire Exhibition (Guillaume Apollinaire invented the word ‘sur-realism’ and wrote and illustrated Le Bestiary as well as being a prolific poet, writer and art critic) and the Paul Guillaume collection of paintings by Soutine, Modigliani etc.
Sophie cooked supper and we talked into the night.
On Sunday, it was overcast, so I spent the day painting daily drawings and catching up with blogging, whilst Sophie battled with the head cold she’d been developing since stopping work on Friday (she’s on her Easter holiday from the inner city school she teaches English at) and cleared her apartment and read.
In the late afternoon the sun came out, so we did too, and walked along the old, raised railway line converted into the Coulée Verte René-Dumont – a 4.7km linear garden walkway which runs opposite Sophie’s apartment and overlooks the city buzz. We walked past Sophie’s old apartment block (on the same road) and could look down into the guts of the Bastille Metro station. We had a beer in the wonderful Place des Vosges (where Maison Victor Hugo is) and watched the sun fall behind the grand buildings. From there, we went on to Le Place de la Republique where the shrine to the Friday 13th Paris bombings and shootings is situated and also where hundreds gather every night in Nuit Debout to discuss democracy and how to avoid a repetition of such atrocities and end war. Sophie hasn’t had the time to go there, when she’s working – but she said I could not be in Paris and not go. I might not have understood the speeches, but I could feel the passion.
ON Monday we walked past the Bibliotéque Nationale de France to find an arts centre where Sophie’s old friend works in a café based in a gallery – we had a three course meal which was heavily subsidised – Farid treated us to our drinks and dessert. (We shared a starter and pudding, but emerged feeling very full and loosening belts). The centre is covered in graffiti and is an old building surrounded by brand new buildings as much of the surrounding area has been developed in the last 10 or so years.
I bought some lights for the bicycle (thought this just might come in handy) before we walked home to watch Au bout Le Darjeeling limited by Wes Anderson (another in the same vein as the Royal Tenenbaums) – I dozed off during the denoument. Tut tut.
Tuesday and it is hot and truly Spring in Paris – with abundant blossoming of trees all round. Sophie and I went to the market at Place d’Aligre, which was just closing but which I remember so well from my first visit to Paris all those years ago. I bought a couple of ancient cartes postales (last of the big spenders) and Sophie found a pretty necklace for 2 Euros. Then we sat in a bar having coffee and were joined by an old friend of Sophie’s , Marie and then her friend Isabelle came and joined us too. A flying visit to Jardin des Plantes before zooming home to greet Farid at the door – he came up to play a little guitar (he’s a talented musician) and to drop off some Moroccan Olive Oil – some of which I now have in a small bottle to take with me.
Our time together comes to an end so quickly. It was a fabulous interlude in the great adventure – Sophie goes off to Switzerland to be with old friends (in her beloved mountains) for the remainder of her holiday, and I continue on to a Warm Showers Host just outside Paris (pas loin) in Lognes. I thank her HUGELY for her hospitality and gifts and entertainment over the last few days. Stay well, my friend.
And now It’s as well to get back into the rhythm of the journey slowly I think.