Day 16–What Recession?

While there is no doubt we are in a recession, it doesn’t appear visible here, at least from an outsider’s perspective. The Europeans have not bought into the stimulus idea. Hard to know whether that makes sense yet (although I noticed that the NYT chided them the other day to get the lead out’), but les Parisians are going about their business every day, from all appearances, like everyone else, I guess, but I supppose there’s really no choice but to do that.

I suspect, however, that the shops and restaurants and hotels here, especially the high end ones, are hurting. An article in the IHT the other day talked about the return to automated food vending machines, surprising really, when even the boulanger  around the corner has tasty-looking sandwiches at seemingly reasonable prices. It has long line-ups at lunch time, students, construction workers, tout le monde.

Meanwhile, our friend Linda asked to see photos of our place here, so I’ve attached a few. Note the computers on the dining room table; we each brought one to avoid domestic dispute. I “Skyped” this for my daughter the other day.

It’s another beautiful day here, just on the cusp of spring, so after Sandy’s class, we went to Café de la Mairie, 8, pl. Saint-Sulpice, on the north side of the square, another great people-watching spot where I’ve been coming for 25 years. Its great location is why, for a roast beef sandwich and a beer, it’s not exactly inexpensive. You might recognize the place as it shows up in many films set in Paris. We didn’t see anyone famous although Jude Law walked by Sandy the other day and the guy sitting next to us at the Café reading Le Mondecould win the Jean-Paul Sartre look alike contest, wall-eye, pipe and all. His wife didn’t look like Simone de Beauvoir, though. I figurered he’d think I was a goof (and probably be right) if I asked to take his picture so I showed some restraint.

After an apple tart from Poilâne, not to be missed although I certainly could have missed it, we hung out in the Jardin du Luxembourg where I had a bit of a nap. (Maybe not such a good idea in light of the ballet coming up tonight.)


The ballet wasn’t as good as the one last week although I liked the Mahler 3rd better than the Mozart. Although modern, as Sandy explains, it was way too pas de deux and twirly for me although it reminded me that I haven’t been to a Yoga class since we’ve been here. The Opéra Bastille couldn’t be more different from Palais Garnier if they had tried, the former much less ornate and more functional as befitted the century, I guess.

Afterwards, we went to a bustling little spot in the north end of the Marais, across Place Bastille which we had enjoyed the last time we were here, called Café des Musées, 49, rue de Turenne, near both the Musée Picasso and Musée Carnavalet.