Day 18–Montmartre

Ok, so maybe it was a little silly. We went to a 10:20 p.m. movie, way past our bedtime, Dans Paris (“Two Days in Paris”) which cost us 14 euros (being over 60, I am generally tarif reduit here) and which we could have rented from Blockbuster in Toronto for about $4. We were the only patrons at the theatre. There was no popcorn on offer. The movie was mostly in French, with no English sub-titles, although there were French sub-titles when the characters were speaking English. On the other hand, I do like Julie Delpy. And Jessica recommended it.

Meanwhile, we must becoming part of the local scene as our newsagent chatted with me today. He showed me that he had put the IHT on the top rack but, because I am tall, it wouldn’t be a problem.

We had two new students in class today. An au pair from Portland, Oregon and  Ph. D. student from Italy. We discussed l’integration.

I see David Dodge says that we are in for a deep and prolonged recession that will fundamentally alter capitalism. I couldn’t agree with him more.

Here, in Paris, il fait beau. We went to Montmartre. (Sorry, Gord, we resume the architectural Paris on the weekend.)

When I was a boy, maybe 6 or 7, I often looked at a litho, probably 1 of 5,000, which we had hanging in our home of the Place du Tertre in Montmartre, although I had no idea at the time what it was. I just knew I wanted to find it in real life. In particular, it had a cerulean blue splotch just off-centre which I found entrancing. I am not even sure that my parents had ever been to Paris or how they acquired the piece. I just knew that I found it beguiling and needed eventually to find my way to Paris. I still have that picture even after 100 moves. Anyway, being at Place du Tertre takes me back 50+ years to my childhood. Even the reality can’t diminish the memory, despite Paul Simon’s haunting line “Everything looks worse in black and white.”

While I think our attempts a blending in as Parisians are getting better (see above), I can’t think that we are quite there, the F-A-T factor aside.  For instance, we already have 3 ID cards: our Navigo (Metro) pass, our gym membership and the Alliance Française card, all with photo.

Nevertheless, two things give us away: I tend to take photos although in Montmartre, where there were throngs of people (maybe because of March break?) this wouldn’t be exceptional and because of certain receding (!) hair issues, I have to wear a baseball cap. I might have gotten away with the latter but on the way out, it was one of the last things I packed and I grabbed my JFK Library cap with an American flag logo on front. Not the best choice, I know, but I couldn’t find much else and Sandy told me today that she wouldn’t have let me wear my Stratford “Music Man” cap at all. So better than nothing as it’s been sunny, so I’ve put away my bonnet and resorted to the JFK, malheuresement, mais pas de choix. I am certainly not going to get a cap that says “Paris,” that’s for sure.

Went to Café de Flore for our people watching today, after buying Le Monde and a few art magazines.

We had dinner at a fairly new place in the unremarkable 15th arr., not far from here but an odd place to find, called La Beurre Noisette, 68, rue Vasco-de-Gama. To say it was terrific would be an understatement. The presentation, inventiveness, taste and service were beyond description. While not inexpensive, we’ve spent way more money for much less enjoyment than this not-to-be-missed place.

I must add, as I”ve been meaning to do, that no one dresses here for anything, at least any thing or place that we’ve seen. Jeans, no problem. No jackets, no problem. Again, we’ve been going to cafés, bistros, brasseries and the like, but still. The most dressed we ‘ve seen was at Palais Garnier.