Day 88–Libraries, Museums, etc.

The guy we saw smoking the other day started chatting with me at the gym today. Turns out he buys and sells vintage Chanel, Hermes, Vuitton, etc. scarves. (He gave me the card for his boutique:, if you are interested.) After 2+ months, a few of the gym “regulars” have become reasonably friendly.

There was no strike at the beautiful Bibliothèque Mazarine today so we had a wander around. One of the librarians showed me the 400 year-old Greek dictionary which he was cleaning. They didn’t allow photos but you can access their website at

Jackie and Paul, with whom we had dinner it seems ages ago now, are moving back to England but we had a chance to have lunch with them at La Grille, 80 rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière, in the 10th arr. Would return here in a second, especially as the charming husband-and-wife owners have run this place for 40 years and, as Lobrano rightly notes, undoubtedly will retire one of these days. I asked the mustachioed, chef-husband if I could stay and work in his tiny kitchen. He said, sadly, it’s too small for both of us. If coming to Paris, come here soon! (By the way, La Grille refers to the grill on the exterior of the restaurant not, as I had thought, a grill as in grilling steaks.)

Can’t visit Paris, especially for 3 months, without going to the Louvre, so we spent a few hours there before going home for une petit pause. The Denon wing was teeming with people.

On the way back we picked up some new French commemorative postage stamps that have a chocolate scent to them, like the chocolate on LU petits ecoliers biscuits. Only the French!

Trying to fit everything we haven’t done into a few more days of sabbatical, we went to a all-around, disappointing dinner at Casa Olympe, 48, rue Saint-Georges, in the 9th arr. They clearly sat the Anglos in the back room, at least that was my impression, sitting next to a very nice couple from San Francisco and observing another Anglo couple in front of us. I heard nothing but French coming from the front room. To boot, la serveuse, originally from the Pyrenées, had lived in and disliked Toronto!

Never mind.

The Institute de France was luminous at the end of the Pont des Arts on the way home.