Au Revoir Paris!

Paris – July 16

On our last day in Paris, we took it easy – both going our separate ways for part of the day and then joining up to compare notes and have yet another wonderful dinner.

A highlight, believe it or not, was going to the Bon Marche department store across the street from our apartment and buying cutlery. I’ve never been much on accoutrements for my house but I do like nice table ware! Several years ago I splashed out on Emile Henry plates and now I’m getting the cutlery to match. The “maison” floor at the Bon Marche must be one of the most stylishly beautiful department store floors in the world. I did not expect to find anything even remotely in my budget but so much for assumptions. My cutlery really wasn’t that expensive – coming in at around 4 euros per piece.

Here’s what the new cutlery looks like.

And I believe that it is a sign from the household gods that we have to go back to Paris in August so that Gregg can meet with the Pompidou curator. While he does that, I can slip on over to the Bon Marche and buy two more sets of cutlery to make a set of six. And I can also get the teaspoons. I was being budget conscious the first time and bought just four place settings of knife, fork, and big spoon.  But honestly – little spoons deserve to be bought as well and there were at least three or four more colors available. I must do my part to keep Europe solvent.

After buying and then fondling my new cutlery, I took the metro over to one of my other very favorite museums – the Cluny — the museum of medieval art. I do love a good bit of medieval art and the Cluny has such an amazing collection including the wonderful Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. I talked at length about them in my 2010 blogs so I won’t go into detail here. Instead, I can focus on the lovely concert of female Gregorian chanting that happened to be on while I was visiting the museum. I paid the extra 5 euros to see the concert and settled down for almost an hour of a cappella singing by five female voices. At times, the sounds they made were truly sublime, particularly since the concert took place in the large atrium room in the Cluny that is ringed with over-sized marble busts and torsos of various unidentified kings and queens. Very evocative. At other times, the music had me drifting off into a strange half world where only three notes could be sung in just one of two tempos – slow and really, really slow. I had more than a few head jerks as I struggled to keep awake and earnestly attentive.

After the concert, I wandered down Boulevard Saint Michel towards the Luxembourg Gardens and treated myself (I’m very good at treating myself) to a lunch in a lovely brasserie overlooking the park. I ordered the shrimp and smoked salmon salad which, at about 13 euros (maybe $16?) was an incredible bargain. I actually had more smoked salmon and shrimp than I could comfortably eat – and that’s saying something. I didn’t think it was possible to have too much smoked salmon but there you go.

I had a nice wander through the Luxembourg Gardens and joined the hordes of contented looking French persons sitting by the pond in the sun. The weather had been fairly dull and rainy the whole time we were in Paris so the sudden burst of warm sun was most welcome.

Photographing myself in the Luxembourg Gardens

On the way back to the apartment from the Luxembourg Gardens I indulged my shopping reflex (never all that dormant) and bought some earrings, a bracelet, and two very bright plastic bowls for use on the road. Oh – and a pistachio macaroon from a patisserie…

On our last evening in Paris, we strolled over to Montparnasse (one of our favorite neighborhoods) and had a lovely bistro-style dinner that didn’t break the budget. Sadly, I cannot remember what I had but rest assured (I know you were worried), it was fabulous.

We were sorry to say au revoir to Paris but we as it turns out, we’ll be back on August 7. We also hope to come back for a much longer stay in the spring. I’d like to just settle in and live in Paris for a few months–take French classes, do some work, explore some more. We shall see.

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