It appears that I skipped Day Thirteen. No, I’m not triskadekaphobic; by the time we got back to the hotel in Paris, I was, to use a French term, épuisé, exhausted. After the four-hour drive from Beaune (by way of Dijon), Anita had celebrated with a victory lap on the Champs Elysées, which she had seen before as a window-shopper, but yesterday as a driver. The Arc de Triomphe is at one end at the center of a huge traffic circle with twelve boulevards leading into it. It has no lane markings, and simply constitutes a huge free-for-all. We learned later that French auto insurance companies consider it a no-fault zone. That is, accidents “just happen.” But we made it okay, got to the car return place just before closing, and got to our hotel just in time to crash into our beds.
Let us say of our hotel that the location is great. It is on Rue de la Huchette, just off the Seine south of Notre Dame, “two steps” from the famous St. Michel fountain and, most importantly for me, the Gibert Jeune bookstore complex. The street itself is a center for jazz clubs and eateries , and if you just think New Orleans Bourbon Street you’ll have a good image. But here’s mine (ours is the big red HOTEL sign):
I was afraid of the street noise keeping us up all night, but with the window closed and the air conditioner on (yes, air conditioner in late October–who knew?) we couldn’t hear a thing.
Today was shopping day. I headed off as early as possible to my own favorite bookstore, L’Ecume de Page. Today was release date for the latest issue in the Nicolas Le Floch series, the adventures of a fictional 18th century detective in special service to kings Louis XIV and XVI. This one brings us up to two years before the Revolution, and all the fans of this series are beginning to get nervous because we know (and Nicolas doesn’t) that heads are about to roll in France, and we’re very concerned about his welfare, since those in service to the king don’t fare too well in the Revolution.
Then Anita joined me and we went out for watercolor gear. Sennelier has been the source of first resort to the great painters of France since the late 19th century.
Having recently resumed her latent interest in watercolor, she decided she just had to have something from there.
You know about terrace cafes in Paris. I am one who thinks that some cafes take the concept just a little too far. This little Italian restaurant is a case in point.
On the way back to our hotel, we just happened across a place Anita had read about but forgotten to add to her must-see list, a little tea-house called Treize, the French for thirteen, which we often refer to as a “baker’s dozen.” When we opened the door, instead of the customary “bonjour” that always greets us, we heard “Y’all come on in.” The hostess is from South Carolina and one of the workers was a Texan wannabe. We felt right at home. So if you’re from the southern part of the U.S., and you want a little southern hospitality, give them a try, and tell them we sent you.
We’ve had a great trip, and we’re glad you could come along with us. Au revoir!