But I also want to show you a little more of Paris. I promise there will be just one more post after this one. And Brimfield will come first.
I'm perpetually bewitched by the big tourist boats ploughing up and down the Seine. I love watching them but when I've taken them, I'm less thrilled by the loud tour guides and music on board. I'd been planning to take one on this trip, but the idea of being inside under glass or sitting on a deck with the sun beating down and the racket wasn't appealing. So I admired from a distance:
Descendant of Claude Monet in front of Shakespeare & Company:
Shakespeare & Company is loaded with atmosphere inside, and even has a nice tabby cat upstairs in the library area, where people play the piano and everyone wanders around feeling artsy. (They also have a coffee shop next door, because even famous Parisian bookstores need to find new ways to survive.) Alas, they don't allow any photography inside. Except in this book, so go there and look at the photos. It was too crowded for me to take a decent photo outside, but you've seen those a million times anyhow. I've always liked this sign:
For us, every trip to Paris includes a visit to the medieval Rue Galande, where there is a very good archaeological bookstore among other little shops:
I usually sit downstairs and read my guidebook among their antiquities (that's probably how they survive) while my husband checks out their new and rare books. Twenty years ago, when we told them we were on our honeymoon, they gave us a Ptolemaic coin as a good luck charm. It worked! And now we always go back.
Early in the morning, you can choose the best seat at the café:
Where is everyone? Don't worry, soon almost every seat will be taken, and when you get the last one, the people on either side of you will all light up cigarettes at the same time.
We need more pastel graffiti here in America:
I had a fast, tasty lunch from a crèpe stand in the Marais. My crèpe had ham. olives, and mushrooms buried in all that cheese, which turned crispy from the griddle. I sat at the counter and watched the crèpemaker sway to "Like a Prayer" as he cooked— his radio was blasting American oldies and the beat proved irresistible.
I'd return to the hotel in the afternoons to find little notes on the bed or in the bathroom. I figured out that they came from the shy, smiling young fellow who sometimes served breakfast. It was weird but charming:
Churches stay cool in the hottest weather:
This probably accounts for the religious fanaticism that flourished from the Middle Ages to the 20th-century development of air-conditioning. There's a Ph.D. dissertation topic in there somewhere, blending the history of HVAC technology with religion — and you are welcome to take my idea and develop it, because I don't plan to. I just like to park myself in churches, especially when I get lucky enough to listen to the organist practice. As I sat in this one, I heard Bach fugues and the Pachelbel Canon. (I guess they aren't so tired of it in France.)
Everyone flocked to the Seine on hot summer evenings. Several days after we left, "Paris-Plages" began — sandy beaches are built along with river, with floating swimming pools, palm trees, and other amenities. (Click that link to learn how this year is different because of The Orange One.)
A hot and hazy sunset, around 10 pm:
I heard that, two days after we left, Paris got 2 inches of rain in one hour. Part of the Louvre's basement level flooded. If I had still been there, I would have enjoyed getting drenched — and cooled to the bone.