Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Paris in the rain

Here's the good news: last week Paris was so hot, the air was polluted. Well, it's not polluted now. My lungs are clear because it's not hot, it's cold and very wet. Yay!

I had work to do today. My landlords, the wonderful Kushners, asked me to look at sofa beds to replace the one here which has had its day. So after checking the website, I took the bus in the pouring rain to the store they recommended, Conforama. Had to walk across the Pont Neuf, which contrary to its name is the oldest bridge in Paris, to get there - not everyone buying sofa beds has such a gorgeous walk. But when I got there - a typical Parisian surprise - closed for inventory! All day! Yay!

Luckily next door - Habitat, a good furniture store. Spent an hour sitting on and taking pictures of sofa beds with a charming young salesman and then gazing longingly at the other fabulous stuff in this store. And then I would normally have strolled along the rue de Rivoli, one of the best shopping and viewing streets in the world, but it was still pouring. And I, without boots (!!) or umbrella. I got the metro home, stopping at my favourite bakery on the rue Mouffetard to buy bread and a hot slice of mushroom and ham pizza for lunch. Divine.

Out again after coffee and chocolate to walk to the Fondation Cartier in the 6th, the St. Germain arrondissement. Caught a glimpse of Val de Grace, a Baroque church near here, as I walked past:
Went to an exhibit of Latin American photography at the Fondation Cartier, which is a sleek modern building designed by Jean Nouvel with one of the old trees of Paris, a cedar of Lebanon planted in 1823, incorporated into the design.
It was a sad exhibit, very dark in spirit though interesting to me as it was often pictures of signs. I love photos of signs. I went partly because my tenant Carol lives part of the time in Uruguay. She would have appreciated this. But many of the photographers wrote of and showed cities filled with poverty, violence and discouragement.

And then - well gosh, I just happened to be near the Tour Montparnasse, so, forgetting all the poverty, violence and discouragement, I walked through the rain to the giant hideous tower and its Galeries Lafayette, which still has a big sale - sales are national in France - to check if their selection of cashmere turtlenecks was better than in Montpellier. Unfortunately there were nearly none. I said to the salesman, But it's cold! And he said, A few days ago, Madame, it was more than 20 degrees.


Strolled around as best I could in the rain, then got the bus home to do laundry and read and work. Made a humble omelette and salad for dinner. I am appreciating my solitude. And also finding it very, very strange. It is very quiet. That's what I came for, I know. But it is very quiet.


  1. Lovely to imagine you in Paris, Beth, and to follow your route! When I was last in Paris, in 2010, there was a nifty vintage shop in the Marais, on rue ste-croix-de-la-bretonnerie and rue vielle-du-temple.I remember boxes of cowboy boots (my style) and lots of sweaters and little jackets. And another shop on the same rue, closer to r. des archives, which had beautiful Tibetan jackets and silk things. We loved roaming around in that district (we had a little flat there), buying food in the Jewish quarter, and big bottles of Normandy cider to have at lunch. Enjoy every minute! I love your posts.

  2. 7.30 a.m. here in Paris, which means you may just be going to bed on the West Coast. Our transcontinental mutual admiration society continues, Theresa. Yes, the French have discovered vintage, in their extremely stylish way, and made it theirs. And now a new revolution - there was an entire page in the Paris Elle last week explaining how to wear "les baskets" - sneakers - in the city. Yes, French women in sneakers. The end of the world is nigh.