Paris is still within me, breathing history, window shopping, art, Place des Voges, getting lost and found, architecture, food, ambling, champagne at 6€ a glass.
Loved people watching from outdoor cafes, sipping champagne.
Friend Hope and I had 8 cloudless, sunny, warm days in my favorite city. New amazements: Musée Picasso now re-opened. The art is shown beautifully.
Hope looking at a Picasso sculpture
The new Frank Gehry building that houses the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum is a technical and artistic marvel. We spent hours there.
And of course, saw all the old favorites. The Musée d’Orsay had a special exhibition of one of my favorite artists: Bonnard. The Grand Palais had Velázquez.
All museums had wheelchairs. I wheeled myself when Hope got tired. The French were more attentive than New Yorkers, taking great care of a woman with a purple cane.
Our hotel in the Marais district had old-world charm (translation: small rooms) and up-to-date technology (translation: wifi worked in lobby only.)
Self portrait in hotel mirror
The staff couldn’t have been more helpful. They charted bus routes, made dinner reservations and helped connect to Wifi.
My favorite resource, though, was my American poet/photographer friend, Margo, who lived just five minutes away.
She speaks French fluently, knows everything, and recommended only the best affordable restaurants. Beautiful white roses from Margo welcomed us to our room. She enhanced our time.
Because the Marais has a Jewish quarter, we were noisily reminded of the Charlie Hebdo attack last January. Across the street, sirens shrieked as fire trucks left the firehouse often to prowl the area and soldier-boys carried lethal weapons. Police cars cruised the neighborhood. Despite this, most of the streets in the Marais were quiet and endlessly fascinating and fruit blossoms and flowers bloomed everywhere.
My two favorite arrondissements are the Marais in the 4th and the 6th on the Left Bank, near the Seine. I think I’ve been to Paris about 15 times. France was the first country I traveled to in 1962. Paris demands at least two weeks and a month would be better. I packed in as much as my strength allowed.
We rode in a pedi-cab with a fake parrot.
The dollar exchange rate with the euro was nearly one-to-one and restaurant prices are much lower anyway than in NYC. So with money saved, of course I had to buy shoes: leather and lace short boots.
While most of Paris sleeps on Sundays, the Marais opens its arms to shops and restaurants. People eat falafel on the street. I went to a restaurant, King Falafel, and watched how the woman at the next table ate hers. Maybe it’s an acquired taste but I much preferred our daily breakfast. A walk across the boulevard St Paul to Miss Mannon, whose windows of pastry start you salivating.
From Margo, I learned to drink my coffee noisette style — espresso but room for milk. And one fluffy croissant was more than enough.
I could go on and on but now I’ll take you on a more personal travel — my life journey.
You probably know I am stage 4 and incurable and that my diagnosis changed from metastasized breast cancer to metastasized lung cancer. I shouldn’t be alive but here I am, and there I was — in Paris! My hero, Oliver Sacks, with his terminal diagnosis said he wants to travel as much as he can. I feel the same way.
When I saw my oncologist, I told her from now on I will not do any chemo, except for the once a month, no side effect Zometa strengthen my bones. I found out that there was not a big enough liver sample to determine any treatment. I have had two liver biopsies. No more.
I saw my internist today and she was pleased by my decision. But not by my losing two pounds. And not pleased at all by the queasiness I feel most mornings. So I am missing Paris but looking forward to every finally-spring day and to the Beatles Ball at the Century tonight. I wish you à bientôt. See you soon!