Chapter Nine

Copyright © 2002 by Martin S. Reff
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 24, 2001

Marcia felt a little better so we took a limited walk over to Lafayette, the department store. She was looking for a cardigan - white or black, and I another small towel that I use for a face cloth. She found a nice red cardigan and I, my white face cloth which was on sale. By then we had had our limited walk and strolled home, stopping by the Montparnasse Tower office to find the price of tickets.

I had lunch and went to nap and so did she. When I got up, feeling energetic, I set out for the Right Bank to buy a book on European Union about which I know practically nothing. I was smiling with pleasure when I emerged from the métro to find Place de la Concorde. Nearby W.H.Smith had the volume, John Pinder's The European Union published in 2001, which filled the bill.

But I had had enough exercise and went home. Before I did, I passed through the Carrousel of the Louvre which is a beautiful underground mall leading right to the Louvre. A sexy affiche (poster) started my thinking about Paris and sex. This particular one showed two men and a woman: the first man, fully dressed is on the left; a second man who is stripped to the waist is in the middle; and on the right is woman wearing slacks and a vest type blouse with her hand on either side pulling the middle aside to reveal nothing underneath. The fact that no entire breast is showing not only attracts the male eye but keeps it, as if perhaps there's more to come, which there is but it never comes.

The French enjoy sex. Neither women nor men are afraid of revealing too little or too much as long the effect is arty, the caption clever, and it's appropriate. In the early 90s we were delighted with a Christmas ad that featured a male and female cupid; the male cupid was endowed with a small penis.

But before that discussion, I should mention that in addition to the popular and crowded entrance to the Louvre at the Pyramid, two other ones are available. The first is the Carrousel. You can enter it either from the street or the métro. From the street you will find it on rue de Rivoli, opposite the metro station at Place du Palais Royal; it looks like a storefront. You'll find another entrance to Carrousel when you get off the métro at Palais Royal/ Musée du Louvre.

The second entrance to Louvre is secluded and known only to friends of ours. This gate is in the south wing of the Louvre (near the Seine), and is off the inside courtyard which is the Jardin du Carrousel. You can get to it in one of two ways. The first is from quai des Tuileries. On the quai start walking from avenue du Lemmonier (That's the road that separates the Jardin du Tuilieres from the Jardin de Carrousel.) Within a hundred yards you will discover a passageway on your left that passes through the building (The Louvre); the entrance is on the garden side. To get to the entrance directly once again start from avenue du Lemmonier but this time just stay in the garden. You will see the entrance on right.

Now Sex.

It's very much alive and well in Paris and the rest of the world should be happy. At least there's one place where sexual harassment has been developed to high art. In all candor, though, I doubt if there's another place where the human body is held in higher esteem than it is in Paris. It is decorated, glorified, cherished, cleaned, oiled and greased, clothed with silks and leathers, dark dark blacks and sheer transparencies that could double as film. It is also accepted as is, with it irregularities and its bodily functions.

Blatantly pornographic sex still exists but mostly between the lurid covers of magazines, behind the black curtains of sex shops, and on the street - yes still on the street - rue de St. Denis. There you can't miss the bikini bathing suit draped with a transparent towel, the short skirt - more of a belt than clothing, the isolated man and woman in leather and chain carrying a whip and offering a smile. These few blocks constitute a grotesque world unto itself.

During my mother's visit to Paris in 1952 as we were traveling one day by bus, I believe, or taxi, we passed a section that was known for its street walkers. I pointed out one young lady but my mother didn't believe me. "She looks like such a nice girl," she said. Prostitutes were parading around the building, keeping about 25 feet distance between them. During those years a double standard existed: it was legal for a man to proposition a woman but illegal if a woman offered herself to a man. Nowadays, I'm not sure about which is what. Things have changed. What was normal then in Paris in 1950 today is quite normal now in New York and other American cities.

What happened to an American girl named Arleen in 1950 couldn't happen today because there are no pissors. She had come to Paris to study with Marcel Marceau, a famous French mime artist. She arrived in Paris without knowing French and began walking. Noticing a pissoir that I've described earlier, she paused and then investigated. Unfortunately, a gendarme spotted her and, because soliciting for sex was illegal for woman, he arrested her and was about to carry her away when a man, who had been sitting at a nearby café, came to her rescue. He talked the policeman into releasing her and started a conversation in English. She found out that he was an editor on a Jewish newspaper in Paris.

Weeks later my friend and I bumped into her at the Fondation des États Unis, the United States Pavillion where we had an apartment. She later introduced us to her "savior" and through him my friend and I got an invitation to visit and work in Israel during the summer of 1951.

Marcia felt a little better so we went out to dinner in the area that I had explored the other night. We decided on the le Machion where you can order a la carte rather than with the menu. With the former you order and pay for each dish separately; the latter offers a combination. i.e., un plat et dessert or un entrée et un plat, either for the same price; or a combination of the three for a higher price. We chose a la carte with an entrée of paté of chicken livers followed by two plats of Selle de Agneau farcis which is a slice of rolled lamb that has been stuffed with whatever. A bottle of house wine accompanied all of this. One dessert - a very chocolate cake stuffed with chocolate mousse - followed with coffee and tea. Because the coffee is served in the quantity the French are accustomed to, Marcia, who always gets a big pitcher of tea refills my coffee cup with tea. The bill was 260 F ($38). I expected it to be more. I had miscalculated. There's a time to lose and a time to win; this was a time to win.

As we turned into rue des Rennes on our way home, I talked to Marcia about Paris as a work of art, how things just didn't happen accidentally, how the city was deliberately kept beautiful. Just then I found on the other side of the street, as far as the my eye could see, the best illustration of what I had just said. Before us were residence buildings (with business establishments on the rez de chausée. Each had been built within a 30 year period. All were about the same height, had balconies, similar roofs, and were constructed with the same stone, but...a big but, what a differences among them in engineering, sculpture and architecture. Although I'd guess most of the buildings were designed by different architects, since they were all different, they were more alike. The 25 buildings which, taken as an aggregate, are a tribute to Haussmann who stipulated the standards for beauty and to the architects who created masterpieces within the discipline.

Friday, May 25, 2001

After shopping which we should have put off until later, we visited the new Bibliothèque nationale de France. This is France's unofficial monument to François Mitterand, former president of France. He felt that it was important to bring together as many of the library resources as possible in one location and also catalog hundreds of thousands of volumes that were in storage.

The one location turned out to be a four glass skyscraper spectacular complex on the Seine at the eastern end of the city. When we had left in '92, the library was still on paper so what we saw was new for us. An unusual experience.

Our bus took us to the site and deposited us in front of a wooden staircase one long block in width and about three stories high. It seemed better to join the stairs by climbing them rather than fight them by looking for another way up. To our right in the distance was one of the skyscrapers, to our left another, and beyond both, forming a square were the others. A hand rail helped for one flight but then it disappeared. If you wanted to use it again you had to walk about 25 yards and then, with a rail in hand, climb up one more,, and then repeat the process for the third. We took the direct route. The top afforded a wide open view of the Seine and in the distance from our left to our right, the Ministry of Finance, a stadium, apartment houses, the Bercy development and then the Seine again.

National Library
The wooden deck with two buildings in view.

The wide long open surface in front of us at the top, surrounding the skyscrapers, was "paved" in wood We walked east in the direction of one of the buildings hoping to find an entrance. What we did run into was the first "art" which we recognized as such only after considerable consideration. I'm not ready to call what we saw a work of art. You decide:

A wooden arch was erected on the wooden surface located near the top stair. In front of the arch and extending at right angles to the stairs was a red carpet for about 25 yards. The carpet was about three feet wide. At the end was a trough containing a white powder, perhaps flour, You were encouraged to place one or both your feet in the trough and then step or walk on the red carpet. After removing your shoe, you or someone else could take a photo of your footprint. The photo would be a record of your visit to this historic place. Well?

As we continued to walk parallel to the stairs, we noticed

National Library
Red clothing out to dry.

someone's clothing was hanging out to dry. Indeed, we identified three lines of clothing in the distance. One line had red clothing, another blue and a third, white. Later we could make out a fourth line with red clothing on it. I can understand France's national colors of blue, white, and red, but could the brown be the wood of the flagpole? Well?

On the side of the building in the northeastern section lay a field of green. Do not expect grass, weeds, or small green

National Library
Green grass?

bushes. WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get.) And what you get is a garden(?) of green paper pamphlets, each consisting of four pages, which were pasted on the wooden surface in neat rows...hundreds of green papers printed with small series of repetitive characters. Again, well?

The final artistic work that we ran across without a docent

National Library
When is the company coming?

was old furniture arranged in a living room that wasn't there. A sofa, a chair, a small table with a lamp, a few family photos, etc. was placed on the wooden "pavemet" where the design of the building had created a corner.

When the buildings were first completed, there were some criticism of the complex from the academicians: far from "downtown," glass is bad for books, too much trouble to get what you want, no one is permitted to touch and browse volumes on a shelf. Perhaps the pieces of "art" are having fun at Mitterand's Mistake. I think so. The area, so high up, is the perfect place to dry clothes, have a garden of green books, and live, as it were, in a penthouse. And for those who visit, what better memory can one have but a color photograph of your shoe print on the red carpet welcoming you personally to Bibliothéque nationale de France.

While at the bookstore, I bought three post cards. Two were photos of the library complex that I couldn't take; one was a reproduction of one of the "dirty" photos that were sold in dark corners on the street to tourists and servicemen who wanted to see the real Paris back in the days of WWI.

Marcia and I both used the toilet facilities. We both complained of the small facility. She, at least, had privacy. The door to the Men's room was wide open as I stood in front of the new basin urinal while the matron who cleaned stood next to me at the sink waiting.

Both of us were rather tired and hurried home, not as completely recovered as we would have liked.

Saturday, May 26, 2001

I got up early, Marcia late. I was fine early but after the market, I just conked out. Napped, lunch, napped. Marcia took off; I'm pooped.

Some odds and ends:

If a Frenchman writes a check that bounces, he is presently not able to open a checking account for 10 years. As a result many millions of French citizens do not have a checking account. The law is about to be amended, according to Le Figaro a few days ago, changing the ten years to five, thereby allowing millions to open a checking account while still discouraging writing bad checks.

I wonder what would happen if we applied that kind of justice to drunk drivers. No license for 10 years. That would be neat!

More human body:

The bidet is good illustration of how the French approach the human body. For those of you who don't know what a bidet is, let me explain. First of all, it is not as I once guessed, a good place to wash your feet.

The bidet is made of porcelain as is the modern bathtub or toilet. It is elongated bowl that lies close to the floor, wide enough so that a woman can sit on its sides or squat and then easily douche (clean the genital area) with maximum ease and minimum inconvenience. Warm and cold water is provided. In the French household the bidet is placed in the same room as the bathtub, shower, and sink; another room is devoted to the toilet and its sink. That is civilized. I must say that in many of the modern buildings, architects neglected tradition and good sense for the sake of efficiency and more cents.

Unisex toilette facilities are common. A room is set aside for sinks. Private compartments house a toilet and/or a urinal.

Nudes can be seen in every museum, in photographs or in bronze or stone on the public boulevards and gardens. Little girls still giggle and small boys still ogle but that is the nature of little girls and boys. As I mentioned in a section on American art, there were many places in the United States where a nude was naked. In Boston naked stone and bronze figures were sent to Paris for the exposition and display which was, in the long run good for America because Europeans, particularly the French, discovered that a nude American was much like a nude Frenchman and, if female, could be as alluring.

Sunday, May 27, 2001

I got a little more sleep.

We left early for the Cernuschi Museum of Chinese Art. I wanted to visit in the hope that I would find what I am looking for - a print of a long rectangular scroll.

No luck. But I did raise some questions for myself .

This was primarily an exhibit of artifacts which didn't appeal to me. What I did find was an unusual object called Arbre Divin, a divine tree, which dates to the Epoque of Han, between 206-220 AD. It appeared to be a road marker. You know the kind you'd find at the intersection of three roads. The signs themselves extend from a stick. This one reminded me of the distance markers GIs used at encampments in the Far East with arrows pointing to LA 3,500 miles or New York 7000 miles, etc.

Well the Arbre Divin had three markers and three points on the the pole, for a total of 9 markers. Each was appeared to be made of wood, with designs of birds. The wood was removed from the space between the legs of the birds and between the extended neck and beak of the bird as well as below the feathers.

The pole consisted of four inverted funnels, the smallest on top. The bottom funnel was place on a block of wood.

It interested me because it was different and because it was the kind of thing that I might want to recreate myself in wood and copper or just in wood. I would use fish instead of birds. I sketched it and will try to do something when I get back to the States.

Home for lunch, and a nap. And then a peaceful afternoon "at the beach" in Atlantic Park. Marcia brought her book on architecture and I brought mine on the European Union.

The park was filled with people playing, sitting, talking, smooching, walking, running, and bathing in the sun. A few women were in swim suits that resembled, and probably were actually underwear but that is l'habitude. It was warm. After an hour or so we moved around discovering an ingenious waterfall, jetties, and dikes. We also passed children building sand castles and digging tunnels in a swath of beach sand surrounded by a blue wall with openings.

Jetties and waterfall! Can you imagine?

Running children played hide and seek with large plastic water bottles. What fun on a hot day. What a wonderful place. Home. Stopped off for TWO Tartes Normand. We are going to have a glorious Salade Niçoise made with fresh Tuna.

We both feel better.

Monday, May 28, 2001

After checking hotels for E. & E, we visited the Mussée de Affiche to look for the Picasso print and the Chinese one. No luck on either. Back home. While on the bus I reflected on the artistic experience:

Returning to a work of art - a poem, play, or painting - involves identifying the elements you already know and that's usually a comfortable experience. Then there's the chance of a new discovery - a new experience. Unexplored territory challenges me and so I return again. The richer the art, the more connections one can make and the more meaningful it can be. As you get older you change, and your relationship to the art changes too.

Had lunch home, a nap, then a walk to Luxembourg Gardens. Luxembourg is so popular. Not only are their private places where two people can kiss, or where a single person can sit, but there are loads of more public areas for lying in the sun, reading, talking eating, smoking - God the French smoke! Courts for tennis and basketball, a path for pony riding, playgrounds, and a bandstand are a few of the other places for people. Flowers and statues can be found almost everywhere.

We ended at the Medici Fountain which is at the far end of a long pool, along which are benches which were filled that day with people just sitting or talking quietly. Shafts of sunlight reached for the water lilies and made them sparkle. The scene is truly in another world where beauty and tranquility reign and human beings share space with nature and themselves.

Home and then out to dinner.

Ten thirty and we're back from Le Café du Commerce, the restaurant where we took our lunch and dinner every day back in 1987 while we waited for our visa and stayed in Paris for about 10 days. Back then it was a good, traditional French restaurant where the menu was handwritten on a single sheet of paper. Everything was à la carte. It was there I used to have steak tartare regularly and Marcia loved the cassoulet. When we returned in 1991 or 1992, it had changed to an upscale version of what had been with an emphasis on seafood.

Except for the food this evening it was it's old charming place. We asked to be seated on the first floor, one flight above the main because we knew from past experience that the regulars - often single people ate downstairs and we wanted some privacy. Marcia says she recognized an oriental waiter who had been there in 1987 but we didn't speak to him.

The first floor as well as the floor above have an open area in the middle so that from ground floor to ceiling in the roof is open space. Flowers hang from the balcony on each floor and the roof opens to the sky.

Marcia saw a swallow fly down and I commented about the problems of living a celibate life even for a fly. And then she told the the funny story that everyone knows (except her husband) about the American eating with a friend in France and commenting that he had "un fly" in his soup. The Frenchman corrected him suggesting "Une" because fly is a feminine noun in French. The American, quick on the uptake, said, "What extraordinary eyesight!"

Once again I disobeyed one of my cardinal rules: In Paris eat steak as Chateaubriand or else don't eat steak. Marcia's pasta was heavy. We really didn't enjoy the meal as much as we had anticipated.

We walked home. I noticed a few containers, shaped like shoulder high green tomatoes with worm holes for empty wine bottles.

And posted on a pole was a notice calling for a "Mobilisation Génerale à Tous les Français" - a general mobilization for all Frenchman - against the Euro. People were urged to call or write in for instructions. "Vive le Franc, Vive La France."

We examined façades on our way home. It was fun looking at the buildings, particularly the modern ones and identifying distinguishing characteristics that were included as a memento of the past. In 1997 in London I took a few dozen photos of new buildings designed to capture the Tudor style.

We came to one block and I looked down the length to a cul de sac where magnificent buildings stood as forefathers or as ancient icons watching over the past and warning the present. So many different buildings, dates, ornaments, architects, balconies, shutters, windows, doors, roofs.

Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Off to Sacré Coeur:

As we stood on the moving sidewalk in the métro under the Montparnasse area, Marcia commented on the whole world of Paris underground.

Last time we were here we never got around to visit the catacombs. These caverns, excavated in the late 18th century, had been used to store bones and skeletons until WW II Faceswhen the resistance movement used these underground passages to move around the city. This time a major renovation that involved the installation of lights prevented us from a visit. I'm not unhappy. But we will get to the sewers...And almost every day we find ourselves in the maze of underground passageways of the métro system.

The moving sidewalk is interesting in that on the far side, large photographs of ordinary people are posted on a concave wall. If you look at one face, the eyes are looking right at you and as the sidewalk moves further away, the eyes follow you. Quite an illusion!

One of the posters on a wall this week shows the back of a nude young woman sitting on a block of ice. Faces Because she had spent some time in the sun, her back shows where her bathing suit straps had been and on her bare buttocks was the outline of a bikini. What was being advertised? Galleries Lafayette, the well known department store.

As I remembered it....a beautiful store. When last there I had used the binoculars to look at the details of the windows and at the keystone in one of the domes.

After the métro ride to Montmartre, we took a bus and then a funicular, a version of a cable car that carried us to short staircase to the street in front of Sacré Coeur. The church - all white - stands above Paris like an ancient icon which guards the city against all incursions. The derivation of the word "Montmartre," this extraordinarily high area, is explained in two ways. Either it derives from "mons Mercuris," the Mount of Mercury, the Roman god of traverlers in whose memory an altar was erected early in the Christian era or from the legend of Mount of Martyrs which tells of the martyrdom of St. Denis during the same period. [Catherine p.62.] In any event it's quite high.

After a short visit inside, we circled place de la Terrte. The garden area where artists used to gather and display their works is now a cafe/restaurant and so the artists are scattered. I picked up a good print of the Egon Schiele painting that I was fond of. It's called "The Embrace."

We searched for but couldn't easily find Le Moulin Rouge or the Le Lapin Agile.

When we returned home, we noticed a demonstration was taking place in front of the Gare. About 300 members of the health care system, were on boulevard Vaugirard right in front of rue Armand Moisant where we live.

Lunch, and then both of us napped. Refreshed. Off to shop. Priorities: Marcia bought a T-Shirt Blouse and I, a bottle of Remy Martin VSOP cognac; I like an ounce or so a night.

The purchase, preparation, and consummation of food in France is a cultural hallmark. Restaurants dominate intersections and can be found on the smallest rue in every area. Most of them are owned privately and some are small - with as few as six tables for 12 people. Most of them are somewhat larger, however. People frequent these establishments - bistros, brasseries, restaurants, relais, cafés - from early morning to late at night. Most of the privately owned restaurants are not open until 7 PM for dinner. Men and women by themselves come early. Next come the couples at about 8 PM and by nine the parties are seated. By eight it's almost full. (Ordinary hours of retail establishments are erratic: many places of business open in the morning between 9 or 10 AM, close in the afternoon until four and then stay open until eight or even nine. This explains why restaurants open late.

The French are convivial people. They love to talk. The top subject is politics. France like many European nations has a multi party system which generates a good deal more political talk than does our two party system.

Sports is the number two topic. Soccer and tennis are two of the most popular. European teams playing against each other make for more of a "world" tournament than we have in the States with baseball World Series. The competition here is among nations where national pride is at stake. Sports, in general though, are very important. Publically supported sports centers dot each arrondissement in the city and in practically every town we visited while cruising the canals. The same thing was true in the Netherlands.

Finally the French talk and write about culture - art, literature, television and film, particularly film.

Groups of men gather in restaurants for fun. You will also find a grandparent and a grandson or daughter. Small children having dinner late are not unusual and you might find a dog lying beside its owner.

People have guests for dinner often. On Sundays, for example, you will often see people carrying a bouquet of flowers or a plant on their way to an afternoon lunch at someone's house. When we had some people up at our apartment the first time, one guest brought a bottle of wine and the other a beautiful orchid plant. The second time, one brought a beautiful jar of roses while the other, a bottle of champagne. We in the States do the same kind of think except that the entertaining is not as often nor as luxurious.

We started having flowers on the boat when we first lived here and continued when we returned to the States. A bouquet of small red carnations is in a vase on a side table right now. Flowers are fun to buy, beautiful to look at, and nice to smell. Why wouldn't you have them around?

While Marcia was sleeping I spread the map of France out on the floor and measured some distances that were significant in explaining how France thinks and what makes the French the way they are.

Europe is small compared to the United States, about a third of its size and as a small "country" its parts often squabble. Some of the disagreements date back hundreds of years. Old fights are not forgotten. Borders have changed. In the States no profound animosity exists between Rhode Island and Connecticut over a border. No invasions. No wars except the Civil War and that Civil war still pains us. Imagine what the USA would be like if we had had a history of 100 wars.

In Europe splinter nations have also grown up with multi-lingual populations, e.g. Belgium,with Flemish, French. and German; Switzerland with German, French, Italian and Romansch; Luxembourg with French, German, and Luxembourgian English.

Although France is one of the larger countries in Europe, it's smaller than Texas. Geographically France is almost a square: the width of France at its widest is 559 miles; its length at it longest is 590 miles. By car, the distance from Marseilles to Belgium is 429 miles and to Brussels it's 516 miles. And from Paris to the nearest German border is only 193 miles.

Neighboring states have more often been enemies than friends. Languages differ, customs differ, values differ; virtually nothing between any two states is alike and they have been at odds for centuries. They are trying to change that now with the growth of the European Union and a common currency.

Back to the present:

We had a tasty chicken salad for dinner augmented by a salad of cauliflower with Terragon. I had a little Chevre cheese followed by half an apple (Marcia had the other half), coffee and cookies.

Now, about 9 PM, it was time to take off. Tonight I would show Marcia the Mouffitard area which she had forgotten.

A bus to the intersection of St-Germain and St-Michel and we began walking east on St-Germain. After the small park at the corner we turned up to rue des Écoles.

We passed the Le Vieux Campeur, the Old Camper, three storefronts devoted to campers. Behind the glass of one of the store fronts, is a hard plastic cliff on which amateur climbers can test themselves. Marcia said that she still had a bag from that store. She stores scallop shells in it. We had probably bought some line or shackles in the store. Then she reminded me about the airline pilot whom we had met. He came aboard for cocktails with his wife. Because he flew to Paris regularly, he inquired if we needed anything that we couldn't buy. We told him that we could use a few of the paper bags that are distributed at supermarkets in which you carry home your food. We used them to store our iron pots and pans which have a light coating of oil. He said he'd bring some back and one day some weeks later we found a half dozen paper bags by the side of our door. He had been by and left them. We never could thank him so if he's reading this, we thank you.

Mouffetard is an interesting street in upper part of another "student area."

In trying to locate it I remembered even further back about this area of splintered streets and Bohemian faces. I could almost smell it in the air. Boldly I crossed the street as if I had compass in my head. Up we climbed on rue de la Montaigne Sainte-Genevieve, passing cave after cave - small cellar restaurants and cafés, until we arrived at a square the size of a postage stamp worth five centimes called Place Sainte-Genevieve. Busy cafés surrounded the small round fountain cluttered with bikes and motorcycles. More restaurants further on and in the distance, still further up, was the shadow of the Pantheon.

It must have been 10 or 10:30 PM by the time we finished poking around. We also got the telephone number of Sud Ouest-Lescaramoluche, a cave restuarant with an ancient wall dating to the Roman era.

Then down St-Michel to the Seine. Lights on the water, boats, buildings, people, a balmy night. And we began to snuggle and kiss on the Pont St. Michel. Lovely. Lovely.

We continued our walk on the Seine side of quai des Grands Augestines then crossed the street to look at a nice restaurant on a corner. We continued up the block into an upscale neighborhood. Marcia remembed visiting it with a friend who pointed out the house in which Picasso lived between 1936 and 1955. "Guernica" was painted there in 1937. A few doors up we found Le Cuisine de la Mer another nice place to eat.

Why so much about food? Because we enjoy dining leisurely on interesting food in a warm friendly atmosphere whether it be at home or out.

We continued until and rue St-André-des-Arts, then right to rue de la Anciens-Comedie, left to St-Germain, then the métro home, arriving at 11:10 PM.

Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Laundry, minor shoppng, bank for cash, nap, lunch, more nap, and then a bus ride to the St-Médard quarter which is near the area we visited last night.

But is was so hot that I really didn't enjoy myself or the excursion. After walking around a bit we approached the church of St. Medard, dark, rugged, old. Surrounding it was the life of the 21st century - markets, people, bicycles, automobiles, trucks delivering oranges from Morocco. The church was of another world.

It was so cool and quiet. Being alone in such a place was comfortable for a person living in a crowded, hot house with no privacy. It was attractive for me. The church offered the chance to be yourself by yourself. It is always open. Are all places of worship open? A synagogue, I believe, opens only on occasions. I wonder about a mosque.

Such an old building - started in the middle of the 15th century, say 1450, and completed in the middle of the 17th century, 1655, to be precise. Two hundred years.

As we were walking I occasionally glanced at the façades of the buildings but like art or music, architecture needs attention. The experience one has with art is not accidental; it is the result of a concentration of attention and an intensity that can be crescendoed.

Came home, shopped for milk, cans of fish for my lunches and picked up a can Cassoulet of Confit for dinner, napped; it's hot and I'm exhausted.

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