Paris! Think Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise, Leslie Caron in An American in Paris, Audrey Tatou in Amelie and now Amaryllis in ‘Amaryllis Goes to Paris for a Weekend’
I made some observations:
- The streets are much cleaner than they are here: lots of structurely attractive dustbins that always appeared empty but were never seen to be emptied…
- It is much quieter, more space to walk and talk at one’s leisure whilst appreciating the marvellous Haussmann boulevards, the beautiful river Seine, the gorgeous shops with mouth-watering displays of patisserie, fruit and cheese.
- The metro seems much more efficient: cheaper and one only passes the ticket through the machine on entering the station so no build-up on exiting whilst people fumble for tickets at the very last moment.
- You take your life in your hands when crossing a road: cars only stop on a crossing if you visibly draw attention to the fact that you are crossing – I always stepped out ahead of my daughters in a very self-sacrificing sort of way.
- The bookshops are very boring – all very similar and white with dull window displays of dull-looking books.
- The view from our apartment with Sacre Coeur on the horizon out of one window and the Eiffel Tower visible from another.
- The most delicious coffee and croissants in the morning.
- My youngest daughter eating a chocolate éclair and sighing with bliss at every mouthful.
- Walking through Pere Lachaise cemetery with the turning leaves falling around us and the crows cawing in a very horror-movie manner.
- The flea market on the edge of the Peripherique which I envisioned to be horribly crowded but went along with as H was so keen but was in fact a joy and fascination to walk through.
- Climbing to the top of a hill in the Parc Buttes Chaumont with K which promised a Temple of Delphi and amazing views of Paris to be confronted with a plastic tent like structure and no view to speak of and taking a good 15 minutes to decide we were on the wrong hill…
- Coming home and finding that the cats were still alive although visibly affronted at being left in the care of anyone else (my son).
I didn’t read much but for once I didn’t mind too much although when I mentioned it, H kept asking if it was stressing me out…
Anyway, I am trying to make up the reading as there have been 3 book groups this week, Classics for which we read The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, Crime where we discussed The Drowning Pool by Ross MacDonald and tomorrow we are looking at Kissing in Manhattan by David Schickler. I have to say both the former have been really interesting discussions and it has been lovely to start them up again after a bit of a summer hiatus.
I’m not going to talk about the Booker short list other than to say that once again they have got it wrong, well at least with 3 of them. However I will admit I was wrong about the Paul Auster; a customer changed my mind about trying it and I am really enjoying the quite old-fashioned narrative and it seems that he has developed a bit of a sense of humour in his old age…