I’m telling you: only I could have gone to visit Paris at a time when the Louvre was closed to the public. . . but then, this was before computers, so how was I to know about such things? It was terribly exciting to take a jaunt across the English Channel and stay with a friend of a friend, a photographer named Philippe, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, right near the Louvre.
But of course -- because I already said it -- when I walked to the Louvre, expecting to spend what meager monies francs and centimes I had on a visit to that historic big bastion of beauteousness, the sign said “FERME.” Of course, that set me off to saying “MERDE!” and I probably stamped my pretty booted foot. Sad.
I went on holiday solo because I didn’t know people in London who knew me well enough to go somewhere, and I am an adventurous girl anyway so I enjoy taking a trip alone. It just feels a little sad when the experiences can’t be shared -- which is what I like about togetherness.
So. Because my friends Grace & Dolci suggested it as a cost-saving measure, I met up with a total stranger who was their friend, a really nice character named Philippe who I’d never met until then. He was a small, dark haired, dark eyed, wiry white guy with a swarthy complexion and a permanent five o’clock shadow. He looked like a French pirate, was pleasant, and spoke a little English. I spoke a little French, so we got on all right and could communicate.
Philippe set me up in his attic bedroom in his ancient attic apartment, high up on the street. This building felt ANCIENT, and the stairway up was narrow, dark, and winding. All of the ceilings were low. It reeked of that old time charm, and really, small though it was, you couldn’t beat the central location. It reminded me of my apartment in the heart of the south village (on the Soho border) back in NYC, making me a TEENCY bit homesick.
It was very nice of him to agree to put up a total stranger for a few days -- me. Merci beaucoup mille fois, cher Philippe! He stayed with his girlfriend the few days I visited, and worked most of the time. I spent hours roaming the Paris streets, soaking up the atmosphere, attempting to utter that strange and mellifluous tongue. . . .
(Tell me I’m sounding totally pretentious, now -- even seeing French in print, in italics, seems kind of affected. . . which is why it’s so much fun to do!! As David Sedaris said in one book, “Me talk pretty one day” -- of the merciless French tongue!)