Thursday morning we spent a bit of time rearranging our plans a smidge to try to take into account the possibility of fuel being scarce because of the blockage of France’s refineries by striking workers protesting the labor reforms that were pushed through without Parliamentary vote. . The situation as of now seems to be improving, but we figured taking the train on non-transportation strike days instead of driving would save our energy as well as the car’s.
After that fun, we headed over to the Marais where we were scheduled to meet some friends for lunch. We walked over from Cite, enjoying the flower market, a bread festival with school children making bread and vendors charging inflated prices, and the sight of Notre Dame. Along the way we saw one of the elevated moving platforms that movers use in Paris, hauling a large piece of furniture to an upper floor apartment. I’d wondered how the enormous armoire made it to your 7th floor with its teeny elevator.
We had a fun, long lunch at Cafe Brezeih where the conversation outshone the food.Decent crepes, though double the price of our little neighborhood creperie.
After saying our goodbyes, we went to another favorite museum, the Maison Europeene de la Photographie. All the current exhibits were engaging and quite different from each other–Christine Spangler’s black and white work documenting the horrors of conflict, contrasting with her recent more personal color works made from assemblages. Zachmann’s fascinating photos taken in China over the years, another gallery giving voice to Europe’s displaced peoples; abstract-appearing black and white photographs of buildings; vivid saturated color photos of industrial sites
We walked on, eventually arriving in the Tuileries, where we grabbed some chairs, read, people-watched, and soaked up the bit of sun. It is lovely to not feel rushed in Paris, to just hang out with people resting before heading home from work, tourists, groups of kids, and elderly folk out for some air.
By now it was time to head up to meet at N&D’s neighborhood in the 9th. We first met K from San Francisco, then N took us for a food walk in her neighborhood. Fabulous shops–fish markets, butchers, delis, patisseries of all kinds, greengrocers, an oil store, honey shop, a store just selling Spanish chacuterie, on and on. You could gain weight just walking up rue des Martyrs.
We picked up the enormous seafood platter N had ordered, and brave Larry carried up the four flights of stairs. Shrimp, crabs, the best oysters I’ve ever had, sweet langoustines, belot (sea snails)…absolutely amazing. I discovered I like belot. We could have stayed talking all night, until poor K drooped from jetlag and the evening drew to a close.