Thursday, July 10, 2014

Day One

Taken from my window.  Conveniently located, right?  Unless I'm with a friend, I'm going to get take out for every meal.  I'll find a boulangerie close by today.  I told the nice pizza guy that I'd eat there every day if he'd let me practice my French with him.  Despite not working very hard on it for the past eighteen months, I feel like basic French has clicked into place. There's a confidence lag keeping me from using it but, in most situations, I could get by.  But don't, because everyone is willing to speak English.  They don't want to hear me mutilate pretty French words.

Please don't judge blog nor trip by these boring entries.  I'll get in gear soon.  

My hotel is named after the playright Beaumarchais.  In a case of life imitating art, his works contributed to the down-with-the-aristocracy/yay-for-the-common-man mentality that lead to the Revolution.  Not a bad thing for the classes to be leveled, but the end doesn't always justify the means. These are pages the program of Beaumarchais' play, The Marriage of Figaro.  Beaumarchais, also, sold arms and supplies to George Washington during the American Revolution and his storage warehouse is down the street from my hotel.

I've been in such a funk since I've gotten here that I haven't even asked the history of the building I'm in.  The staff couldn't be nicer nor more helpful, but I have to admit I very much miss L'Academie with Patricia at the reception desk and being located smack in the middle of my favorite neighborhood with all of its revolutionary sites.  The Marais, my current neighborhood, is just as historic, but I've yet to learn the specifics of happened where and, damn it, left my favorite book Walks in Lost Paris at home. I was so preoccupied with one item that I needed to take that I neglected some basic necessities.  I'll run over to Shakespeare and Company and see if they have a copy.  The success of my trip depends on it. How can one enjoy Paris without knowing the history of what they're looking at?

Side entrance to Notre Dame.  I meandered a bit yesterday.

Also, Notre Dame.  During the Revolution, the heads of these saints were knocked off, because they revolutionaries thought the statues were of kings.  The heads were discovered buried in a garden much later.

My well-intentioned visit to pay respects at the Shoah (French word for what we call the Holocaust) Museum down the street could've been more well-timed.  May not have been so overwhelmed if I'd had a few hours sleep during the previous twenty-four.  These are the files that the French government turned over, in the not too distant past, of French Jews that were deported to concentration camps during the Vichy government of WWII.  And, underneath, the Shoah version of the Vietnam Wall. Such images are less disturbing than some I saw, but convey the enormity of it all. 

I've never understood anti-Semitism.  I just don't get it.  I don't get anti-anybody.  How can people hate other people based on their heritage, the color of their skin, or the way they look?  It's incomprehensible to me.  It makes no sense.  Prejudice is a sign of a non-thinking person.

There was a flicker of joy in my day yesterday at the sight of this pretty little garden with its heart shaped flower bed on the right.  I'm going to plant one of those at home.  It was lovely.  Also, loved the paper shop that I visited and where I bought pretty stationery.  The store smelled good with all that pretty paper in it and the shopkeeper loved paper as I do.  

Today, I'm going to get a grip and enjoy this trip I so anticipated.  I've wasted a whole day being exhausted, whiny and negative.  Enough.


Mary Lewis said...

Your view is perfect. I wish I were there! Hope you feel better and more rested today and have a much better time exploring!

Micah said...

I love the idea of a heart-shaped flower bed!! I bet Pinterest is all over that. Do you want me to send you more pages from your book?? I really don't mind!

Debe said...

You are so funny. You have done more in one day that I would have thought possible. I do miss being there....enjoy every whiny moment!! Hugs

Madeleine Doak said...

Mary Beth, I've thought of you a lot and how cool it was to come here with Mom and Micah when you lived here. We have plenty of time to do it in the future. Thanks for commenting and see you in a couple of weeks. I love you!

Madeleine Doak said...

Debe, great to hear from you!
I can't wait to get together and compare notes. I'm very happy and excited to be here now. See you August 4, if not before.