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Report 2040: Paris au Ralenti (Paris in Slow Motion)

By Doru from Canada, Fall 2012

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Page 12 of 19: Monday, 24 September - GTG at Café des Musées; Thoughts for a Rainy Day

photo by H.S.

Paris roofs, photo courtesy of our Paris host

Heavy rain overnight, gives way to a light rain in the morning. I must go out for some domestic requirements and I worry about the weather for the rest of the day. I shouldn’t have worried, but:

This is the day for a very special GTG, that brings together for the first time the creators and founders of Slow Travel, Pauline and Steve, with Slow Travel’s two-time Hero, AP and her husband, A, who delights us every week with his personal, uniquely droll take on all things Parisian and French: places, people, customs, under his column “C’est Ironique”, in Paris Update.

I am happy that I was the catalyst for this very special reunion.

AP made for us a reservation at Café des Musées, on rue de Turenne. We scheduled nothing else for the day and walk along rue de Turenne, admiring along the way the line up of store after store, on both sides of the street, displaying mostly wonderful male fashion. Oh, the shirts!

As we arrive at Café des Musées from one end of rue de Turenne, Pauline and Steve appear from the opposite direction. As we step into the restaurant and address the reservation, AP and A are right behind us.

We are directed to a somewhat separated area, a small podium, round table, six seats. Introductions are in order and taken care of. We give the required attention to the menu and choices and, with this out of the way, we just enjoy the company and the conversation. And the excellent food.

After lunch we decide to walk the rest of the rue de Turenne, literally to its end, to the shop of Jacques Génin. And so, five pretty experienced travelers (A has, in the meantime, retired home to his work) go to Jacques Génin only to find that... it is a day of “relâche” there: Génin is closed on Mondays!!

We decide to be amused instead of being disappointed. We separate after AP points helpfully to the fact that we are near rue de Bretagne and Marché des Enfants-Rouges and can use the same bus line of a couple of days ago.

At 6pm Pauline and Steve come upstairs for a last chat before their departure tomorrow.


Thoughts for a Rainy Day, or an Umbrella Epiphany

[“Definition of epiphany: A sudden realization about the nature or meaning of something.”]

Generally, I try to use the largest, widest umbrella available. The idea in using an umbrella is to avoid being rained on to the widest circumferential degree possible.

I generally buy, use and lose, extra large umbrellas.

Before leaving Toronto I found at a new Michael’s store that just opened on Yonge (no misspelling here!) Street, across from the North York Central Library, the umbrella of my dreams, the mother of all umbrellas, a “totes” with a “coverage” of up to 70 inches, or 177.8 centimetres. It is big! And it carries a life-time warranty.

This morning I was already at the door when I realised that it rains heavily and that I should take the umbrella with me. I was at the door, the umbrella was somewhere in the apartment, I did not want to bother Josette.

Our host, thoughtfully, had provided at the door a pot planted with about five different umbrellas. I just picked one and I was on my way.

Now, everybody knows that umbrellas create individual protection in a personal space. Sometimes, we would share this space, as tightly as possible, especially when we are in love, the object of our love holds our arm, and the personal space supplied by the umbrella inexplicably becomes tighter and tighter... OK, everybody has felt this at least once, but hopefully, like me, for a lifetime of rains.

On the other hand, when we are alone, the umbrella encloses us in our own cocoon, away from the world. Impervious to the rain, we can meditate, we can brood, we can (Gene Kelly, at least, could) dance.

But when I opened my borrowed umbrella, I had a revelation. I was not incarcerated in a limited space. I could see everything ahead of me and above me and to my right and to my left. I could clearly see the line of windows, the tin roofs four or five stories above, cars splashing ahead, the signs of stores. I could see the clouds that delivered the rain and the people who were hurtling towards me without tangling our umbrellas and without looking with antagonism at each other. Suddenly the rain was a friend that did not obscure the rest of the world!

Yes, there was daylight under my umbrella, and the world was open, and I had no way or desire to return and enclose the private space thus liberated.

I had discovered the transparent, clear polyethylene umbrella.

I highly recommend the experience.

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Trip Report Pages

Wednesday, 12 September - Arrival and Settling in the Lower Marais

Thursday, 13 September - Making Sense of the Neighbourhood, between Rue de Rivoli and the Seine

Friday, 14 September - Expanding the Teritory and Another Torontonian in Paris

Saturday, September 15 - Rue Cler and Pont Louis-Philippe

Sunday, September 16 - Slow Travel Get-Together

Monday, September 17 - BHV;Memories; Temple of Nespresso; a Grand Concert

Tuesday, September 18-Wednesday, September 19 - Biennale des Antiquaires; Marché des Enfants-Rouges, on rue de Bretagne

Thursday, 20 September - Izraël-Le Monde des Epices; Mr. Pickwick sells Marc de Bourgone?

Friday, 21 September - It is About the Risotto; Intermezzo: Crosswalks of Paris

Saturday, 22 September - The Stravinsky Fountain; Back to rue François Miron; Meeting Dear Friends

Sunday, September 23 - Around the Marais with Friends; Alas, at Night the Rain Starts...

Monday, 24 September - GTG at Café des Musées; Thoughts for a Rainy Day

Tuesday, 25 September - Canaletto at Musée Maillol: Acqua Alta in Paris?; rue du Bac

Wednesday, September 26 - One Can't Fight Musée du Louvre; and More Rain...

Thursday, September 27 - Musée du Quai Branly; Village Saint-Paul&Place du Marché Saint-Catherine

Friday, 28 September - The Impressionists of the Le Havre Circle of Modern Art; Jardin du Luxembourg

Saturday, 29 & Sunday 30 September - Le Temps des Cerises; Sunday Morning Concert

Monday, 1 October - Wonderful Lunch at La Régalade Saint-Honoré; Getting Ready to Return Home

Au Revoir, à Bientôt!

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