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You might think that things would be back to normal today, mais non! Easter Monday is a holiday — jour férié — in France. I’ll be here for four more fêtes and jours de férié (ask me later what the difference is): Fête du Travail, 1 Mai; Fête de la Victoire 1945, 8 Mai; Ascension, 13 Mai; and Lundi de Pentecôte, 24 Mai. Who knew?

It’s still chilly here but today was nice and sunny so I wandered over to the Marais to have a look. Place des Vosges was gorgeous and I sat there in the sun for quite a while just soaking up the ambiance. The happy strollers and loungers added considerably to the experience.

Place des Vosges

There are art galleries on three sides of the square (the other is surprisingly derelict). Most, unfortunately, are aimed at obtuse tourists, but I quite liked the “brut” artist Noel H. at Galerie Lisette Alibert (2016 Update: Closed). Lunch was a delicious (and deliciously un-American) rabbit stew at a very agreeable little restaurant — Le Marché — in the nearby but well-hidden Place du Marché Ste. Catherine.

After resolving a minor credit card issue (for which Skype came in handy) I went for a swim at the Olympic pool that is two blocks from my apartment. I’m not sure I would have had the nerve except for the fact that a friend had recommended it. The facility is very nice; it was a bit on the busy side but still quite a good experience. With pardonable pleasure I bought a ten-pack of pool admissions. I jokingly asked the young man at the desk whether there was a discount for old folks like myself; he said it was available only to people who resided in Paris, but then he smiled and gave it to me anyway.

There’s also a 19-screen multiplex cinema in the same complex so I decided after my swim to see “The Ghost Writer”, which I had heard good things about. The art direction was good but the plot was dumb. By the middle of the film the Ewan McGregor character started doing stuff that nobody in their right mind would do. After my disbelief stopped being suspended I was pretty much tapping my toes for the rest of the movie.

Just made plans for a drink with my next landlord tomorrow and dinner with my cousins on Wednesday. Full speed ahead!