All my initial errands were readily accomplished. It’s striking how tasks that seemed daunting last year — getting a métro pass, buying a SIM card, finding almond butter — were a snap this time around. My apartment and the familiar Montorgueil neighborhood already seem like home. Here’s a photo of morning sun streaming through my west-facing windows:
“Wait just a minute!” my astute readers are no doubt saying to themselves. Many things are different in France but the sun still rises in the east! Indeed, but it also reflects off the windows of the buildings across the narrow street. Here is a video clip of the delightful street life on rue Montorgueil shot from the window of my apartment.
I’ve only started exploring Paris again but I did post a few photos of a taxidermy shop, Design et Nature, in rue Aboukir, 2ème. The owner started this shop after she sold the famous Maison Deyrolle in rue du Bac, where photos are not allowed.
The big difference so far between my two sojourns here has been sociability. It took a couple of weeks last year to start meeting people and kindling friendships. This year, however, I’ve picked up where I left off last year — dinners with friends each of the last three nights and two more already on my schedule!
First up were my cousin Lisa and her partner Ali. After drinks at my place we ate at an old favorite of Lisa’s and mine, Le Loup Blanc (which closed in 2014). The photo was bathed in the gentle light of a beautiful sunset — it really looked like that! We had a lot to catch up on, and we left several burning topics — including whether or not progress is possible — for another occasion.
The next evening, after dispatching a bottle of cheap-but-wonderful Bordeaux and solving (dissolving?) many of life’s problems, Jeff and I launched out to forage for our meal. It was already past 23h (11:00 pm) and places were starting to close but we found an open kitchen at Au Rocher de Cancale where we had a good meal, another fine bottle of Bordeaux and a superb waiter. Jeff and I have been friends since he was a sophomore at Harvard College.
Last night I had my long-awaited reunion with my French friend Jacques. After drinks at my place (is a theme emerging here?) we dined at a cute little Thai place on rue Tiquetonne, Villa Papillon. Jacques is great friends with the owner and was also warmly greeted by everyone on the staff and several of the other diners. (He claims — and I believe him! — to know nearly all of the patrons of restaurants in the Marais, and several in my neighborhood as well.) Jacques aced his accountancy examinations last spring and is happily working as the chief accountant for two stores. We made plans for a visit to a real french brasserie, Paris gay Pride in June, and maybe even a weekend in Strasbourg!