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If it’s Wednesday this must be … the Louvre!  I walked Gerry over since he was still getting oriented (and still waking up around noon).  My initial thought had been to leave him to it, since I’ve been so many times, but there was hardly any line, so I was swept along into another encounter with its vast beauties.  As a first-time visitor, Gerry made a beeline for the Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa

In case you haven’t seen it in person I made a little video to capture the experience, which is interesting from a sociological perspective, though completely devoid of aesthetic content.  As usual, my own attention was caught by other genres:

Saint Sebastian by Pérugin (detail).  Around 1490-1500.

Saint Sebastian by Pérugin (detail). Around 1490-1500.

As it happened, two friends of Gerry’s were also visiting the Louvre that day so we met up with them.  They were a nice couple, but I preferred to take my separate way through the collection. Moving between works and rooms is complicated even with one other person — tho Gerry and I do this comfortably — but with a larger group I find museum-going excruciating. By coincidence we all finished around the same time and met for a walk through the Tuileries gardens, across the Place de la Concorde, then along the Champs-Élysées, to the Arc de Triomphe.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

I had to stand in the road, risking life and limb, to snap that shot.  Postcard-worthy, no?

Wednesday evening I had dinner with my good friend from two prior visits, Jacques. Here is his photo from the French-Asian float at this year’s Paris Gay Pride:

Jacques as an Asian Prince at Paris Gay Pride 2012

Jacques as an Asian Prince at Paris Gay Pride 2012

He is doing great, working hard at a top accounting firm and enjoying leisure time with his long-standing petit copain (boyfriend), who knows about and accepts our friendship.  It was great to see him again, and we planned one more meal together before I leave.

After Jacques headed home Gerry and I met by chance on rue Montorgueil and ended the evening at the Experimental Cocktail Club comme d’habitude (as usual).  It was another cozy interlude, with good music and atmosphere.  We got into a lively conversation with a good-looking young man across from us until his friends said to him (in French) “are you with us or with them?”  After which Gerry and I had to make do with one another’s excellent company.

Bob and Gerry at Experimental Cocktail Club

Bob and Gerry at Experimental Cocktail Club

If it’s Thursday it must be … the Pompidou!  This is a fine collection of modern and contemporary art, in a building that is itself an icon of modernity.

Miró Blues

Miró Blues

I enjoyed seeing the permanent collection again as well as an exhibition of the remarkably varied work of Gerhard Richter (which ends on Monday).

Gerry at Gerhard Richter Exhibition at the Pompidou

Gerry at the Richter Exhibition at the Pompidou

Thursday evening I had planned dinner with my cousin BJ, starting with an apéro at my place.

BJ at 59, rue Saint-Saveur

BJ at 59, rue Saint-Saveur

She emailed that morning to ask whether some friends she had also been meaning to catch up with could join us, and of course I said yes.  The new recruits turned out to be two of her former boyfriends and an interesting older woman.  When the first ex arrived he mentioned that he had just left two of his own friends at a café downstairs, so naturally we invited them up as well.  Before I knew it I was hosting a party for eight or nine people!  Several brought wine and I had some provisions on hand so it was a convivial start to the evening.  Most of us stayed for dinner at our new favorite, Lézard Café.  It was once again a really nice experience — good food and friendly (if slightly giddy) service.  At one point I did a double take because there was a handsome young man who I didn’t at first recognize sitting at the other end of our table conversing with animation.  With a pleasant little shock I realized that he was our waiter!

After saying farewell to BJ, her friend — and our new waiter friend — Gerry and I headed over to a bar in the Marais, Duplex Bar.  It was a lively place, with an attractive and friendly crowd and relatively low attitude.  We stayed until closing, at 2 am, lingering on the sidewalk to see whether two guys who seemed to have met for the first time that evening would go home together.  They left as part of a foursome, leaving us to wonder whether they were a ménage à quatre (“household of four”, playing on the phrase ménage à trois) or, perhaps (recycling a French friend’s witticism), a manège à quatre (“merry-go-round of four”).