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Friday lunch was with my Harvard friend Elliot Marks, at a wonderful little restaurant in his quartier, Tintilou. The meal was delicious and the service and ambiance were delightful. A new favorite!

Elliot Marks at Tintilou, with the utterly delicious appetizer.

Elliot Marks at Tintilou, with the utterly delectable appetizer.

My main course at Tintilou: St. Pierre, which Elliot explained is called

My main course at Tintilou: St. Pierre, which Elliot explained is called “John Dory” in English.

After lunch I strolled over to take in some of the 100+ artist studios that were open during the annual Belleville Portes Ouvertes. I started at the headquarters (GALERIE DES AAB, 1 rue Picabia, 75020 Paris. M° Couronnes), which lets you peruse samples for each artist so you can decide which studios to visit. One of the samples pleased me so much that I bought it on the spot (as a gift for my Boston friend Bruce). I then set off. As usual most of the art left me unmoved, but also as usual I came across one artist I really loved:

Sculptures by Catherine Arnaud at Belleville Portes Ouvertes 2015.

Sculptures by Catherine Arnaud at Belleville Portes Ouvertes 2015. The piece in the upper left corner was her reaction to the Charlie Hebdo murders.

I also saw part of a very strange art show. The artist dripped and mixed water and ink on a glass plate, which projected on a big screen. It was unusual, but I had to stifle the question, is it art?

Art performance as part of Belleville Open Studios.

Art performance as part of Belleville Open Studios. By Stefano Giorgi?

For dinner I caught up with another Harvard friend, Bob Seeman. The plan was initially for a tête-à-tête but he called earlier in the day to ask whether several of his visiting friends could join us. Of course I said it was fine, and we had a very pleasant meal. It was my first time at Le Colimaçon, though I had tried unsuccessfully to get a table there with Brian and Sheila the previous week. We all enjoyed our meals and the service, by several petite young women, was sympa. It’s a small space, with an impressive spiral staircase up to the étage (which Bob explained is called a colimaçon). Overall I consider it quite a reasonable option, although not a must.

Matt had received an ominous call from American Airlines saying that their flight had been overbooked and asking whether they would they agree to be bumped to a different flight. It turned out, however, to be Christmas in May! The flight they had booked required a connection, and got them in very late on Saturday night, but the new flight was direct and got them here at a reasonable hour in the morning. Moreover they were offered a king’s ransom in cash to make the change! It was very much win-win (except for American) so they made the change and arrived early. I took them on a walk through my neighborhood and over to the Marais, then via Notre Dame to the Latin Quarter. It was their first time in Paris so everything was a thrill, and as usual it was my pleasure to see the city anew through their eyes.

Chris and Matt getting a warm Parisian welcome! (Fabu street art just outside my front door.)

Chris and Matt getting a warm Parisian welcome! (Fabu street art just outside my front door.)

Bob and his new bff, rue des Jeûneurs.

Bob and his new bff, rue des Jeûneurs.

Matt getting an angle on roses in the newly-opened garden of the Hôtel de Ville.

Matt getting an angle on roses in the newly-opened garden of the Hôtel de Ville.

Chris with Notre Dame shyly peeking through the trees.

Chris with Notre Dame peeking shyly through the trees.

We strolled around my neighborhood, then over to the 10e. The first restaurant we went into looked ok from the outside but was completely dead inside, and after we were seated we saw that the menus were tattered. We debated how to handle this and finally we just walked out and I explained to the proprietor that we wanted a more animated place. After a bit more persistence we ended up at a zippy and tasty fish restaurant, La Criée.

La Criée on Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle.

La Criée on Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle.

Chris doesn’t like fish, so we confirmed before going in that they had a couple of beef dishes on the menu. Unfortunately, after Matt and I had exulted over the delightful seafood choices, and ordered, the waiter told us that there was no beef. (He wasn’t even apologetic; he said with a shrug (in French), “This is a seafood restaurant!”) Chris graciously ordered a cheese salad instead of a real main dish. It was a fine meal — for me and Matt — in a busy and bright space.