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Monday evening I had my farewell dinner with “Theseus,” at Comme Chez Maman in Batignolles. The meal itself was just ok, but there was a funny moment. I noticed our waitress pouring glasses for another table from an enormous champagne bottle (either a magnum or a jeroboam I think). I asked if I could take her picture, after which the host, a genial American, treated me to a glass of rather good champagne!

Pouring from a big bottle of champagne

Enjoying my free glass of champagne

On Tuesday I met a young Chinese guy who is studying the perfume business in Versailles. We had a very nice lunch, and perhaps will meet again in a later year. It’s striking that he’s only the second local guy I’ve met through online apps this year. This mostly reflects a reduction in my own level of interest, but also an increased level of caution after my Australia/New Zealand trip.

On Wednesday evening I took the métro out to Pont de Sèvres, at the end of line 9, to see the Canadian group called 7 Doits a la Main (7 Fingers to the Hand). I had wanted to see them when they were in Boston but didn’t get it organized so I thought this would be a good choice. They offer a combination of acrobatics, modern dance and theater that doesn’t involve much language. I got only a general idea of short monologues in French at the beginning and end, but for the most part I fully enjoyed their physical performances. It was a worthwhile outing.

On Thursday afternoon I finally made it over to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris at La Villette to see some thesis performances by graduating students). They are free and open to the public. The starting point for finding them is to Google “Récitals de fin d’année [Year Date].” This will bring you to a booklet like the one at this link, which gives the overall schedule for when the performances for particular instruments, etc. will be held, usually from mid-May to the first week of July. Then you go to the Conservatory and pick up the schedule for the current week, which shows who is performing when. I was lucky enough to hear the thesis performance of a superb young violinist, Nathan Mirdl.

Nathan Mierdl, the talented violinist whose thesis performance I happened to see

I’m sure the selection of his first piece couldn’t have been intended to remind the judges of his angelic charm

I had another expected surprise earlier in the week when David contacted me to say that he and his partner Sean would be visiting Paris for a few days at the end of my stay. We got together on Thursday evening for a glass of rosé at my place, a walk around the Village Montorgueil, and dinner at La Régalade de Conservatoire, which we thoroughly enjoyed despite the fact that the service, while well-intentioned, was stretched by the full house.

Bob, David and Sean after dinner at La Régalade de Conservatoire

On Friday I had an afternoon beer at La Hasard Ludique, a new bar in the 18ème using an abandoned station and platform of La Petite Ceinture, which I had visited and photographed in 2014.

An afternoon beer at La Hasard Ludique

La Hasard Ludique, a new bar using an abandoned station and platform of La Petite Ceinture

Meanwhile, I’ve continued to wander around Paris and take pictures:

Who would have expected to find Neil Armstrong in a shop window?

A Parisian gentleman with a beard almost as impressive as my own

Does it look to you like this building is collapsing?

Not to worry. The engineers are keeping track of the rate at which the crack is widening!