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When my Paris schedule leaves a gap of two or three weeks between house guests I typically have a moment of anxiety. Will I be bored? Will I be lonely?? But then I remind myself that in Paris, the most popular tourist destination in the world, unplanned friends — “expected surprises” — always show up. And so they have!

C.N. at the Palais Royal. Photo credit: Me! (with his camera and guidance)

Although we’ve never lived in the same city I’ve known C.N. since 2012 and our paths have crossed several times since then, most recently three years ago in Paris. He arrived on Friday and we hung out for a while for each of the following four days. He’s also counting his steps, so we have that goal in common, although he does 500 pushups every morning so we have some divergent goals too!

I had despaired of ever improving on my Facebook profile pic from last summer.

But C.N. took its successor at the Palais Royal.

We had a few nice meals but the most memorable was at an unassuming looking restaurant called Ellsworth. I had initially been concerned that it would be ugly American food, since their signature dish was fried chicken, but it proved to be creative mostly-French cuisine.

I mislaid my somewhat decrepit umbrella somewhere that day, I suspected at Ellsworth. I promptly bought a spanking new umbrella at Muji, but eventually got around to asking at Ellsworth whether they had my old one. They didn’t, but were extremely nice about it, and eventually gave me another, much nicer, one from their collection of abandoned umbrellas. It’s helpful to have two for when friends stay over.

C.N. and I visited several museums together, notably Musée d’Orsay, l’Orangerie and the Picasso museum. I’ll organize the art pics separately.

On the last two days of C.N.’s visit yet another friend showed up unexpectedly. Chuck Latovich is a gentlemen of approximately my own vintage, who was making a European Grand Tour with another Boston friend. We started a walking tour of the rue Montorgueil neighborhood by having a couple kirs at my favorite people watching table, with views down rue Tiquetonne as well as the Montorgueil parade. Two hours and two more kirs later we had caught up and watched many fabulous people but not taken a step.

Bob and Chuck at L.B. on rue Montorgueil

Though still very young himself, and in a committed relationship, C.N. appreciates maturity, so when he saw this pic he was keen to meet Chuck. Consistent with my reputation as a master “connector” I arranged a joint event for the following afternoon, which (if I do say so myself) was a modest social triumph.

Bob, C.N. and Chuck on rue des Mauvaises Garçons