Art in Paris: The Bührle Collection at the Musée Maillol

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On Friday I met Eugène at the Musée Maillol to see an really excellent exhibition (on through July 21) of impressionist (also pre- and post-) paintings collected during the 1950s by a Swiss multimillionaire, Emil Bührle.

In all my visits to Paris I had never been to the Maillol! Partly this was due to the fact that the permanent collection is mostly composed of busty babes, which I don’t mind but don’t particularly seek out. And I suspect it was partly due to my prejudice against the 6ème, which I’m coming to see is just as unfair as being prejudiced against all of Montmartre simply because it has a trampled-to-death tourist track. Yes, the vicinity of métro Saint-Germain-des Prés is painful. But just a few blocks away there are gorgeous and peaceful spots like Place de Furstenberg.

Place de Furstenberg in the 6ème

I have seen a lot of impressionist art this year, but I was nevertheless quite taken by the Bührle collection. He assembled a few excellent works from all the major figures of the age; in fact it somewhat resembled the survey collections that old and rich colleges (such as Williams and Brown) put together for their students, except that Bührle apparently had almost unlimited resources. A dozen of the works turned out to have been looted in World War II, but he was able to buy most of them a second time from the legitimate owners, then get reimbursed by the gallery from which he purchased them.

Here are just a few of my favorite pieces (retouched to remove some nagging reflections):

Camille Corot, La Liseuse, 1845/50

Édouard Manet, Le Suicidé, About 1877

Alfred Sisley, Été à Bougival, 1876

Claude Monet, Champ de coquelicots près de Vétheuil, About 1879

Paul Cézanne, Le Garçon au gilet rouge, 1888/90

Pierre Bonnard, Ambroise Vollard, 1904

Maurice de Vlaminck, Nature morte aux oranges, 1907/08

Eugène at Ladurée with my birthday macarons.

After the exhibition, Eugène took me out to Ladurée for tea to celebrate my mumble-th birthday, then over to Mariage Frères for a renewed supply of vanilla-flavored Thé des Impressionists.

Addendum: Eugène professed to see a resemblance between me and this 1887 (Suicide-3) selfie by Van Gogh. #WhoDidItBetter?

Bob with Autoportrait, Vincent Van Gogh, 1887

Friends Old and New

I had rented my third Airbnb for the whole month of June together with my Boston friend Jared R., with whom I had shared Paris apartments for shorter periods in 2012 and again in 2016. The original plan was for him to come for the entire month, and since we would each have a bedroom we could also host close friends who might want to stay with us. I was looking forward to his company, but unforeseen circumstances have kept him in Boston for the first two weeks. He’ll be coming on June 16, so we’ll just have to pack his Paris experience into two weeks instead of four.

For the first two weeks of June, however, I’m “on my own again!”  I had extended several invitations to Boston friends, but after getting a couple of definite maybes I came up empty handed. Fortunately, I’ve had some success this year with the much-maligned but unavoidable “apps.” Yes, many sketchy people use them, but so does everyone else, the result being that you simply have to sift through an enormous number of profiles and messages to find someone with whom there is mutual attraction, and who you also would enjoy knowing. Last year, as my loyal readers may recall, I had several nice dinners with a young man who I called “Theseus” but eventually realized that his motivations were mostly monetary (he resurfaced this year and claimed that he had “changed” but I politely declined). I was determined not to make the same mistake again this year, which has required me to do even more sifting than before.

Early in May I started chatting with a Sorbonne student who I’ll call “Tom.” We had really fun and funny online interchanges, often involving French and English language and culture. Our schedules were misaligned, however, so we didn’t meet in person until Tuesday evening. I proposed meeting for a drink at a nearby place that looked cute, La Belette qui Tête (literally, “the weasel who head”, perhaps some French double entendre?). Tom was flabbergasted, since of all the gin joints in Paris I had chosen the bar he had frequented with his ex! We quickly changed plans and agreed to meet at a place along nearby rue Mouffetard. I had fallen in love with this street when I first started visiting Paris, more than fifty years ago: it’s a narrow pedestrianized market street that winds its way down from the heights of the Latin Quarter. I only broke up with the street when I discovered, and started dating, my current beau, rue Montorgueil. Although both attract a lot of tourists, rue Mouffetard has a much higher percentage of foreign tourists, who I find icky. Tom suggested dinner at La Petite Bretonne, a really nice and authentic crêperie that has somehow avoided being ruined by tourists:

Tom is genetically only 50% Breizh (Breton) but feels 100%!

Bob about to dive in to his enormous galette

My overstuffed chicken/cheese/spinach galette was more than enough so I took a third of it home

One of many “fun facts” that Tom has told me is that « après-midi » (afternoon) is the only French word that can be either masculine or feminine: « bon après-midi » and « bonne après-midi » are both correct.

I had virtually met Jack, a Malaysian landscape architect, when I was in London last October. We weren’t able to meet in person then but we kept in touch and he messaged me that he would be flying from Paris to Japan on June 6 so there might be a chance to meet in person. Everything fell in place and we met for beers at the very same La Belette Qui Tête, which indeed drew a young and hip crowd. After our apéro we had a lovely meal at a nearby restaurant, Desvouges, which had one of the highest online ratings I had ever seen (5.0). We were the first to arrive, at 7:30 pm, and I was a bit concerned to have chosen an empty restaurant. I mentioned to the friendly owner/chef/waiter my hope that others would join us and he humorously agreed! But the place of course filled quickly. The meal and service lived up to the stellar rating! My only critique is that the menu was heavy on red meat and a bit thin on fish.

Bob and Jack at Desvouges

Bob’s main course, a fish soufflé at Desvouges

Jack and I weren’t sure how much wine we wanted so the host offered us a bottle à la ficelle, which he explained (in his excellent English) meant that he would charge us for what we drank. Literally, ficelle means a piece of string, and the origin of the phrase was a knotted piece of string dipped in a pitcher.

My favorite new friend, however, I will call Eugène. He is also a student at the Sorbonne, from an old family based in southwestern France. We started with coffee in my neighborhood on Sunday, leading to dinner in the nearby and charming Buttes-aux-Cailles neighborhood. The next day he invited me over for afternoon tea.

Eugène at tea

On Thursday we visited the Musée du Luxembourg to see the Les Nabis et le décor  exhibition, which I found somewhat but not very interesting.

This decorative panel by Vuillard epitomized what I didn’t much like about the exhibition, starting with drab colors

I did, however, like this symbolist painting, the Rendezvous of the Faries, by Paul Sérusier

After the exhibition, Eugène and I had lunch at La Méditerranée, a seafood restaurant on the Place de l’Odéon that we had both walked by many times but had never tried. At first I had a bit of sticker shock, but then I realized that there was a reasonable fixed price menu, which we enjoyed, despite somewhat inconsistent service.

Bob and Eugène at La Méditerranée

Bob’s marinated fish appetizer at La Méditerranée

Bob’s main course at La Méditerranée

Our shared dessert – creme brulée atop apple compote — at La Méditerranée

Moving to the 5ème

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Saturday was moving day. One big advantage of Airbnb over brokered rentals is that cleaning is almost always factored into the total price. Back when I rented apartments through brokers there was always a possibility that the owner would hold back some or all of the deposit because the apartment wasn’t cleaned to his/her liking. I’ve heard horror stories from other renters about substantial deductions due to trivial points such as water spots on glass panels of the shower stall. As a result, in prior years I would take the better part of a day to render the apartment spotless. In the Airbnb regieme I just tidy up, sweep the floor if it’s obviously dirty, and take out the trash.

I had really enjoyed the Uber trip from my first apartment this year to my second. The car was a top end limousine and the driver was friendly. So I got his card and arranged for him to pick me up at 10 am on Saturday morning for the move to the 5ème. In retrospect this was dumb, because I knew he lived quite far from Paris. Who wants to have to get out of the house by 9 am on a Saturday morning for a 20 euro fare? As it turned out, he cancelled by email at the last minute, but I didn’t see the message until later, since (as the attentive reader will recall) my cell phone had been stolen. This resulted in the only significant issue I’ve had due to the lack of a cell phone, though not that big of a deal.

Another SNAFU was that the host at my third Airbnb had initially asked me to arrive at 11 am, but texted at the last minute that the room wouldn’t be ready until 1 pm (which happily turned out to be noon). That text I saw before leaving home, but decided to proceed anyway and just chill in the ‘hood while the room was being prepared.

The very helpful and caring host of my second Airbnb, Yann, helped me downstairs with my luggage and walked me to the Uber rendezvous. Since he knew I had no cell phone he said he would check again in 15 minutes to make sure I had been picked up. I was still standing there when he checked so he suggested that I hail a taxi instead, then walked me up to the nearest cab stand. This is above and beyond the call of duty! But in fact, I would have eventually hailed a taxi myself, so the situation wasn’t a real crisis. The taxi fare was ess than 10 euros, so I saved money as well as learning a good lesson.

The very helpful and caring host of my 3rd Airbnb, Alexander, biked up just as I arrived, helped me upstairs with my suitcase, and apologized profusely for the delay. I quickly found a neighborhood place to have a beer and wait out the final cleaning. The local patrons were surprisingly friendly — which I really never found on rue Montorgueil. One of the regulars told me his life story, in French (with English backup), and introduced me to some of the other regulars. Time passed quickly, and soon enough Alexander was showing me around his beautifully-renovated apartment.

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The living/dining/kitchen space isn’t huge, but it’s well designed and comfortable

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The bathroom has a lovely rain shower and a washer/drier that really dries!

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The two gorgeous bedrooms have light-filled windows opening on…

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… a courtyard that could almost be in the countryside. There’s a school behind but the students aren’t as noisy as those last year in the 2ème

From pictures the neighborhood had looked like a typical Haussmann area, but I’m coming to feel that Les Gobelins is a quite special “village” within the city, lacking the mobs of French and other tourists that invade the Village Montorgueil every afternoon and evening. One of its signature features is big stuffed teddy bears (nounours) in almost every shop window:

Each teddy has some special accoutrements that relate to the shop

Many of the teddy bears are bons vivants!

Don’t drink and drive, Teddy!

Oh, no, this one had a bit too much to drink.

While the neighborhood is in general quite safe, even here one feels the impact of the troubled times. On the Saturday morning of my arrival some gilets jaunes had gotten into the building’s courtyard and thrown a pile of newspapers in front of the offices of a printer’s union.
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My host had given me the code to open the outer door, but had told me that it was only required in the evenings. Since this attack, however, the code is required 24/7. Just a straw in the wind…

Art in Paris: The Courtauld Collection at Fondation Louis Vuitton

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Through June 17 the finest impressionist works from the Courtauld Gallery in London are on view at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. My feelings about Manet have been somewhat mixed; he seems sometimes to be courting scandal as well as seeking beauty. But I confess to being seduced by the signature painting of this exposition, despite the unnaturally skewed “reflection” in the upper right corner.

Édouard Manet, Un bar aux Folies-Bergère, 1882

I added this, as well as several other paintings from the Courtauld exhibit, to Impressionism Far and Near, a photo set pairing favorite works with a close-up to show the beauty of the brush strokes.

Édouard Manet, Un bar aux Folies-Bergère, 1882 (detail)

The exhibition was really satisfying. Here are two more paintings I particularly liked.

Alfred Sisley, Bateaux sur la Seine, about 1875-9

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Yole, 1875

It was a shock to continue on to an exhibition of modern and conceptual works from the permanent collection of the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Alex Katz, Red House 3, 2013

Of course I know how art has evolved since the age of impressionism, but I’ve rarely felt what we have lost so keenly. I did enjoy — who wouldn’t? — stepping for the first time into one of Yayoi Kusama’s mirror rooms.

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirror Room, 1965 / 2013.

I like amusement park fun houses as much as the next person, and I don’t mind the fact that contemporary art installations provide an increasingly similar experience. (If I go to the Venice Biennale this year, which still might happen, I expect more of the same.) But the range of emotion and esthetic experience offered by impressionist art feels broader and deeper. Call me an old fuddy duddy — you would not be the first! — but at the end of the day I prefer impressionism.

On Friday afternoon, as I gorged myself on the flowers of Parc de Bagatelle and the art of the Courtauld collection I began to notice a nagging little sore throat. I knew exactly what this portended: at the very least I would start getting the sniffles, then would be sneezing and coughing for a few more days. This indeed occurred, and while it has slowed me down a bit I’ve still had some excellent adventures. To be continued…

Parc de Bagatelle: Roses and Irises

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On Friday I was finally feeling my oats again, so I decided to make my way out to the Parc de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne. The last time I had visited was May 18, 2010. That year the cold weather had delayed the flowers; there were just a few irises and no roses at all. But this year it was near the peak for both irises and roses!

My previous experience on the métro may have traumatized Sherard but I mostly shrugged it off, taking it as a caution to look out for disorganized situations in touristy areas or bad neighborhoods rather than a generalized fear. So I set out by métro for the posh suburb of Neuilly sur Seine (to which Zhizhong has recently moved). I had expected it to be quite buttoned down, but I admired this dramatic view of La Grande Arche de la Défense.

La Grande Arche de la Défense from Neuilly sur Seine

The mission of the day was flowers, however! Of course I had no cell phone, but I took a photo of Google maps before I left home so the half hour walk from the métro station to the park was uneventful. Here are some photos of the gorgeous rose gardens.

Def Def Bridgewater, Meilland

Palais Royale, Meilland

Elina, Dickson GB

And don’t forget the irises!

Bal Masque, 1973, Jean Cayeux

Sierra Nevada, 1973, Marion Walker

Blue Reflection, 1972, Schreiner

Tut’s Gold, 1979, Schreiner

After walking around the park and enjoying a beer it was still only about 6 pm. The Fondation Louis-Vuitton was nearby and is open until 9 pm on Fridays, so I strolled over, as you’ll see in the next post.

Recovery and Photography

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On Wednesday, after walking 77 miles over the previous week, I was tired! I wrote a few blog posts, did some reading, and basically just put my feet up! I love walking, and it’s one of my favorite things to do in Paris. Over the decade I’ve been coming here I’ve consistently averaged about 7 miles a day (though only 6 in 2018). I knew from last year that I would be below average during my stay in the 15ème with my cousins, but I counted on Sherard’s insatiable appetite for walking to compensate. What I didn’t count on was that I would be walking almost as much with C.N. on the four days before Sherard arrived. So it turned out to be eleven solid days of intensive walking (including a 15-mile half-marathon day).

On Thursday, after more rest, I ventured out to the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in the 3ème. There were some charming photos by Cartier-Bresson himself but the main event was a small exhibition of enormously enlarged street photos of African cities by a South African photographer, Guy Tillim. I was impressed, but by and large was happier perusing the images in a Paris gallery rather than actually being in one of those cities.

Guy Tillim, Museum of the Revolution exhibition at La Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

On my way home a gallery I hadn’t visited before this year — Galerie Rabouan Moussion — caught my eye. When I went in I was basically blown away by an exhibition of large-format photographs by Erwin Olaf that combined sumptuous surface beauty with witty, barbed and/or affecting points. Here are shots of a few that I particularly liked.

These two images, hung at very different levels, are related…

In the first, a mature black man sits at a (modest) power desk while a white boy waits in a row of chairs.

In the second image the white boy, somehow, is sitting in the power chair and the black man is nowhere to be seen.

The next two images suggest relationships between two women.

A mother and child? Maybe not, since the book open on the table is Lolita!

Another mother and child? Perhaps the child has done something wrong? But in the context of the previous photograph other interpretations also suggest themselves.

This photograph was my favorite, because of the moving affection it shows as well as the scantily-clad model.

The Farewell, 2018, Erwin Olaf at Galerie Rabouan Moussion, Paris

The Farewell, 2018 (detail), Erwin Olaf at Galerie Rabouan Moussion, Paris

The Farewell, 2018 (detail), Erwin Olaf at Galerie Rabouan Moussion, Paris

I naturally interpret this as a farewell between gay lovers who are about to be separated by the military service of one of them. But actually they could just be good friends, or even adopted brothers. Perhaps the ambiguity of the photograph makes the point that their powerful and obvious affection is the real and important thing. The exact nature of their relationship is relatively unimportant.

Dinners at Champeaux

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On Monday we went up to Belleville one last time to pick up the small Clem Letrusko painting that Sherard had purchased on Friday, and to visit a few galleries that were on our must-see list. We had planned to make this a relatively restful day, but as it happened we kept seeing additional pieces that we wanted to buy, which required us to walk down the hill to an ATM then back up to the artist or gallery to buy the piece. We ended up walking 11 miles on our “rest day”!

For dinner I proposed a nearby restaurant, Champeaux, beneath the Grande Canopée. It looked quite stylish, and wasn’t terribly expensive. Besides, I had an ulterior motive: I had been reserving restaurants through the website of The Fork/La Fourchette for years. I had gotten some nice discounts but I had never accumulated enough points to use them before they expired. I noticed that I had enough “Yums” for a $10 discount, and Champeaux was one of relatively few restaurants that accepted them! We both enjoyed our meals and we particularly loved the wine they recommended: Triennes IGP Méditerranée Viognier Sainte Fleur Blanc 2018, which Sherard subsequently discovered can be found in the U.S.!

Sherard and me on Monday at Champeaux

My salmon on Monday at Champeaux

I proposed a range of options for Tuesday, Sherard’s last day. He selected thesis performances by students graduating from the Conservatoire de Musique et de Danse, Récitals de fin de l’année.  I enthusiastically agreed, since I really enjoy these accomplished non-touristy (and free) concerts. In retrospect, however, I probably should have recommended something closer to home, or in a less familiar direction, since this was in the far north-east corner of Paris, close where we had already spent most of the week, so the walk was both long and partially repetitive.

We watched a couple of good performances but then needed to go get some food. Eventually we found a modest place on the Canal de l’Ourcq for a traditional lunch. After eating we walked home along the canals, and over to the Galerie Vivienne to find some vintage postcards Sherard had noticed earlier in his stay. With that mission accomplished we headed home, after a 12 mile day.

My friend Zhizhong joined us for dinner. I had reserved at an Italian place in the neighborhood, but when I mentioned our meal the previous evening at Champeaux Zhizhong’s eyes lit up, so we decided to cancel my reservation and go right back there for dinner.

Sherard, Zhizhong and me on Tuesday at Champeaux

My cod on Tuesday at Champeaux

Sherard and Zhizhong with soufflée desserts on Tuesday at Champeaux

My strawberry rhubarb dessert on Tuesday at Champeaux

Champeaux gets a quite good overall rating of 8.8 on The Fork, and we really enjoyed both meals, but I have to admit that it has some flaws: Service was somewhat uneven, and the greeting our first night was downright strange, with the maitre’d being busy talking with a couple of policemen and a waiter being unable at first to find our reservation. The portions aren’t large and the prices aren’t cheap, but we had enough to eat both nights, and the bill wasn’t punishing: 40 euros per person including wine and desserts. You would pay more at a similarly nice restaurant in Boston. The location in a shopping center is admittedly a bit odd, but the room itself is light and airy and stylishly decorated. All in all I think the critics are being churlish; Champeaux is good value for money.

Zhizhong and I stayed up past midnight solving life’s problems, but Sherard had an early flight so he went to bed after dinner. In the morning he headed out to the airport without waking me, but left a nice farewell note on a vintage postcard.

Sunday With Sherard

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On Sunday we slept in, then headed back up towards the 20ème. Our first stop, however, was at Nanashi in the 3ème, where we had also enjoyed a lunch in 2016. My first day navigating without aid of a cell phone left a bit to be desired, but all’s well that ends well.

Sherard at Nanashi. I had thought from the menu on the blackboard that one had to choose from one of three salads, A, B or C …

… however, as with brunch last year at Les Enfants Perdues, one got all three.

We continued up to see a few more of the Belleville Open Studios, as described in an earlier post, then headed up for a drink at Rosa Bonheur at the top of the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, a guinguette that becomes an open air gay bar on fine Sunday afternoons. We bought a bottle of rosé because that’s what you do, then looked for a place to sit.
The best spot we could find was one end of a picnic table, the other end of which was occupied by two boorish Germans who were chatting up a cute-ish French boy. Things got complex when a very cute French guy with a cute puppy and accompanied by a cute American girl asked to join our table. We had a delightful conversation with the newcomers, despite the somewhat distracting Germans.

Cute French guy and his dog, with distracting German, at Rosa Bonheur.

When I asked permission for a photo the French guy said yes, and asked for the url to my Paris blog, so he may even read this! Unfortunately, I presumed that the newcomers were a straight couple that had wandered by accident into Rosa Bonheur, so I stood up to go without asking for the guy’s email. Sherard explained later that the guy was gay, the American girl was just a social friend, and I had committed an regrettable wing man lapse!

That evening we decided to have dinner at Les Artizans, a well-reviewed if somewhat empty restaurant right next to our building on rue Montorgueil. We both ordered the duck breast, which was excellent.

Duck breast for two at Les Artizans

We hadn’t initially planned on dessert, but when our waitress explained that the desserts were prepared on the floor above by an artizan pastry chef, and showed us the options, we had to try one.

Dessert options at Les Artizans.

Two Expected Surprises

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I’ve used the term “expected surprise” to refer to the unplanned appearance of friends during my Paris stays, and there was yet another last week: Steve Kuehler, a Boston friend on his second tour of Europe, arrived in Paris. Sherard and I invited him over for dinner on Saturday evening, and I made a reservation at a local restaurant. Another “expected surprise,” however, led to a change in plans.

Sherard and I wanted to see more of the Belleville Open Studios, but since they don’t open until 2 pm I suggested that we first have a look at the weekend flea market just outside the northern boundary of Paris, the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen. I explained that it would be a 30 minute métro trip or about an hour on foot, knowing that Sherard would prefer to walk. It’s a straight shot up our street along the ancient road by which seafood was brought into the Paris marketplace (Les Halles) from Le Havre in Normandy. The rue Montorgueil part of the street that I love is upscale, but the road goes through a range of neighborhoods, including the rather rough Barbès district, before arriving at the even rougher Porte de Clignancourt and the banlieu of St-Ouen.

At first all went well. I found the guinguette that I had enjoyed on other occasions, Chez Louisette, and it was very atmospheric. Entertainers, seeming to step right out of the 1950’s, sing their hearts out while you eat a quite adequate lunch. Kitschy, yes, but fun!

After lunch we wandered around the flea market for a while, looking at shiny things, though not really tempted to buy anything. I was surprised at how sparse the crowd was and how many stores had closed since I last visited, in 2011. When it started to rain we decided to head home. Since it would have been a long walk in the rain I prevailed on Sherard to jump on the métro. The station was a madhouse, jammed with very sketchy looking people, many of whom were jumping the turnstiles. In retrospect we should have gotten the heck out of there, either walking to another station or even just walking back home in the rain. But I forged ahead.

As I was getting my wallet out of my right front pocket to go through the turnstile I felt the faintest touch at my left front pocket, where I kept my brand new iPhone XR. I glimpsed a furtive looking woman but immediately was shoved forward by an enormous guy who pushed into the turnstile behind me, ostensibly to avoid paying the fare. I noticed immediately that the phone was gone but the woman was nowhere to be seen and the guy claimed ignorance. My guess is that he was her confederate but there was no way to prove it and absolutely zero prospect of recovering the phone.

While being pickpocketed is a misfortune, it is really another category of “expected surprise.” I lost my wallet to a pickpocket in Barcelona more than a decade ago in similar circumstances, getting onto the train to the airport. I was prepared for it then and I’ve been prepared ever since to lose either my wallet or my cell phone, or both. In fact I’ve really been surprised that nothing along this line has happened to me before in my many visits to Paris (and, except for Barcelona, elsewhere). I’ll blog about how I prepare for this eventuality and how the recovery went in a subsequent post.

We went directly home on the métro so I could call T-Mobile, disable the phone, and have my insurer send a replacement. (We probably should have started this process from the station using Sherard’s phone but the delay doesn’t seem to have done any harm.) After all my calls were completed we decided it was too late to walk up to Belleville then back in time for dinner. Since we were already home I suggested that we “make lemonade” and host a dinner party for Steve instead of going to a restaurant.

Sherard and I went up and down rue Montorgueil with our shopping bag, buying fish at the local fishmonger, lettuce for a salad, a fresh baguette, pastries for dessert, a bottle of white wine, etc. I whipped up my standard meal, which, if I do say so myself, was something of a triumph.

Steve Kuehler and Bob with Bob’s standard Paris meal.

My only miscalculation was how thirsty we all were, but fortunately I had a spare bottle of rosé on hand so we had enough to drink as well as eat. After dinner we headed out for a tour of the neighborhood, which Steve enjoyed as much as expected.

Steve, Sherard and Bob on rue Montorgueil

The next evening as we were walking home we saw a little girl lose control of a helium balloon. It went up, up, up until it was a just a diminishing spot in the darkening sky. The girl was brave about it but one could tell that she was upset. I knew just how she felt!

I also knew how Sherard felt. He had been dubious about the métro since his prior trip, and had assiduously avoided it this visit, even when it involved walking an hour or more each way. The single time when I prevailed on him to use the métro one of our pockets got picked. My claim of having used the subway hundreds of times without incident was abstract, but the fact that 100% of his métro trips this year involved a crime was very concrete indeed! I gave up persuading him to use the métro again, and I’m afraid it may be many years before anyone talks him into another trip.

Art in Paris: Sophie Herszkowicz

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This is the last of three posts about the artists in the Belleville Open Studios this year from whom Sherard or I (or both) actually purchased something.

I had greatly admired Sophie Herszkowicz‘s gallery last year (2018), and had contemplated returning to buy the small oil pictured below. I was delighted this year to find that it was still available, and snapped it up for 200 euros.

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Here are some photos of her gallery from last year (2018):

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And here are a few more gallery pics from this year:

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She teaches art in her large studio, under the name Atelier du Passage. I’m a fan!