Anti-Macron, Anti-Macron demonstration, apartment, bande dessinée, Belleville, Café des Anges, church, departure, Grand Fête, head on a platter, John the Baptist, Jourdain, Latin Quarter, Le Jourdain, Lisa, Macron, meals, Metro, neighborhoods, Paris, Place Saint-Michel, tourists, touristy, typanum, Village Jourdain, Zhizhong
The open studios walk Andy and I took a couple weeks back ended up in a neighborhood of Belleville called the Village Jourdain. I had noticed a banner for a festival being held there on my last weekend, so on Saturday morning I headed over to see what it was like.
The festival was very charming and almost 100% local. There was a brocante (tag sale), shops and restaurants, a stage with local performances, and lots of convivial people. Anti-Macron demonstrators took advantage of the crowd to organize an impromptu sing-along, with lyrics on banners set to a popular tune.
There were many budget lunch options but since it was my last weekend I felt like going a bit upscale. Fortunately I was able to get a seat at the bar of Le Jourdain, a delightful seafood tapas place a few blocks from the center.
The service was friendly and professional and the food was excellent; the kitchen was somewhat slow but I was in no hurry.
After lunch, on a whim, I strolled up to the pretty neo-Gothic church on rue de Belleville, across the street from the Jourdain métro station, for a tour offered by the parish priest. I assumed that it would take about half an hour but I didn’t anticipate the gusto with which the priest would explain every facet of the church’s history, architecture and decor: it ended up taking 90 minutes!
I understood almost everything the priest said! (Addressing a group is a key professional skill for a preacher: he was speaking so slowly and distinctly that any fool could understand him.)
I had been anticipating a photo opportunity from climbing up the bell tower but in fact the most interesting view was of the excavation for modernization and extension of métro line 11.
That evening I thought it would be nostalgic to go over to the Latin Quarter, where I had always used to stay, from my student days through the 2008 trip with Andy. I tend to avoid it these days, but I do have a soft spot for the area, if not for the throngs of tourists.
My plan had been to eat in the tourist district, as I had done for so many years, but I simply couldn’t bear it! I walked a few blocks further, to a Vietnamese place in a quieter area.
I had planned a photo shoot along the banks of the Seine for after dinner but it started to rain so I high-tailed it home and called it a night.
On Sunday I spent most of the day at the Grand Palais (described in my previous post).
My last week had been fairly solitary, since most of the people I spent time with this year had already left. Even Zhizhong had unexpectedly been called away to China on business, but fortunately he got back in time for us to have a farewell dinner on Sunday night at one of his favorite local places, Café des Anges on rue de la Roquette near Bastille.
Packing at the end of a trip is infinitely easier than packing at the start, since there are almost no decisions: you just throw everything into a suitcase (after triaging liquids, sharp objects and spare lithium batteries). The only issue I encountered on Sunday morning was weight. I travel with a hand-held scale, which showed that my checked suitcase was two pounds overweight. I moved a book to my carry-on and ditched some replaceable bottles to duck under the 50 pound limit. Then I tidied the apartment, wrote my previous blog post and checked out.
The process of getting to the airport, checking in, going through security, etc. was predictably annoying, but not in any interesting ways. The flight itself, on Air France, was surprisingly tolerable. Among the 200 movies they offered I chose Jules et Jim, directed by François Truffaut, in French with English subtitles. I found all the characters believable and relateable. Jules and Jim were both in love with the same woman but in the end I was even more deeply moved by the affectionate and respectful friendship between them.