These last days in Paris seem likely to be a merry-go-round of farewell coffees, dinners and distractions. Fun for me but perhaps less interesting to my gentle reader(s?). I’ll try to highlight a few amusing moments, though.
After a morning largely spent scheduling and re-scheduling I met up for Tuesday afternoon tea at the Open Café with two old friends and a new one: Elliot Marks, an expat who has lived here for ten years and coordinates HGLC’s Paris chapter; Colin Chamberlain, a Harvard grad student doing a thesis on Malebranche; and Andrew Hamilton, a fellow Harvard grad student and friend of Colin’s. Colin and Andrew have just arrived in Paris, each starting an academic year here. I thought Elliot might enjoy meeting Colin and Andrew, and vice-versa. I also thought that the arrival of new Harvard folks might spark an HGLC Paris event.
Dinner was with Alexis, whom I had met in 2010 through mutual friends. He first took me on a walk through the 10ème, where he now lives. Some areas near the train stations were quite run-down but other parts were energetic and trendy. We had a good dinner at a cute restaurant near the Canal Saint-Martin called Les Enfants Perdus (the lost children). I liked the atmosphere as well as the food; the service was somewhat attitude-y, but in a rather endearing way.
Alexis lived in the U.S. for four years, most of the time a few blocks away in Central Square, Cambridge, though we didn’t meet until he had moved back to France. He has a deep interest in American politics and culture. I struggled to hold up my end when the conversation turned to U.S. congressional races, though I felt more comfortable discussing the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Alexis is one of the more trenchant critics of my pretensions as a flâneur, but he also takes my ideas more seriously than most, so our discussion of tourism, the pleasures of travel and nostalgia were especially rewarding.
Alexis mentioned at the end of the evening that this was the first day that really seemed like fall. The first part of September was full-on late summer, but in the last several days it has been cooler and cloudier, with occasional drizzle. I have enjoyed the weather here, but I also enjoy fall in Boston. Another year I will probably consider returning in May and/or June rather than in September.
If it’s Wednesday it must be … farewell dinner with Jacques at Brasserie Bofinger. I had proposed some trendier places but Jacques really prefers traditional brasseries, and I can see why!
Here’s my full photo set: Farewell Dinner with Jacques at Brasserie Bofinger. Jacques and I have been friends since my first month here, April, 2010. While it’s always sad to say goodbye, it’s good to know that he’s doing well and that I can always expect his kindness and friendship.
Inspired by Monet’s haystacks, here are two views of the Stravinsky Fountain and Saint-Merri, near the Pompidou center.
Andrew is working this year as a fellow at the musée du quai Branly, a relatively new museum of non-Western art (which of course nobody today would have the temerity to call “primitive”). I wonder what scholars of future ages will make of the artifacts that our civilization leaves behind?