It felt as if we had been away for weeks rather than just 5 days and coming back to Paris was, as it usually is, a homecoming. The Musée Carnavalet was our first stop since Susanne had never seen it and I love the massive but well-displayed collection of art and artifacts about the city of Paris, set in a hôtel particulier once occupied by Madame de Sévigné.
A short wander through the Marais, where we seem to be spending quite a bit of time, lunch outdoors at Chez Janou, which looks just like the movie version of a charming French bistro, a little (dare I admit it?) shopping, and dinner across town at Alisa's.
Alisa is an American making her life in Paris with her two adorable half-French daughters. She runs Sweet Pea, a business making authentic American baked goods with the finest French ingredients and last year she produced two fabulous cakes for my Parisian birthday party. She's also a food stylist and works with a French publishing company on a series of cookbooks. Needless to say she's a great cook and dinner was delicious.
Yesterday we went over to the Panthéon and visited the graves of the "grands hommes" of France buried there, many of whom we as Americans know nothing about. Two of the exceptions were Marie and Pierre Curie, whose tombs were covered with floral tributes left by a group of Polish tourists claiming their own. We were interested in an exhibit about Emile Zola's role in the Dreyfus affair and the controversy about burying Zola in the Pantheon. It's discouraging to be reminded once again of the long shadow cast over European history by anti-Semitism and its traveling companion, right-wing nationalism, particularly after having visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem just the other day.
The rest of the afternoon was spent walking and sitting in cafés in the St-Germain area, where we meet the cutest patrons.
Drinks with Lisa and her visiting friend Michelle, more drinks at the home of Kirsten, a new friend, where we met (now this gets complicated) her friend Gili from Israel, who happens to be familiar with the company once owned by our family, whose wedding we just attended. Does that make sense? Anyway, just another in a long series of small world stories we seem to collect. A late-ish dinner with Isabelle at j'Go in the Marché St-Germain and metro home to a well earned rest.