A little boy of about four just walked by my table on the sidewalk and told me in a very excited voice and accompanying wide arms, "I just had an enorme pizza!" This was a couple of minutes after we were greeted by someone we knew who was passing by. A few minutes later I recognized the clochard who lives on our block on his way home I suppose. This is still a real neighborhood and I'm beginning to recognize faces.
Last night we went out for a drink in the hot evening air and walked quite a way searching for just the right place, not too stuffy, not too sunny (the sun was still bright at 9:00 p.m.) and not too crowded. We wound up at Café de Nemours in front of the Comedie Française, not realizing that we had arrived between sets of a small brass orchestra not far off. It was fine, actually.
By the time we got hungry the only thing we wanted was a hamburger. Yes, I know it's Paris but the darn things are everywhere, and the café in the Palais Royal garden had a cheeseburger as the plat du jour! Apparently everyone else was also in the mood and they had run out. Not willing to give up we moved on to rue d'Argout, where we know we could find Blend, one of the best burgers around. Unfortunately Blend has no outdoor seating and it was just too hot to be indoors.
We finally shared a cheeseburger with bleu d'Auvergne (this makes it French food, n'est-ce pas?) next door at Vintage. I think we were the only ones on the entire street actually eating, although the other 100 or so people enjoying the evening were certainly enjoying various beverages.
Earlier in the day we had seen the Intimate Impressionists exhibit at the Musée Marmottan, a lovely selection of small works almost all in private collections. This is one of my favorite kinds of shows, one that offers the opportunity to see things that are virtually never going to be available to be seen unless you travel in circles other than the ones I travel in. The Marmottan is next to the Jardins du Ranelagh in the 16th arrondissement and the grass was nearly covered with groups of teenagers released from school into the lovely day. Most of them had McDonald's sacks.
We didn't join them, choosing instead to lunch on the terrace of a restaurant nearby. We realized that we were near someplace that we'd been meaning to visit for years, the Albert Kahn Museum and Gardens in Saint Cloud, just a couple of metro stops away. This was the ideal time to go and we did.
Albert Kahn was a self-made millionaire of the late 19th - early 20th century who was fascinated by the rest of the world and decided to send photographers out to document it. Thousands of autochromes, an early color process, and moving films are available to see, but for us a walk in the gardens, designed to represent different national styles, was the best. Two Japanese gardens, one traditional and one contemporary, an English garden, a French garden, two different forest landscapes, a wetlands, all in probably 2 acres of land. A super way to spend a summer afternoon.
Today is alternating between rain and sun. We're off to meet Clotilde in the Palais Royal, where there is a choice of open garden and covered arcade. It's all in the planning.
Photos are at www.instagram.com/shellioreck