Wander and Ponder on Friday: Where Have I Been?
Looking at the last Wander and Ponder entry, it was over a month ago. So where have I been? I took another airplane ride, but this time to Paris. France, not Texas.
I am beginning to feel somewhat normal, as just a few hours off the plane what was I thinking about making an appointment with the ophthalmologist for a pre-op consultation less than 20 hours after arriving home with a scheduled eye surgery for ten days later? Whew! That was a lot! I'm still trying to unpack and decide where to put all those wonderful treasures I found at the Vanves flea market (Marché Puce de Vanves in the 14th arrondissement).
Sure, I did a lot of traditional touristy things such as going on the hunt for the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, visiting Renoir, Van Gogh, and others at the Musee d' Orsay, taking a dinner cruise on the Seine, and checking out the Iron Lady (Eiffel) at night to watch her sparkle...
|Yes, I even love this book shop more than Powell's in Portland
|One of my favorites, Moulin de la Galette by Renoir
However, one of the experiences that has kept me smiling was the memories of visiting with the vendors at the Vanves and looking at all of their wares, with many items well over 100 years old. The variety of the items and the willingness of vendors to make deals were welcoming. From books to furniture, the Vanves has a rich history where every weekend since 1905 treasures have been found. The items are less curated but reminiscent of visiting mini-estate sales with each having a story to tell. The Vanvnes is at least four city blocks long.
Another highlight for me was the famous book shop, Shakespeare and Co. where authors from the past visited or hung out such as Hemingway, James Joyce, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein to name a few... Yeah, so I bought a few books.
We had a few corny moments where we went in search of the famous steps where writer "Gil Pender" from the movie, Midnight in Paris waited for the antique Peugeot limo to carry him back in time to meet the likes of Hemmingway, the Fitzgeralds, and other famous authors, artists, and musicians.
Another interesting experience was the evening I went to a dark cave that was located on a typical Parisian alley in the Latin Quarter, but this cave held a jazz club. I had no clue where we were going. I was not the leader that evening, but the follower of my younger traveling companions. It was a week later when looking at my credit card statement I realized the name of the jazz club, Caveau de la Huchette. Turns out it is one of the most famous jazz clubs in Paris. The building alone had a history since the 1500s as a meeting place for the Templar knights during the Crusades. The club opened in the 1940s hosting a variety of popular American and French jazz entertainers. The club was also highlighted in the Oscar-winning movie, Lala Land. Finding out the history of this club was one of those Paris memories that kept on giving - - a week later.
A few days later upon arrival back to the USA, I had cataract surgery on my left eye. I had my right eye done four weeks before I left for Paris. The left eye surgery wasn't as easy as the first. Remember the old horror movie from 1958, "The Fly" starring Vincent Price and David Hedison? In the end, the man turned into a fly and screamed in his tiny voice as a spider approached, "Help me! Help me!" This is how I looked - like the Fly. Help me!
What can I recommend to any new visitor to Paris? Don't get too caught up in the tourist traps, but take at least an afternoon just to do nothing other than take a walk, and sip a tasse de café ou un verre du vin. Enjoy dessert and just breathe it all in.
I'm already planning my next trip. Yeah. No. I am not a Francophile.
Wine Recommendations: Lots of Champagne, a few glasses of Burgundy, a few glasses of Bordeaux from the Right Bank... Whatever glass of wine was put in front of me, I drank. And when in Paris, you should, too. Sante!