“Qu’est-ce que vous voulez faire aujourd’hui?” asked the Artist. What do you want to do?
The two dignified women beside me knew exactly what they wanted to “faire.” Silhouettes. Watercolours. Realistic paintings of realistic people. Crap like that.
“Et vous?” she asked again.
“I’m not a trained artist,” I stammered, “mais j’aime jouer avec les coleurs.”
The three real artists in the room smiled condescendingly, and a little amusedly. Jouer? Play? What nonsense was this?
I woke up later than I’d planned. I’d best get moving if I want to experience artistic ecstasy at the Louvre, and still have time to lose myself in the ultimate flea market, all before 6pm. No time for dawdling. Where’s that market? Oh dang, I accidentally closed that tab. Google search… markets in Paris… oh, here it is. Marché St. Denis. Quick. Find it on the map. Find the Louvre. Find a route between the two. Hmmm. No simple route presents itself. That’s okay. I will ask the informative people at the Louvre. They are designed to be helpful. So one would assume.
And off I went. Metro. Louvre. Artistic ecstasy. Check.
“Excusez-moi? Quelle est la meilleur route au Marché St. Denis?” I asked, pointing to the place I’d circled on my map.
“I speak English,” replied the girl behind the tourist desk. Like I’d asked.
“What’s the best way to get to this market?” I asked again.
“I went there once,” she said, coolly. “I didn’t like it.”
Did I ask what language you speak? Did I ask if you like flea markets? Of course you don’t. You’re a snooty, polished Parisian who works behind the information desk at the snootiest, most aristocratic cultural destination on the planet. Just tell me how to get there, already.
She told me. I went. I was beside myself with anticipation. Continue reading
“Let’s meet under the Eiffel Tower at 10am.”
How’s that for a statement you don’t hear every day? Particularly from your pals in humble Peterborough, 6,000 km from anything remotely Parisian?
It was March, 2016, and I was living in Morocco. I had some medical concerns that I felt weren’t being adequately addressed in Casablanca, and had planned a last-minute consultation with a specialist at the American Hospital in Paris. I was desperate for a conclusive diagnosis and action plan for my increasingly distressing health situation; but what I ended up with was so very much more enlightening than the coveted doctor’s report.