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Day 14
I slept well, but Carol's cold is bothering her, so I tried not to wake her. She slept soundly until 10 AM and announced that she was hungry, which is a good sign…
It is another gorgeous day in Paris. We have definitely been fortunate regarding the weather. We walked down the hill of Rue Monge to the daily market where Rue Monge intersects Rue St-Germain-des-Pres. We sat and had petit dejeuner at a nearby café while we watched the morning shoppers among the fruit, vegetable, fish, meat, soaps, scarves and leather stalls.
Carol shopping at a street market
Spices at the market
The vendors are yelling out that their produce is the best in France and that their prices are the lowest. Strawberries, cherries, cheeses, chocolates, hams. Above us a woman on the fourth floor has opened her French doors, pulled up a chaise lounge and is sunbathing and snoozing above the market's clamor.
Street market in Paris
Radishes, greenbeans and onions at a market
Carol and I wish that we could bottle these smells, sounds, sights and flavors, the impressions that become stamped so indelibly into our consciousnesses and lure us back to Paris again and again.
At the street market on Rue Monge
After spending time and francs at the market (Carol bought a lovely purple scarf) we took a long Metro ride out to the cemetery called Pere Lachaise.
This large, peaceful but somber tree-lined cemetery is the final resting place for notables, unknowns and in-betweens. Found Jim Morrison, who was in Paris at the same time I was in '71 but chose to remain permanently. His tomb is guarded in the event that a fan might dig him, literally. Found Simone Signoret and Yves Montand, and quite a few other recognizable names, but what struck us the most were the ancient, forgotten, decaying, dissolving, broken, moss-covered tombs of those so long-departed that their upkeep and maintenance has so long ago ceased. Many of these tombs have been so weathered and worn that the names and birth/death dates are no longer recognizable. If the families and/or the cemetery itself has no record of these resting places, they are lost to the slow but certain reclamation of time and the elements. The iron doors of these aged, dark, cobwebbed mausoleums are rusting until they fall of their hinges and melt away.
Balzac's tomb at Pere Lachaise
Stephane Grappelli is buried at Pere Lachasie Simone Signoret and Yves Montand rest at Pere Lachaise
These stones are slowly, year by year, dissolving back into dust, surely returning to the Earth. Some dates were recognizable. We saw several from pre-Revolutionary France and many from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, meaning that many had lost their heads to the guillotine and were brought here by their families to be interred. There were many very unique tombstones, mausoleums and memorials. One, that of Victor Noir, has a life-sized statue of this 19th century journalist shot by Pierre Bonaparte, cousin of Napoleon III, and is said to have fertility powers, and if you look closely at the photo below you can see the well-polished protuberance in his trousers.
The tomb of Victor Noir, said to have powers of fertility...
Others to be found here are Edith Piaf, Isadora Duncan, Oscar Wilde, Honore de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Sarah Bernhardt, Frederic Chopin, Stephane Grappelli and Francois Raspail, whose tomb is in the form of a prison.
Sarah Bernhardt's grave at Pere Lachaise cemetery
Isadora Duncan's memorial
Raspail's tomb at Pere Lachaise cemetery
We spent about two hours at nostalgic Pere Lachaise cemetery, then left the beautiful and peaceful grounds, crossed a busy boulevard and sat a Le Gamette, yet another street-side café, to reflect on the past two hours while enjoying dark Dutch beer and moules frites (mussels and French fries.)
Moules frites
People everywhere carry long baguettes; you see them eating it as they walk or you see them carrying loaves in bags, backpacks, bicycles. It is a common site, seen everywhere every day, part of everyday life in France.
le pain francais  le pain francais
le pain francais
We see such an ethnic mix here. We are on the very east of the city and there are many Muslims and Africans here. Two Muslim women walk by - one is all modern and sleek and sexy in tight black stretch pants and wonder bra, and her friend is covered head to toe in a loose black jilbab and a scarf that covered her neck, ears and hair. Such a dichotomy…
It is another lovely afternoon - bright sun, high 70s, cool breezes. And the Parisians are out enjoying it. It seems, from the numbers of people we see strolling leisurely about or spending hours, like us, in cafes, that everyone is on vacation…
At the café, before we left, Carol had to find le toilette, and it turned out to be the old familiar hole in the floor with two places for your feet. Brother Jim and I remember these from 1971.
Groups of kindergarten-aged children, led by teachers, flow by our table from time to time, eyeing our French fries. They are so beautiful (the children, not the French fries) and we were tempted to share but thought it best not to. On the way from the café to the Metro we found a patisserie and bought a heavenly, rich royale chocolat.
Several Metro stops and three changes later we were back at Cardinale Lemoine and home base. We went into a supermarche and found some elegant jars of French jams for our friends/neighbors Jim and Kathy. Then upstairs to regroup, reorganize and rest. It is 4:45 and the weather is exquisite, the sun and breeze filtering into the room through the large open windows as we pack in order to move to a new room tomorrow (we had extended our stay by one day and our original room had been rented.) Carol, in her organized, logical way, has everything together in an hour. We relax. We have been sad for the past day or two that it is soon time to leave our City of Light. It is always so hard for us leave this place…
Napped from 5 PM until 7 PM. Showered, dressed and aimed for the nearby Rue Mouffetard to choose from the wide variety of restaurants there. We walked up and down until we decided to have and Italian supper at Il Fiorentino Gastronomie Italienne. The waiter, Ferat, was very friendly and accommodating and the dinner came with a kir aperitif on the house. Ferat was from Algeria and spent time visiting with us and we enjoyed his company.
Ferat and dml at Il Fiorentino Gastronomie Italienne
My spaghetti alla fruitti di mar was excellent, as was Carol's bruschetta and ravioli especial. Total cost of dinner was $35. We had the best table in the house - inside but at the open window - so that we would watch the people flowing by on Rue Mouffetard. We had air to protect us from the Lucky Strike chain smokers sitting next to us. These people smoke before, during and after dinner. We remember the Galois, the French cigarettes that actually had an inviting aroma. We saw none of these, only American cigarettes. I should not complain - I light up a Montecristo whenever I get the opportunity.
We enjoyed a wonderful meal at Il Fiorentino Gastronomie Italienne
Chocolate Mousse and cappuccino topped off a memorable dinner. It is 10 PM and it still light in the night sky. It is equal to the evening sky at 7 PM in Tucson…
The restaurant was literally around the corner from out hotel. Before we left, Carol took a photo of me with Ferat and we promise him we would mail him a copy. Within two minutes, we were home. Another delightful Parisian day…
[Tip - save the eyeshades that many airlines hand out for free. They come in handy if, like us, you like to rest in the afternoon after walking all morning. Ear protectors also help to block out the ubiquitous street buzz in the afternoon and also at night. Paris never stops, it seems. We love to keep our windows open for the breezes and the scents wafting in from the patisseries, cafes and restaurants.]

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