Mea culpa

So we haven’t written anything on our blog since we came back. We’ll start it up again in mid-December when we are back in Paris.

Pause

We totally neglected the blog and are back home. But … we will get all the exciting times into it one of these days.

Now or Never

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The Secret of France

Take the day that comes. If you try to force your will on it, it will fall apart!

 

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A long narrative follows but we think it’s worth the read.

 

We woke with an agenda.  Four friends were coming for dinner, a combination of French and French speaking Americans.  Two live here, the other 2 visitors from the U.S.

Late morning we discovered we’d lost internet connection.  Not unusual and usually short-lived.  Not this time. We tried all the usual: unplugging, replugging, shutting down, cursing Numbericable.  Nothing worked. Twenty four  hours without Internet and though not life threatening, we discovered how life shaping it is.

 

We called Laura (our propriataire) in Narbonne. She would get in touch with Numericable and call us back when she had the technician on the line.

Within minutes our doorbell rang. It was the guardienne of the building with a package from Amazon. Next to her was a young man, motorcycle helmet in one hand and a computer in the other. We’ll call him Pierre as we are under a confidentiality agreement.

 

Speaking very good English Pierre introduced himself and said he was a  production manager scouting locations for a commercial for a product to be sold in China. They need a first story window. They will be shooting most of the film in the fancier apartment on the 4th floor, they needed a more accessible 1st story window for a shot from outside.  That’s us! They need to setup this week and shoot next week. Perfect! Timing just right. A week later and we wouldn’t be here and we’d miss the fun.


A simple story which Pierre shows us on his computer. The story of a man in pursuit of a woman he has briefly seen in a window (our window) from across the canal. When he looks again, she is gone but has left a message on the window to find her.  And so the pursuit begins aided of course by his trusty GPS cell phone.


While Pierre is searching his computer for a copy of the location contract, Laura calls back. A three-way conversation ensues with the Numbericable technician (in Paris) talking to Laura (in Narbonne) in French, and Laura telling Renée (in Paris) in English to make the adjustments on the modem.

 

Nothing works, so an appointment is made for Thursday afternoon, 3 days hence, hardly an acceptable hiatus. But if we want to take the modem to the Numericable store at Place Nation they will exchange it today. 

We long to tell Pierre, who has been a location manager for some time here and in Hollywood, about the screen play we’re writing, La Dame qui est Tombé de son Velo.

But first things first. There’s not enough time to get into it as we need to  run to Place Nation, exchange the modem and then Renée has a lot to do for dinner: white asparagus, with slivers of prosciutto and a home made citron compote, duck confit on a bed of lentils, puree of potatoes and topanimbour (Jerusalem artichokes) several cheeses, stewed ginger prunes with armagnac coupled with  a superb dessert wine, “Rivesaltes Tuilé” 1995, Domaine Cazes. A treasure discovered on a tasting boat on the Seine the other day. The black Grenache grapes stayed in oak for 12 years and developed a rich dark chocolate color. As Bernard Cazes told E, “You must have a desert the same color as the wine.” And so we did.

Pierre will be in touch with us. We rush to Place Nation. Find Numericable at #16, lights not on, door closed, on the window the sign:

 

 Alors, not opened on Monday!

 

We have two choices: be pissed off that the Numericable technician didn’t tell Laura the store was closed today or say that’s the way the day is going!  It’s only a little over a kilometer from Place Nation to our apartment, the day beautiful and sunny, so we walk down Blvd. Diderot, come upon a sweet restaurant, tables outside, and decide to stop at Sogoosto for lunch.

 

A charming young woman brings a pot of fresh basil to the table. As we wish we may pick leaves to garnish our delicious entrees, or house-made pasta.

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The conversation turned to puppies and our friends Philip and Monica.  They are glass artists of magnificent pieces, stunning in their virtuosity and beauty. 

 

 

 

 

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While madly preparing for an exhibition of their work in the museum in Geneva, their beloved Bernie, a bunny-soft beagle, has given birth to 5 puppies

We’ve been thinking about a companion for our dog Ella B, profoundly missed, who has been home with Dena.

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So we stop at the studio where Philip and Monica are busy blowing glass, drinking espresso and playing with the puppies.  

 

Philip rolling the red hot molten glass, the eerie light of the blast furnace behind him.

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 Then blowing

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And Monica putting them all together

 

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The scale of the work which comes out of the studio is staggering.  Particularly so when you see the care, time and patience that goes into each exquisite piece.

 

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We decide we will work out a scenario to get one of the puppies to California.

 

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Home to prepare dinner, friends over good conversation, great food, delicious wines and the evening ends just shy of 1 AM.

 

We go to bed knowing we have to get up early as E has an appointment with the oncologist at Hospital Pompidou.  This whole narrative just about sums up our life in Paris; a mixture of theatre and well … life.

 

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More about Spring

mepink-flowers.jpg  eugene-white-flowers.jpg pink-tree-buds.jpgWith reports of vicious winds and rain at home, the Jardin des Plante and we bloom and swoon in Spring’s caress (the same in French but with the feminizing e at the end.)

Seen on the Seine ….

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Paris … The Morning After

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Cinderella – the shoe fits

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For the 2 nasty stepsisters, the shoe didn’t fit.  For us it did.

We saw a magnificent production of Cendrillon (Cinderella) by Massenet at the Opera Comique the other night.  As wonderful a performance as we’ve ever seen of an opera anywhere. The theatre is a jewel:  Parisian, intimate, perfectly 19th Century, and elegant.

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The Opera Comique is in a building constructed in 1898 in a small square in the 2nd arrondissment.

A little history: The company originated in 1714. In 1840, the Opéra Comique company settled in the second Salle Favart (named for the librettist – then considered more important than the composer - Charles-Simon Favart who wrote for the Opera for forty years).

The 1500 seat second Salle Favart, built on the site of the first theatre, was destroyed by fire in 1838, only to be destroyed by another fire on 25 May 1887. Its third incarnation was inaugurated on 7 December 1898.

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 The Opéra Comique staged the first performances of such important French works as Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust (1846), Thomas’ Mignon (1866), and Bizet’s Carmen (1875). It premiered new pieces of  Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann (1881); Delibes’ Lakmé (1883); Massenet’s Manon (1884), Esclarmonde (1889), and Werther (French premiere in 1893); and Charpentier’s Louise (1900).

  Our inauguration to the Opera Comique was Cendrillon.

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The costumes were gloriously outlandish, but perfect for each role, the voices exquisite, the acting playful and lively, the orchestra never once running over the singers. The old story was made fresh both by the performers and a rapt audience.

We shared the box with a French gentleman, an opera lover for over 50 years.  He was pleased that we had so enjoyed the performance and suggested (in appropriately slow and well articulated French), that we should not miss the next production which was  the Carl Marie von Weber opera, Le Freischütz, an opera we did not know.

 

 le-freischutz.jpgLe Freischütz,  (the Hector Berlioz version)  was to be performed the second week in April. We were looking for seats not only for ourselves, but for a friend who was coming to Paris in April. Opera Comique would be the perfect taste of Paris. Curiously, many who live in Paris have not been there.

We came home and immediately went online to get tickets for the next production. Alas, no tickets for any performance. A call to the box office the next morning and E’s usual, “pardon me I don’t speak French” speech (in French) got him nowhere.  The respondent spoke no English.

Later that night E sent an email to Opera Comique extolling the performance of Cendrillon and explaining he couldn’t get seats to Le Freischütz, which we fervently wanted to see and requesting information for next year’s abonnés (series tickets).

The next day Sonja called from Opera Comique. She spoke English as she had spent a year at William and Mary College in Virginia. A long conversation  about Cendrillon, Opera Comique and Paris and Sonja found three seats in a center box right behind the orchestra.

Some believe things are written in the stars, some believe we make our karma.  It feels as if Paris has opened her heart to us.

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Dinner at the Collets

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CONTEMPLATING THE ANCIENTS

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Max Ernst at the Brücke Museum, Berlin