I’ll Be Seine Ya!

…Soon now, all of you, I hope!🎄🎄🎄
  Today was our last taste of the vie Parisienne. We started at the Marché de Noel d’Alsace at Gare de l’Est, then walked all the way down Boulevard Sebastopol to Place St. Michel, and had lunch  at Au Bon Couscous, Rue Xavier Privias.  Lamb and merguez, and we told them we had eaten there every time we’ve been in Paris for the last half-century,( just like we’ve been telling them every time for the last half century.)
There was of course a Marché  de Noel at St Michel, too, and we bought some beautiful Russian lacquer boxes.  And the esoteric bookstore we always used to visit was still there, just round the corner, so…more Tarot decks. 
We took a look at Notre Dame, which looks ok from the front but is still a mess. Covered with scaffolding everywhere else.  The fire melted the lead  roof and I reckon the mullioning of the stained  glass , so they had to do a big cleanup job before they could even get to the restoration.  But Macron  has promised there will be a mass there in April 2024, no matter what stage the restorations have reached.
Then we walked back along the Seine and up Avenue de L’Opera to Galeries Lafayette because Skip wanted more long scarves like he had bought at GaLaFa in Rouen.  The Paris store was jammed, it was Bloomingdale’s on steroids.  Worth it though,  to see the gorgeous Christmas decos under the stained glass ceiling dome in the middle of the store. 
History mystery: 1871 was arguably the nadir of French history.  They had started a war with Prussia and promptly lost it, in about 3 days. Emperor Napoleon III abdicated.  The government fled to Versailles. The Prussians laid siege to Paris , there was no food—people ate their pets, the  animals in the zoo, and finally rats.  The Paris  Communards revolted and took over the city March-May and there was street fighting throughout Paris until the Commies were all eventually lined up and shot. 
The first lines of Hugo’s poem about 1871 (in translation ,obvs):
“That  dreadful year I gird me to relate
But  now bent o’er my desk I hesitate.
Shall I go further on, or shall I stay;
O France! o grief, to see a star decay!
I feel the flush of rueful shame arise:
Plagues heaped on plagues, and woes on agonies.
Still must I on, for truth and  history:
The Age stands at the bar! The witness- I.”
(I read somewhere that Lenin’s body in his mausoleum in Red Square is resting on a scrap of a red Paris  Communard flag— and also that one of their blood-red flags, or a piece of one, or, well,  who knows maybe just a facsimile of one, was launched  into space aboard Sputnik.  Ya can’t blame ‘em for being sentimental about the Paris  Communards, pioneers, the very first in the long tradition of  failed attempts to establish Communism…🤪)
And yet: the next 3 decades of the 19th century in France are known as La Belle Époque! A time of luxury, elegance, plenty! Where’d they get the francs? 
It’s also when they built their huge colonial empire, maybe that brought in wealth, but it also musta cost money.  Just wondering how they so quickly went from L’Année Terrible  of 1871, to the Gay Paree of the Belle Époque?  Talk amongst yourselves…
10:44 PM:
We took a boat ride on the Seine to see all the beautiful buildings illuminated.  Very cold, but we sat on top of the boat anyway.    When we got back we were offered cups of the thickest most delicious  hot chocolate ever.  A beautiful coda to the visit.
And..c’est ça, mes amis!  We start traveling home at 5 AM tomorrow 😵‍💫 Thank you for your kind attention to my missives,( or for your benign neglect, as the case may be…)
À bientôt, Je  vous aime!


8 thoughts on “I’ll Be Seine Ya!

  1. And thanks again to Simon for posting these.
    I got home Tuesday and immediately had to start working: getting and decorating 2 trees, planning my party menu, shopping for the party…picked up my daughter at her bf’s house on Saturday. Office party Saturday night. Sunday I worked all day cooking and arranging ( and I woke at 4 AM) and also had to get lunch for my houseguests. What. A. SWOT! But the party Sunday night went well. Now on to our other big celebration: birthday lunch on my BMD’s 12/24 birthday. 😵‍💫

    Liked by 2 people

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