23 May, 2010, Paris, France
France again. Arrived yesterday, on a short early flight from Manchester, as if in a dream. Paris seemed surreal. Dropped our bags in the cozy, yet utilitarian “Hotel Picard” near Republique, right across from the old Temple square. Wandered into the Marais in the weekend heat, stirred awake by rush and bustle. Paris is a marketplace of savory delights this afternoon. Lots of people in the city. While charming streets and a view of Notre-Dame from Ile St. Louis elevated the spirit, there is a noticeably dulled tone to my mood and reaction to the city. Perhaps in conscious disharmony with all the overzealous tourists. Or, perhaps, as all of life these days, it feels like I’ve done it before. There is an eerie sense of déja vu. An anhedonic pall hangs over my wanderings. Still, the courtyard leading to the pyramid of the Louvre reminds me of my first visit, and it’s all passably vivid.
Sat in a shady corner of the Tuileries before showing C the treasures at l’Orangerie. There was a special exhibit of work by Paul Klee, whose later oeuvre took on a kind of distinctive stylized primitivism I rather like. Klee’s last days were plagued by illness and Nazis, but it didn’t stem the creative flow. In 1939, the year before he died, he produced 1,200 works! If I had only a shadow of this productivity. My mind boggles at the sense of urgency that must have overtaken him.
Today was just aimless wandering — down to Bastille, the Jardin des Plantes, the river and Shakespeare & co., then Saint-Sulpice, the 7ieme and its chic stores and on to the Musee Rodin. Line was too damn long and we moved on. Area around Alexandre III and the Grand Palais was absolutely packed. City was just too busy this weekend. But sunny, warm and, as always, full of lovely little surprises…