Paris, December 2017

A young couple from China asked self to take their picture, and then returned the favor by taking one of self. So here’s that very, very rare occasion when she is actually IN the picture, rather than just TAKING a picture.

She’s wearing that same exact scarf right now, since she’s been feeling chilled all afternoon. Instead of a coat, she’s wearing a flannel nightgown — hello, pandemic self! She put on her nightgown hours ago, preparatory to spending the rest of the day reading in bed. She feels like she might be coming down with something, but she can’t blame it on Pfizer 1, received Saturday: she’s felt this way for weeks. All Pfizer 1 did was exacerbate those symptoms.

Now her left arm aches. That’s where she got her shot, but it hasn’t ached since the day of. A kind of phantom pain?

Around them, floodlights lit up the magnificent monuments. Vehicles passed by. Distinctive French sirens sounded in the distance. Visitors took selfies in front of the statues.

Armand heard snippets of conversation and bursts of laughter.

All the Devils Are Here, p. 347

Back to the Hotel George V, Paris, Room 815

Inspector Armand Gamache discourages his protégé Jean-Guy Beauvoir (married to Gamache’s daughter, and all conveniently in Paris at the time the events in the book unfold, que c’est magnifique!) from ordering a club sandwich.

LOL

LOL

LOL

What’s Not To Love?

All the Devils Are Here is great: It’s got Paris. It’s got angst. It’s got the son who thinks his father doesn’t love him. It’s got the deputy married to his boss’s daughter (How did that relationship come about? Self wants to know the backstory). It’s got loads of wit. Did self already say this? She’ll say again: It’s got Paris.

Now self knows that the Sixth Arrondissement — hello — is so much classier than the Seventh Arrondissement. A three-bedroom apartment in the Sixth will run you “several million euros.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

LOL Louise Penny!

Self loves a writer with a good sense of humor.

The following conversation made her laugh out loud:

Setting: a Parisian parfumerie

Reine-Marie, Inspector Armand Gamache’s wife, is trying to help her husband find a murderer. Since this is Paris, the men wear cologne. (Although, if you were a murderer, wouldn’t you prefer to skip this step. Just sayin’)

“May I help you, madame?” a young man asked.

“I’m trying to find a cologne. I smelled it recently but don’t know the name,” Reine-Marie said.

Young Man: “Not to worry. I love this sort of thing. Now, are you sure it was a man’s cologne and not a woman’s?”

Reine-Marie: “Absolutely.”

Young Man: “Bon. That helps . . . Can you describe it? Was it earthy? Did it smell like moss or bark? Lots of men’s fragrances do. They think it’s masculine.”

Reine-Marie: “No. It was lighter than that.”

Young Man: “Fruity?”

Reine-Marie: “Non.”

Young Man: “Citrusy?”

Reine-Marie: “Yes.”

Young Man: “Good.”

Reine-Marie: “Maybe a little woody.”

Young Man: “Okay.”

Reine-Marie: “With a kind of chemical-y smell?”

Young Man: “Are you asking me?”

Reine-Marie: “Telling?”

Young Man: “It seems we’re looking for a lemon tree made out of plastic. It’s a good thing you’re not trying to sell fragrances, madame.”

How To Look Like You Belong, in Hotel George V, Room 815, Paris

First, don’t ask for directions, just head on up to the room in question. And don’t fuss too much at the door to the suite. Just go right in.

A hotel maid will pass you in the hallway, she will glance at you but keep on walking. Expect the hotel manager in 10 minutes.

When the hotel manager lets himself into the suite (accompanied by “muscle” of course, this is a five-star Parisian hotel! Rooms cost upwards of $1000/night!), you will say, “Bonjour!” You will introduce yourself, you will say you’re a friend of whoever, and you will demand, DEMAND, the name of the manager, and then you will ask to see his ID.

Bearing, bearing is absolutely important.

Also, a silk scarf.

If it is autumn, then a beautiful autumn coat.

Just think “classic.” Be “cordial, but aloof.”

After all that, I’m sorry to say the manager will probably say something rude like “I would like to see what you’ve taken from the suite” and also mention the “small issue of” the bill.

You should say, “Of course!” And hand over your credit card.

And then you must keep smiling, even when they charge “three-thousand five-hundred euros. A night.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

All the Devils are Here

On p. 25, a character looks out her office window and can “see the Tour Eiffel in the distance.” She calls it

A marvel of French engineering. A monument to innovation and audacity. Something to be proud of.

————————————————————–

Paris, A Memory:

One night in December 2017, self made an appointment to see a doctor. It was around 8 p.m. Her hotel called a cab, and the cab waited for her. On the way back, she asked the driver to circle the Eiffel.

There is something about the Eiffel Tower at NIGHT. Lit up, you notice every single strut.

She was practically hanging out the window, and managed to squeeze out a dozen shots.

There is no stopping at the base of the tower: traffic has to keep circling. It is truly a hub of frenetic activity. All gratitude to the patient Parisian cab driver.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

From Grimdark to Louise Penny

Is quite a leap, self is sure dear blog readers will agree.

Just this morning, we were in bloody Valbeck, but now we are in oh-so-refined Paris, in a gracious building in the Seventh Arrondissement . . .

Hello, Book # 16 of the Inspector Armand Gamache series, All the Devils Are Here.

Post-dinner, self curls up in bed with two books. One of these will be her next read. She’s indecisive like that.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sunday Read: American Rose (Magazine of the American Rose Society)

Self decided to join the American Rose Society this year, and was so happy to receive their magazine.

The July/August issue has a very interesting article about Memorable Rose Gardens by Mike and Angelina Chute.

“All great gardens are dynamic, constantly changing over time . . . “

She’s never heard of any of the gardens. There’s one called Roseraie de L’Hay, “in the municipality of Val-de-Marne, five miles south of Paris, and only 30 minutes by train.” From the train station, it’s “a short bus ride to the little rose garden.”

There’s one in Rome, Il Roseto, “located on the slopes of the Aventine Hill, a short walk from the Colosseum. Il Roseto is built on a site once home to a Jewish cemetery. In memory of the cemetery and those that had been buried there, the garden’s paths are laid out in the shape of a menorah.”

There’s Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in Regent’s Park in northwest London (also home of the London Zoo) and there are “approximately 12,000 roses on display.”

And there is Austin Roses in Shropshire, “an agricultural area in England’s West Midlands.”

Next time she’s in Europe, she’ll make it a point to see some of these fabulous rose gardens.

In the meantime, there’s a pretty fabulous rose garden in Filoli, less than 10 minutes’ drive away. And here are a few pictures self took of her own roses:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

How To Be

Fabrizio’s looks save him over and over again. After the defeat of the French, he stumbles across the canteen woman who, despite having lost her cart and her horse, is still intent on protecting him.

Chapter Four, The Charterhous of Parma:

Canteen Woman (That’s all she ever goes by) to Fabrizio: “Get yourself away from this defeated army; find some way out . . . The first chance you get, buy yourself some civilian clothes. Once you’re eight or ten leagues away and you don’t see any more soldiers, take the mail-coach and rest up for a couple of weeks in some nice town where you can eat beefsteaks . . . As soon as you’ve got a gentleman’s clothes on your back, tear up your travel-permit . . . never say you were in battle, and don’t breathe a word about Bonaparte . . . When you want to go back to Paris, get yourself to Versailles first, then enter Paris from that side, walk right in as if you were out for a stroll. Sew your napoleons into your trousers. And above all, when you have to pay for something, don’t let anyone see more than what you need to pay. The saddest thing of all is that people are going to cheat you and gouge you out of all you have, and what will you do once you have no money, when you don’t even know how to take care of yourself?”

A. N. Wilson: Foreword to COLONEL CHABERT

There are three categories of men in the Paris of the 1830s who habitually robed themselves in black: the Priest, the Doctor, and the Lawyer.

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