Etiquette. It can be a big deal in France apparently. Much is written about what to do or avoid doing when dealing with the French such as always saying “Bonjour” when entering a shop-if you don’t you are thought to be rude. I recently read on a blog somewhere that you should never take wine as a gift when invited to someone’s home for dinner as the recipients will think that you think they don’t know enough about wine and need your help for the correct choice. I asked Maurice about this and he said it wasn’t true. It would only be true for a very formal dinner but for a dinner with friends bringing wine is fine.

So, we went to dinner at a friend’s-and brought a bottle of wine which was happily accepted-and Maurice brought up what I had read as I told above. The guy, who is a pretty formal person, agreed and said that you also shouldn’t take flowers because the wife is busy cooking dinner and then has to dig up a vase and take care of the flowers and it can be a hassle. I did once get a bouquet of flowers from three different people and have to admit he has a point as I could only find two vases. He said the proper thing to do,especially for a more formal affair, is to have flowers delievered a couple of hours before dinner. That had never occured to me.

We all got to talking about etiquette and a young man who was there told me that America has all sorts of etiquette rules for dinners. This was news to me. I told him that, except for being late to someone’s home for dinner, I didn’t think there were that many rules in the States. He informed me that he took a course in college and that I was wrong. For instance, if I had a senator to dinner where would I seat him? To my right. If I had two senators the one on my right wouldn’t be the one I liked the best but the one belonging to the State that had entered the union first. I’m assuming that if I ever host a dinner in Washington, DC or in the White House, I will have to remember these rules but I doubt if I will ever have this problem. I left that night thinking that this arrogant young man should learn that you don’t tell someone from another country what the etiquette is their own country. You shouldn’t tell someone what’s wrong with the meal you just served them either which has happened to me here in France.

This and That in Paris

A few unrelated photos taken around Paris.

This is a view from up above of Bercy which was once a wine storage center and now houses many shops and restaurants. Maurice and I often take the metro and come here to see a movie.

le Train Bleu, a famous restaurant at Gare de Lyon. It’s beautiful inside but I didn’t have time to go inside as I was catching the TGV to Provence.

I’ve been seeing these signs all over Paris. They tell you how long the walk is from where you stand. I guess they are promoting physical fitness.

I’m often taken with lights and their colorful reflections on walls.

The View

I got to go into a room on the 5th floor of the Brighton Hotel on Rue du Rivoli right across the street from the Tuleries Garden. They had a fantastic view.

A view towards Place de la Concorde where you can see the ferris wheel.

A look at one of the large ponds there and the beginning of the Louvre.

Here is the carrousel that I took a photo of not long ago at night, lit up in the snow. As you can see, the snow was all gone when I took this photo.

Tales of a Friend

I’ve been writing a lot about my friend who came to Paris to see us for ten days. I met Nancy when I first moved to a small community in the middle of nowhere in Texas with my now exhusband (could it be almost thirty years ago?!!!) and she was across the street. She had just moved in a few months before from California. We didn’t know it at the time but both of our marriages were over. One woman, not a very good friend, couldn’t believe that I was friends with her, that we had anything in common. Nancy didn’t look like other Texas women. She had her hair dyed white and it stuck out in stylish spikes. She often wore shorts, high top tennis shoes and a t-shirt with the words “Everlast” across the chest. She was very religious even though she didn’t look like it and that’s what first drew us together, along with our children being the same ages. When I started having marriage problems I would go across the street to her house and sit in an antique barber chair that she had in her bedroom and pour my heart out. She had a jacuzzi too and we would sit out there late at night and drink margaritas and talk about life. I didn’t hear as much about her marriage as she did mine but it was only a year or so later that she left her husband and returned to California. Somehow we kept our friendship going and so it has remained to this day.
On one trip to see me in Austin where I then lived, she introduced me to cosmopolitans. I was only used to an occasional glass of wine so I drank too much the first time and then slept through the movie that we went to next. Afterwards we went into a Pier I and I bought several things for my house that I never would have done had it not been for those cosmos and her influence. She has really good taste in clothing and decorating and I always trust her advice. I went to see her in LA many times and that was how I came to love the area. Should I win the lottery, I will buy a little place there on the beach, earthquakes and all.
I enjoyed her visit here to Paris and we both drank way to much. I don’t think Maurice was too happy with it but how often do you have a best friend come to visit from across the ocean? We only had one tiff. It turned out that Nancy is a very slow walker and you can’t hurry her across streets as the crossing light turns red. She refuses to go and waits for the next green light. In any case we were just entering a metro platform. The train was there and the doors were open. I said, “Hurry, Nancy!” She doesn’t do hurry so I stepped into the doorway just as the bell went off saying the doors were closing and held it open.
“Get on Nancy!”
She said, “No!”
“Get on!!!”
The doors closed on me. The train, luckily, won’t take off if someone is in the door. Then a lady inside grabbed my coat and tried to pull me in. Fortunately, the metro doors opened again and I stepped out and we waited for the next train. I was so mad. I couldn’t believe she had done that to me. I got over it but I never tried to hurry her again. In any case, friends like her don’t come along very often in a lifetime.

Her very stylish bracelet. She always inspires me to dress better than I do.

My Favorite Metro Stop

There are several really nice metro stops although most of them aren’t that exciting. The Arts et Metiers metro stop on line 11 is really worth going out of your way to visit. I like the science museum that is at the stop as well.

As you can see, it is totally covered in copper.

Teak wood chairs to sit on.

The ceiling over the tracks. It’s supposed to be like a giant engine I think.

Wake Up Jim!

A quick trip into Pere Lachase with my friend visiting from the States.

We first went to see the burial site of Jim Morrisson. I have no idea why people still want to visit his grave but, as you can see by all of the flowers, they do. A young man from Poland told me that he still lives in his music.

There is a barrier around his tomb because of all of the grafitti and people wanting a souvinier from the tomb. There used to be a full time guard too but I didn’t see one this time. There is a lot of grafitti on a nearby tree.

There has been a lot of rain this year so green moss is everywhere.

The ancient Jewish section of the cemetery has this long line of trees leading to an old tomb at the end.