Paris 2018 – Day 3
Up at what would be the crack of dawn back in New York, I start my day of course with coffee and some eggs (can’t have the croissants) in a bistro near my quaint Airbnb apartment. Life is good.
Then off to chase Hemingway’s trail. While in Paris he would borrow books from Sylvia Beach’s bookstore and subscription library, hanging out there and socializing. Shakespeare & Co. is still in operation, owned by her granddaughter, though it has moved location to the bank of the Seine.
The Metro drops me off a few hundred meters north, on the other bank. As I walk through Ile de la Cité, I unexpectedly pass the front of Notre Dame, with a large plaza in front offering a spectacular vista.
But the lines stretch the length of the aza, and I have limited time. So I leave Notre Dame to the soldiers and tourists, and make my way to Shakespeare & Co. I browse briefly but I don’t have any objective, and I should probably probably keep my hands free to meet my friend Patricia at the airport.
Off to Charles de Gaulle, I arrive just in time to meet her flight. And start waiting. I was a little worried about my clearing customs with all my political activism, bit have dual UK/US citizenship, and did not think I risked much more than an uncomfortable conversation at most. Patricia has no EU passport, and is much more prominent than me. She is still facing federal charges for scaling the Statue of Liberty to protest the separation of immigration children from their parents, and is certainly in the FBI’s databases.
So as planeload after planeload of passengers disembark with no Patricia, I start to become alarmed. No response on any electronic media, voice, text, or Messenger. My mind is filled with dread that the French have excluded her, which is the kind of behavior the US is renowned for with foreign dissidents. And who could I call – the American consulate is unlikely to be sympathetic.
But after an hour or so, to my great relief she appears. They simply lost her luggage. My fears of an international incident are averted, at least for now.
At this point we are both hungry, and I propose a return to La Closerie du Lilas, which had treated me so well the day before. We sit and talk among the greenery, dining on escargots with basil sauce and drink Bordeaux. She has the lamb shank, I have the beef tartare.
Good company, good food, good wine, beautiful setting, impeccable service, and we are in Paris. What is better than this?
On the way back to our rooms, we check out the statue in the center of La Place de la Republique, Patricia wades through the water to pose on the side with the spotlights changing colors red, white, and blue. She looks fantastic in all of them.