October 3, 2014 7:30 A.M., Paris, France.
So I begin to write at Oh-Seven-Thirty. That is not to say what hour it will be when I finish and finally file the final file, or version, of this little diary entry, number four in a continuing series of texts from Paris. No. Can’t tell you that, not yet. But I begin this Friday morning, my third full day in Paris, from my having arrived in the early afternoon of Tuesday. Three days ago. How time is flying.
I finally slept most of a real night, last night, and am, I hope, more or less adjusted to the new day and night schedule here, nine hours ahead of my own long lost California. The famous, or notorious, “jet-lag” is now caught up. I hope. Trust. Believe. I cannot quite believe it is only ten-thirty last night, back home in the golden state where I was born and raised a puppy and an old dog. A very old dog. A very fat old dog. I sip on my coffee and hope to lose some of that weight while I am here, by eating sensible and lightly, and getting a bit of exercise walking around.
I actually woke up around four or five to the sound of what I thought at first were gunshots blasting away, but no sirens ever came, so it must have been some car or truck shattering the last vestiges of night, awakening the great city. Through my delicious window I can hear the first whispers of morning traffic. Our street – Richelieu – is a rather busy one, as these tiny old streets go, but my window does not face the street. Rather, I look out upon the inner courtyard of two or three neighboring buildings, and the whisper and rush of traffic noise floats over the rooftops and settles down into my open window.
Where was I, oh yes, I woke up today around four or five and thought I heard gunshots but no. Went back to sleep and slept until about half an hour ago, then lay in bed, thinking about getting up until just a few minutes ago, when I actually arose, folded up my little sofa/bed, and made myself some coffee. I have a home, now, here, and it is quite wonderful, with towels and sheets and dishes and pots and pans and glasses and coffee cups and even some food left over (I check all the dates carefully, and find them still fresh) from previous vacation renters.
Plus the few supplies I bought my first evening here at the m.prix market over on the avenue Opera. That’s the nearest big street, one that was blasted through the old medieval neighborhood in the 1870s or 1880s, sometime, I should go online and google it yes there it is: “created from 1864 to 1879 as part of Haussmann’s renovation of Paris.” Okay. Now you know.
Here. This is what the streets were like before the big one came and smashed it all to modern hell excuse me I mean modern utopia. Modern industrial utopia. I am staying over near the Theatre Francais, halfway down the Rue de Richelieu, almost where the word “de” sits on this little map. The building (where I rent my room on the fifth floor) is quite old. There is a plaque on the wall on the street that says “Le peintre Pierre Mignard, né à Troyes en 1612, est mort dans cette maison le 30 mai 1695.”
That is, the painter Pierre Mignard, born at Troyes in 1612, died in this house on the 30th of May, 1695. I am certain he did not have my modern kitchenette or toilet. Those features, along with big boulevards, only came with the modern industrial utopia.
Nevertheless, in his day, and for a hundred, nay two hundred years afterwards, this street was quite a fashionable address. Sedan chairs and carriages were always bumping into each other.
Yesterday was quite mellow. I finally got out the front door sometime after twelve, I think, having stayed up most of the night and only sleeping from five to ten or so. Thank goodness that pattern is mostly disolved, now, having refused to take a nap yesterday – well, except for some brief dozing moments while I sat outside the louvre where all the people sit near the fountain. I moved over to the cement benches that are built into the palace wall and after noting there was no pigeon shit, allowed myself to cat nap briefly while the sun sank and the museum moved toward closing hour.
I spent two or three hours inside and then bought a sandwich and chips and iced tea for fifteen dollars. Damn. Museum Cafe Prices. And that was the cheap place!
But it helped to eat and I did not want to go home, not yet.
I looked at French paintings. Gericault and Delacroix and Courbet and some Monet and Degas etc. Then that lovely much older one where one naked sister is pinching her other naked sister’s breast nipple, which is to say, she has milk and has the king’s baby, too.
This one, I mean:
I had to eat after that. You understand.
Then go outside and sit in the sun.
A lovely day.
Now let’s see what today may promise. More of the Louvre, I hope.