I can’t walk two blocks in this city without stumbling into someone’s photo- op.
Paris hasn’t changed very much. Armed soldiers on guard at major monuments but no one seems to be paying much attention to them. Parisians go about their daily business and populate the cafes after work as they always have. The crowds seem younger but that’s probably just my aging perspective.
I’ve been looking at the ads in the windows of realty offices and while it’s hard to tell much about what’s really available, it appears that rents are just a little more than half as much as San Francisco apartments. I saw what looked like a lovely large studio on the Rue Jacob in the 6th for €1250 per month. If such places truly exist, I’ll seriously look at moving here. Always loved it, always felt at home here. Carried that a little too far yesterday when I gave some tourists very iffy directions to the Pompidou Center in my best French accent. They may have found it by now.
A few noticeable changes: there seems to be an alarming proliferation of bagel shops, and it appears Prius taxis now outnumber Mercedes. I haven’t found a connection yet, my investigation hindered by a preference for baguettes and the Metro, but I will continue independent observation and check in with David Lebovitz on the matter.
I take this picture every time I come to Paris. From the same spot on the Pont des Arts, different hours of the day, different times of the year. It always pleases me but always seems to lack a special quality of light that define the best images of Paris. Henri Cartier-Bresson has a version that’s really special. I’ll keep trying.
I hadn’t even realized how nervous I was until I woke up Saturday morning and didn’t want to get out of bed, then I remembered that for the past week my hands had been shaking when I tried to write, food had been an afterthought and I had totally forgotten how to speak French.
There wasn’t really any reason to be nervous. The photos were printed, framed and hung, invitations were out, posters were posted. My remarks were written and my accent honed. There was nothing left to do except show up. And there, I think is the fear. What if no one came?
Irrational of course, but there’s a part of me that thinks if I hadn’t worried no one would have come.
But they came, more than I expected, they enjoyed the show, bought some prints, and understood and applauded my speech. I talked about how different it was to come to a small town in France after living all my life in large US cities and what a pleasure it is to walk around the village and exchange bonjours with everyone. I talked about how special a place Maury is. I thanked the winemakers for sharing their knowledge and passion with me and thanked the mayor and others for welcoming me into their community. And that welcome was the essence of this day, my real initiation into the village of Maury.
I don’t have any photos of the event, it was the only thing I neglected, but here are a few images of the venue in morning sunlight, followed by a gallery of the exhibit.