Alrighty. We’re winding the weekend down and I’m hoping this isn’t becoming a bore for you to read, but I’ve just got so much to say about so many of the little things that occurred so take my hand and come on along with me on this overcast Sunday morning in Paris…..
It was another “sleep late” day, but we were lucky to have gained an hour due to the time change. Nevertheless, our wonderfully entertaining dinner with Jean-Denis and Marie ended at a time when Bonaparte and I are usually in dreamland!
Once again, we missed breakfast at the hotel but after getting dressed, we headed over to Rue Buci to “Paul”—not to be confused with Chez Paul over on Place Dauphine, this is the boulangerie/patisserie chain throughout France and in the DC area of the States.
Paul, on Rue Buci is a great place for those “I missed breakfast” breakfasts!
Even though the rest of Paris was sleepy and the streets were empty, Rue Buci was still buzzing. I had a hot chocolate with a pain au chocolat and Bonaparte had some strong coffee and a croissant.
Look at that decadent hot chocolate. It was the bomb!!!
The weather continued with low gray clouds but the clarity and crispness of the air made for another perfect to walk around Paris and enjoy our role of being a couple of flaneurs (wanderers, loafers, dawdlers, strollers…)
Other wanderers were scattered about but it was pretty quiet. Isn’t that lighting amazing? Every once in a while the sun peeked out to tease us!
It was nice to just walk around and take random pics of anything that caught our eyes!
With dinner at Michel’s and Marie-Claude’s on the horizon, our goal for today was to walk over to Montparnasse and see the Atelier Andre Girard before it closed for good. It was decided to close the gallery, named in honor of Bonaparte’s maternal grandfather that Danièle operated. We also wanted to visit Danièle one last time before we left for home.
Sunday in Paris is a great day to just wander around aimlessly. Even in the later morning into early afternoon, the city is empty of the traffic that consumes the boulevards, avenues and narrow streets during the rest of the week. Most Parisians are home sleeping off their indulgences of the night before. Those who are out and about are doing so at a snail’s pace rather than rushing like a hare that’s about to be trapped, cooked and eaten for a comforting meal!
A lonely, quiet corner on a late Sunday morning in Paris. It doesn’t get much better than this!
Walking along Blvd. Raspail was easy and slow. We passed familiar and not-so-familiar shops and sights. I knew we were approaching the gallery when I spotted the little flower shop where we’ve purchased beautiful little bouquets and had pleasant conversation with the owner.
One of my favorite boulevards to walk along–always something interesting to see.
We stopped by the gallery and it was weird to see the usually bustling street so quiet. We usually have to circle the street a few times before finding a parking spot but today we were the only form of life.
The gallery will be closing for good soon.
Bonaparte was quite proud of himself as he remembered a shortcut to the cemetery. The cemetery was peacefully quiet except for the rustling of leaves that fell on the ground. The scent of the fallen leaves mixed with the dampness of the previous night brought back memories of autumns past. You know what I’m talking about don’t you? You know that particularly leafy smell—it doesn’t have that “new” spring scent and it doesn’t smell like the ground does after a good rainfall. It’s the scent of leaves that are starting to decay—but it isn’t a bad smell. I guess it’s an appropriate scent for a cemetery!
Montparnasse Cemetery is actually a nice place for some quiet time–although I think the spirits here are prepping for Halloween!
Anyway, as we got closer to Danièle’s grave, we noticed that people were there. We really, really just wanted to spend some time alone with her—just like we did at the apartment. But you know what? It was just very touching for Bonaparte to see that people, strangers in fact, were paying their respects to her. When the small but steady stream of people stopped, the three of us were finally together in solitude. We thanked Danièle for all her generosity and all the happy memories she gave us. I tidied up the flowers around the grave, we said our goodbyes and we were off again.
I’m telling you, Daniele had the most decorative grave in the yard! And fashionably added some color to the gray atmosphere!
We came across a little pop-up market where local artists were selling their paintings, sculptures, photographs and jewelry. And stopped to browse and admire.
We walked some more and a shop that really caught my eye was one that sold only gloves. Gloves! I had to take a picture—if only the shop had been opened on this Sunday, I would have gone in and come out with a fancy pair of Parisian gloves. Or maybe not since I have a habit of losing at least three pair of gloves each year!
Can you believe this? I want those black riding gloves with the red trim. How about you?
We were stopped by a lost couple who needed directions. Bonaparte was able to assist and the couple happily thanked him.
I took pictures of signs and buildings to remember this day.
I literally stumbled upon this little wheelbarrow. Actually, I almost FELL over it. Isn’t it cute?
When we passed by the Jardin du Luxembourg we decided to see an exhibit of Fragonard’s paintings. It’s so great to just stumble into an exhibit by an artist we both love..and Fragonard’s paintings are like little day dreams!
This was a GREAT exhibit!
Look how dreamy Fragonard’s paintings are!
Fragonard is one of my favorite painters–the paintings are so soft!
The later in the afternoon, the more the city became active. We headed back to the hotel to pack because we had a cab coming to pick us up at 6:00 AM the next day. And—to tell you the truth, I just wanted to be packed before we went out for dinner.
We had been invited to dinner at the home of Bonaparte’ brother-in-law. Michel. Michel had been divorced from Bonaparte’s sister, who had since passed away. Are you following? Marie-Claude, Michel’s wife and Michel have remained very close to Bonaparte’s family. We’ve had dinner with them before at Danièle’s and I’ve always liked them and this would be the first time for me to be invited into their home.
We were also lucky that Ann-Sophie, Michel and Marie-Claude’s daughter was driving from the suburb of Asnières into Paris to offer us door-to-door service.
Did you ever go to someone’s home and from the moment you entered through the threshold of the door, you just knew you were going to have a great time? Yeah! That’s how it was at Michel and Marie-Claude’s home. The vibe was just so intensely welcoming and happy! And we were more than pleasantly surprised to see Bonaparte’s nephew Nicolas, his wife and their children. We were greeted with champagne and lively conversation. We were also greeted by Bonaparte’s other nephew Jean and his great sense of humor
Their home was a French dream. It was magnificent but not cold nor was it austere. The furnishings were beautiful and comfortable. Old and new. Lots of artwork on the walls. A large farm table in the dining room. Plopable comfy sofas in the living room. An old curved stairway leading upstairs. A sunroom to the back. A library chock-full of classic books on the side of the living room. Large windows let in the sunshine during the day and the streetlights from outside at night.
Marie-Claude is my new favorite hostess. She was so relaxed and not fussy at all and was constantly moving—making sure the kids had enough toys while the adults enjoyed pre-dinner conversation. And the dinner. Ohhhhhhhhhh. We started off with a fish mousse that I could have had seven helpings of. The main course was bœuf bourguignon—and holy shit—let me tell you something. It was the best I’ve ever had—even Bonaparte had to admit it. I have no idea what recipe Marie-Claude has, but I wish my own bourguignon was as good as hers—and mine is good but nowhere near hers! I wanted to lick the plate then head into her kitchen to lick the pans that she used!
Dessert was a delicious apple crumble that Ann-Sophie made—she’s obviously inherited her mother’s talent for culinary delights and after some coffee and tea and more conversation, it was late enough to head back to the hotel for a few hours’ sleep before flying back home…
Early Monday morning. It was not yet daylight as we drove out of Paris to the airport. Saying goodbye to Paris is always hard—but this time it was harder because it wasn’t saying goodbye to the city—it was a final goodbye to Danièle.
One last picture before leaving. Early morning darkness!
Paris will be different without her. Our trips won’t be the same—the same for sure. And in the future we’ll be seeing Paris through a different window—and that’s cool and wonderful because we are left with the greatest and best and most fun memories of one of the Paris’s brightest lights!
And she even watched over us when we arrived at the airport—I swear she winked. Oh yes. She did!
Can you believe it? This French gossip magazine had her on the cover–and I swear she laughed and winked at us. I think she was playing a joke!
Music today is from Bonaparte’s nephew Jean Wellers in an homage to Stephane Wrembel. Bistrot fada a Cavaliere.. Nice guitar playing!
Here’s Jean Wellers! Enjoy! XOXOXO!