Thursday, May 28, 2015

What Did I Wear in Paris, You Ask?

I wrote this post before I wrote the post on Running Paris which appears before this -- partly because I felt, after writing my first paragraph here, that the topic needed expansion. I'm actually no longer very fussed at all about what I wear in Paris, and not at all about what we wear in the weeks we're lucky enough to spend in Bordeaux, although I don't want to stick out as an obvious tourist. I prefer to get as many opportunities as possible to chat with locals and practice my French, participate in neighbourhood life as much as I can, and this begins to happen when one's attire isn't making announcements about where one comes from. . .That post on Running elicited a lively conversation, which was so much fun for me, so rewarding, but I hope this might put the position I adopted there in a better context. 

Whether it's because I've run through its busy streets and visited some of its less polished corners, or whether it's because I've visited quite often, or whether it's because I'm lucky enough to know a few Parisians or observant enough to notice many more whose garb is really not so different from what I see at home . . . I'm not sure. I do know that while I don't want to stick out as a tourist anywhere I travel, some of our activities mark as as such immediately. Walking around during the daytime with one's husband? or sister? And speaking English to one another? Even when I'm out on my own for a few hours, and even though my French is not bad, the fact that I approach someone with my North American open smile is often a dead giveaway, and the switch to English is made automatically (I keep the conversation in French anyway, pleading my need to practise). Besides, much of the fuss that's made about dressing for Paris involves often unexamined issues of class that I find, well,irritating at the very least.  Plus, hey, it's a very cosmopolitan city, and its residents are comfortable with much more diversity than often gets imagined in those "What Can I Wear in Paris" scenarios.

But that's not to say that I don't want to look presentable, nor that I don't enjoy trying to channel a certain amount of that Parisian "je ne sais quoi." As much of it as one can fit into a carry-on case, at least. I think I did okay this visit, especially considering that the contents included a pair of running shoes, two short-sleeved technical tops, a long-sleeved ditto, a running bra, two pairs of shorts, two pairs of socks, AND my running belt with its two plastic water bottles! I could have managed with one of each, and generally do when I travel with Paul, 

We had a few days with temperatures in the mid to high 20s (Celsius, bien sûr), and I was very comfortable in this long silk skirt (light, sheer silk layer over a cotton lining -- so pleased to find it in Rome last year as so many silk skirts have their ventilation properties ruined by a polyester lining). The JCrew linen sweater was perfect with it -- cool enough, but arm-covering to ward against sunburn. I was able to squeak two wearings out of the white top without having to wash it, and I didn't notice anyone looking aghast at me that second day . . .

I loved wearing my new Levis. A slimmer boyfriend in a really light wash (Rolling Fog, it's called), I loved this particular mix with them. The creamy scarf, the dove-grey merino "sweatshirt" (J Crew) and the nude flats (Vince).  Honestly, I could have worn this every day, happily.

 I was also really comfortable in this Vince dress which I snapped in the hotel mirror, in case I didn't get a shot during the day. I began the day with a scarf, which was generally enough to keep the chill off for that first hour, and then it would get tucked in my bag.
 and then I'd look like this, as photographed by my sister. The dress has a shirttail hem, which I really like. It's also got pockets, which doubles my love for it, is easy to wash (delicate cycle, hang to dry), and I think it looks okay with flats, as above. It's Vince, as are the shoes (I wore these most days, although my Birkenstock Gizehs also got lots of street time).
 The one wild-card piece I debated bringing was this great vest I picked up at Club Monaco a couple of weeks before I left. Tricky because it really had to be worn on the plane unless I wanted to find an iron as soon as I arrived. . . But I think it was worth the trouble because of how much it changes up and polishes a casual look. Like a blazer but without the bulk or the warmth. And it's a colour I didn't know I could wear, but which I often am drawn to, that whole mustard to ochre range seeming so sophisticated to me. . . (The friendly server at Le Temps de Cerises in the Marais offered to take this photo for us -- mille mercis)
 Here's a shot I took in the Vancouver apartment before we left -- you get a better idea of length and drape and the cool moto-like opening.
I don't have photos of me in my trenchcoat. It would have been great to have worn the day it began pouring -- and I do mean pouring, the kind of rain that made Noah very nervous -- but, of course, it was in the hotel closet that day. I think I wore it one evening for dinner because it did cool down at night, but it could easily have stayed home.

Instead, if the day was a bit cool, I wore my blazer and carried a tiny just-in-case umbrella in my bag. This was really not enough the day that it poured, but for a few hours' discomfort, I managed alright. I should say that I really dislike this photo for the goofy expression of my face and for the possibility it suggests that I need to throw out all my skinny jeans or, at least, only wear them with boots. But I'm trying to stop doing that thing, that self/selfie-hating thing. In fact, my sister and I resolved not to do that, so when she sent me this photo from her camera, I tried just to think, "Oh good, there's a photo of my blazer-and-skinny-jeans-and-scarf-tied-in-that-new-way, all in Père Lachaise Cemetery." So here it is. btw, in this, and in all the photos, you can also see that my hair is perhaps my biggest impediment to appearing Parisian. Observant though I generally am, I don't often see anything comparable on Paris streets. Mind you, I don't see too much of curls like mine back home either. Everyone's so damn handy with a straightening iron or their curls are more neatly articulated. . .

At any rate, that gives you a pretty good idea of What I Wore in Paris, although somehow I didn't get any shots of my denim midi skirt (by Mother, so perfectly faded, and with an unfinished hem -- I love it! but it's not particularly comme il faut for Paris wear, perhaps).

And then my sister sent me this, taken at night as we walked along Rue Soufflot, I think, towards Blvd. St. Michel -- she was trying to catch the twinkling Eiffel Tower, but of course the camera was overwhelmed by all the lights between us and The Iron Lady. The denim-wearing lady's back, though, that she got. . .


Didn't end up wearing two white t-shirts, nor white tank, nor white-and-navy striped T. Had another linen sweater, taupe, that I did wear but isn't shown here. Ditto a grey T with a gold metallic elephant design and my long-ish Vince tissue-weight merino pullover which was great for layering on coolish days that warmed up. Silk pyjama bottoms and a long black T for hotel-room lounging modesty. Left the runners behind (an old pair, brought with abandonment in mind), so there was room for my few purchases. I could easily have done a second week, even without laundry facilities. And with laundry? Easily a month. For different versions of a Paris-suitable wardrobe that fits in a carry-on, check out Sue at Une Femme -- she's the champion, and she's leaving for Paris this week. Leslie at Hostess of a Humble Bungalow just got back from a very well-planned first visit to Paris, and she looked very smart there in a black-and-white palette. And Susan at High Heels in the Wilderness put together a simple, chic, very packable travel wardrobe for a trip in France she's just finishing up and which included a week in Paris. Both Sue and Leslie do a more polished Paris What I Wore than I do -- what about you? Where would your comfort zone be? Or do you think it's all very Tempest in a Teapost? Mountain/Molehill? (As I note above, I wrote this before I posted my piece on running in Paris, where the comments indicate that some of you, especially Brits or other europeans, feel the latter.)


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Sisters Run Paris!

I'm planning to post later about the differences between the Paris I've been visiting with my husband for years and the Paris I shared with my sister earlier this month. I might also write a short post about the gap between what I hoped to see and do with Rachel and what we actually managed -- the ambitious list I'd imagined, with the help of Pinterest, got whittled drastically in the face of reality. . .

And those two posts could be linked: one of the big differences between Paul's and my Paris and the Paris my sister and I shared gave us a way to compensate for those list items that had to be erased. Because although Paul and I generally manage a run or two when we're in Paris, we would never pull off four runs in a short week (and a short week that included some serious jet lag!).  Even more importantly, we would never be out the door and running before 7 a.m. Rachel and I, both early risers, managed to do that, and it's surprising what you can see when the streets are relatively empty, but the world's already awake and light.
My sister at the Comédie Française -- this plaza is a great place to catch some very talented busking, but it gets very busy later in the day. We were returning from a run up to Boulevard Hausmann where I showed her the Printemps windows we'd missed the day before. Without our morning run, there wouldn't have been time to make a second trip.

Running is not for everyone, I do get that, but if you're a runner who hasn't yet bothered to bring your gear on an urban holiday, I urge you to consider it. Yes, it's probably safest if you have a running partner as I did. And yes, you should probably plan your run with a nod to safety -- I know Paris fairly well, so I felt reasonably confident of areas we'd be running through. But if your time in a new city is limited, there's really no better way to get a sense of it than by getting your feet on the streets, and walking just doesn't let you cover as much ground. (Don't worry! We walked plenty as well.)

If you're not a runner, I think this post might have something to offer as well. To get a wider, more comprehensive view of the city than you might manage through a combination of Metro and walking, you could take a Batobus tour, hop on any of a number of city Bus routes that get you to some of the outer arrondissements, or even hire a guide for a drive around Paris (as my sister did on her earlier 2-day visit with her husband a couple of years ago). As well, I think some of what running taught me about Paris might provide a new perspective to non-runners. Most notably, running through the city in my technical gear further loosened our sense of what should be worn in Paris. This is a very personal sense, part of a bigger picture of my ongoing relationship with the city, but I'll try to see if I can express the freedom I've gained by Running in Paris.

We ran four mornings, 8-11 kilometres except for the morning I needed to "sleep in" and we only had time for a 5k. Out the hotel door before 7 that first morning, we were able to sit down to breakfast an hour and a half later having already broadened Rachel's view of Paris. I've detailed much of that run already in this post. If you look at one of the pictures there, you'll notice that besides introducing the delightfully cloistered Parc du Bercy, the gracefully swooping Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir, and the mammoth and controversial Mitterand Library (with its own forest!), our run also took us past the tents that Paris prefers to keep out of tourist view, tents that shelter hundreds of homeless, many of those probably sans papiers.  We saw two of these "tent cities," and while they clearly point to social and economic and political problems, we were impressed by the order and overall cleanliness -- and the tolerance with which they are apparently being met, at least currently.
Our morning runs always made us aware of Paris' indigent population. Somehow, this attention to class distances me somewhat from all those imperatives about what to wear in Paris. I still love to drool at all the windows, and I admire the way many women dress, especially in certain arrondissements, but I try to ward off insecurity and envy by maintaining a broader perspective.

I also noticed, on this first morning's run, that facilities for runners have improved since Paul and I last ran the Seine. There are more places to get a drink of water as well as more toilets that appear safe and clean. There's also a fabulous park with all kinds of machines to work out on. And, of course, down near the Passerelle there's the Josephine Baker swimming-pool-in-a-barge or barge-that-is-a-swimming-pool with folks doing laps. My (admittedly limited) experience with the city over the past ten years (and two visits 25 and 26 years ago) suggests that more and more Parisians are exercising deliberately in a variety of ways. Certainly, we saw more runners than ever before, and whereas we used to notice the oddest of running gear, now most runners are indistinguishable from any we'd see on the Stanley Park Sea Wall at home.
Running the Promenade Plantée in the early morning -- what a treat!

Nude male Art Deco figures on the gorgeous Police building in the 12th, as seen from La Promenade Planté (also known as La Coulée Verte).

So time now to speak of my own running gear. I gritted my teeth and posted that top photo (taken by my sister at the Fontaine des Medicis, Luxembourg Gardens) for a few reasons:
First, I'm trying to accept my healthy appearance, even when I'm not made up, and when I'm dressed functionally rather than to best flatter my looks. . .
Second, I think it's notable that we did this run later than our others, a short run (because I didn't get up in time for a longer one) that took us right up Boulevard St. Michel as Parisians were starting to head to work. The sidewalks weren't overly busy yet, but there were many folks who saw us And you know what? They coped. We coped. Of course. Because Paris is a very cosmopolitan city, and they've seen all kinds of dress and all kinds of activity, and although I generally like to dress to fit in, more or less, there's a certain release in recognizing that. I never had this Click of realization when running with Paul because he dislikes running around and between people on sidewalks, so our Paris runs have generally been along the Seine.
Third, It's pretty obvious that running requires a dedicated wardrobe. Nothing I'm wearing here could do double duty (in fact, I'd never be caught with a shirt so yellow ever, except that I earned that one in my marathon. So when I wear it, I have immunity and impunity from any concerns about what flatters.) Given the dedicated running wardrobe, especially given the limitation to carry-on luggage, how can a runner manage to pack what's needed? Well, with our original thought of running every day, my sister planned to double up her gear so she could rinse out one set and have one dry, ready to go. I've never done this when travelling with Paul, but I didn't want to be "the smelly one" of the two sisters. Bad enough being the oldest. . . .
 So I sucked it up and made room in my carry-on for a pair of running shoes (an old pair I planned to discard in Paris); two short-sleeved technical tops; a long-sleeved ditto; a running bra (my sister brought two of these -- mine is merino, and it really deters stink -- she agreed that it was virtually odor-free after the fourth run); two pairs of shorts; two pairs of socks;  AND my running belt with its two plastic water bottles! I've always grumbled when running Paris with Paul that it's so hard to find a water fountain, but I've never wanted to use precious suitcase space for the hydration gear. In fact, the bottles, empty, weigh very little although they don't compress -- and I was so grateful to have them on the warm-already mornings. And surprisingly, all that gear condensed itself co-operatively into my case, with the bonus knowledge that I had the to-be-discarded shoes' space for a few purchases.

Honestly, I'm not at all sure that I've conveyed much of what I wanted to here. But to sum up, beyond the efficiencies running offers to quickly learn the geography of a new city, my sister's and my running in Paris affirmed our sense of ourselves as strong, and as doing something that makes us feel happy and healthy. Useful in a new city where one's sense of wonder can be mixed with a big dose of intimidation. That strong sense of self, combined with an expanded awareness of the city's realities (particularly its class/race issues and potential social problems, but also its truly cosmopolitan ability to accept diversity, even eccentricity) lent a welcome insouciance to the rest of our day. I think we packed well and acquitted ourselves sartorially on the Paris streets -- next post will plead my case with photos -- but the importance of What We Wore slipped below that of What We Did, and I think that is a worthwhile result of The Sisters Running Paris! And despite the limitations of carry-on space, a runner can easily fit her gear alongside a week's wardrobe.

If you're not a runner, there are so many other ways you can claim your own place in the city: taking a focused tour (on chocolates or wine or markets or whatever tickles your fancy) or course (Madame Là-Bas fulfilled a lifelong dream of studying at the Sorbonne, and did it post-retirement; my friend Alison's offering an Urban Sketching course in Paris this fall -- imagine the possibilities), seeking out a particular exhibition or sight that's important to you, ordering a meal bravely in French, on your own, as Hostess did recently, going to a concert,. The possibilities are endless. But make the City your own in some tiny way -- or make your own City of the many possible Paris's -- and you may find the (potentially intimidating) fuss over What to Wear in Paris fades into the background.

If you've persevered this long, perhaps you'll let me know if anything here resonated. Runner, non-runner, experienced Paris travellers, those who have never been, those who want to, and those who never would, I'd love to know what you think.

And if I've simply lost you, with my focus on running, next post will be a straight-up What I Wore in Paris. . . Beyond the Running Gear. . .

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Looking Back, Moving Forward, My Sunday Review

Since last Sunday's birthday post, my first full day back after a week in Paris with my sister, I've written what feels like quite a bit, yet feel I've scarcely shared a fraction of what I want to tell you about that trip and the ways it's helping me transition into retirement.

While we were still in Vancouver, I wrote a post that transitioned from Paris to the Pacific Northwest via our wildflowers.

I wrote one that celebrated the glory of my own garden here on the island, chaotic beauty that welcomed me home . . . and I still managed to include some Paris flowers, albeit artificial ones made from shirt cuff simulacra, decorating a shop window on St. Germain.

And I finally managed to write an all-Paris post in the form of a Five Things Friday meme.

I even managed, after months and months of neglect, to write a new post over at my reading blog, with recommendations of two books I enjoyed immensely.

But I've still got so much to say about the ways this last trip added to my understanding and appreciation and sheer enjoyment of Paris. Where we ate, for example, and ran, and how much we shopped, and what I thought most important to show my sister, and what had to get dropped from the wishlist and why and What I Wore and how the trip tweaked the way I move about the city and how it changed my perception of myself as traveller. Oh, it goes on and on, and although I've already written one of those posts and am working on a second, I despair of ever expressing all that I want to. Which, I guess, is a good problem to have -- I'll certainly never run out of material.

If you don't follow me on Instagram, you won't have seen this little video of the Printemps Department Store, all gussied up for its 150th anniversary, as seen on one of my morning runs with my sister. If you do follow me and have already seen it, well really, can one ever have too much sparkle?
Meanwhile, of course, my life here is proceeding apace and the Paris trip recedes somewhat in the flurry of retirement preparation. Friday's department meeting (our annual "retreat") included a very moving tribute made to me by a friend and colleague, a complete surprise that left me teary and, for a moment, speechless. Since then, I've been invited to be Macebearer at Convocation, so my last time in my robes will be particularly significant (and I hope I can get someone to snap a photo or two). And I've been adding to my lists, but also just sitting with a book or puttering in the garden. . . .

If you want to read more about recent trips to Paris, check out Hostess, who flew back the day after I did, or High Heels in the Wilderness, still in France touring about after a first visit to Paris. It's great fun to get those first impressions from different perspectives. Une Femme will be heading out next week -- she's a very experienced Paris traveller with all kinds of good advice, and she's promised to lay out her carry-on wardrobe for our perusal early next week.  Duchesse doesn't say too much about her travels through that City of Light, but she's been visiting it for decades with her francophone husband and her discerning eye. Recently she posted on what women really wear in Paris -- the range is so much broader than generally represented on lifestyle/fashion-y blogs. My friend Alison was there in March and posted sketches, photos, and words about her visit with her daughter in anticipation of teaching a sketching course in Paris this coming fall. Her visit to the Sennelier atelier for a workshop on mixing pigments is a special treat!

If any of you have recently posted on your visits to Paris and would like me to link to them, let me know in the comments below.

Stay tuned. . . more Paris coming your way soon. . . 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Five Things Friday, Paris Things...

1. I told you we went to the Marché aux Puces at Vanves, right? Well, this is one of the treasures I couldn't resist. Set me back all of 5 euros, and I suspect it'sits 60s-70s kitsch will amuse the grandkids (and its tinny, tuneless cranking may get it put back quickly on that high shelf...
2. At the same flea market, I was delighted to find a stack of handwritten dinner menus, dated from 1905 through to about 1915 or so. 7 or 8 courses, written out carefully in a beautiful hand, many on cards designed for that purpose, some of which had charming illustrations. 7 euros each, she said (en français, toute la conversation), but 2 for 12, 3 for 15....I picked up 5 for 20, and I suspect we were both equally pleased with the exchange. I think I'll frame a few together, and perhaps save one or two as little gifts.

3. You can still buy Menu cards, and if you need calligraphy supplies for lettering them, this shop on Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe has those as well. Mélodies Graphiques, it's called. A wonderful rabbit hole of a shop, a place to stock up on beautiful cards that are gifts in themselves (I gave my friend Alison one on her birthday last year and I noticed the other day that it's still on display over a year later).  If you're afraid you'd never emerge from such a tempting treasure box, you can savour the magical windows. (As well, if you're interested, you could read my much longer post centering around a purchase I made here several years ago)

4. One of the 900 buttons crafted by Henri Hamm (1871-1961)

And displayed thus (thanks to my sister for this great mise en abîme shot of me photographing for you)

as just a small part of the fabulous Déboutonner la Mode exposition at La Musée des Arts Décoratifs. A splendid, astonishing exhibit, well worth the visit.

5. And finally, just because Silliness is its own kind of virtue (No? Not so? Oh dear), I spotted this on a hand dryer in one of the washrooms I visited, and it made me giggle. Check Willy-Willy. At a mixed-gender washing station. The dangers of the idiom exemplified yet again.
Now I'm off to my last department meeting ever. Mixed feelings, yes, and that's okay.

Hope you enjoyed my Five Idiosyncratic Paris Things. Wishing you a Very Happy Friday!







Thursday, May 21, 2015

Gardening, Reading, Remembering Paris. . .

My garden is glorious, if I do say so myself, and what an absolutely splendid time to return from a week in Paris! Yes, I'm up and outside by 5 a.m., watching the sun come up, but the jet lag is turned into a reward by the way that early sunlight illuminates my garden.

Thus



 I must admit that after having to maintain a reasonably polished appearance in Paris, it's nice to kick back at home. I wandered up to a girlfriend's for tea, and changed out of my gardening clothes but obviously kept it very, very casual.
 Besides the gardening and the tea-drinking, I not only spent some time reading, but I also managed to write a post for my long-neglected reading blog. If you're interested in my brief reviews of two books I highly recommend, pop over here.

And, of course, throughout the day, images of Paris floated dreamily across my mind's screen. . . .
These windows, from Pablo on St. Germain. . . a garden of white flowers, made from folded cuffs, I believe, or facsimiles thereof. So clever, just another little detail to inspire and educate the eye, part of the myriad cumulative details that makes Paris an aesthetic delight.




Having left it behind for now, though, I will have to content myself with my garden on a Pacific Northwest island. The flowers here are fragrant and buzzing with bees, so I'm happily reconciled. . .

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Transitions...Back to My Garden, Soon.l.

Wending our way back to the island today, by car and then ferry and then our trusty commuter boat, and finally loading my luggage and our groceries onto our bikes for the last kilometre. A good way to counteract the magic of flight. The effects of jet lag are lessening: I managed to stay in bed 'til 4:30 this morning, although noon-ish, before my nap, and then again about 8p.m. I feel like this

Staircase on my Vancouver running route

Except without the flowers...

As for flowers, though, I'm excited to see what my garden's got up to in the last two weeks. For the last 6 or 7 years, we've been away for at least 3 weeks at this time of year, sometimes up to 6, and although those have been great trips, I always regret leaving the garden behind at such an important time in its cycle. I'm expecting great things from the roses and clematis.....

Meanwhile, here's a photo of a delightful garden blooming amidst busy traffic near the Right Bank side of Paris' Pont Louis-Philippe.

I love this cultivated effect of a wildflower meadow, achieved so lushly. Here in Vancouver, a city of wonderful gardens, I spotted a few wildflowers on my run Sunday morning in slightly more natural conditions...

Lupins...

And roses (Nootka roses, Rosa Nutkana, to use the slightly amusing Latin hort. term)

 

And the buttercups, above, of course.

following their lead, I'm heading home to bloom where I'm planted, for the next little while, at least. Do you enjoy this transition period from vacation back to regular life? I'll be posting some reflections on my trip over the next few days, mostly aimed at working through how the different perspective lets me understand differently the patterns I'm sometimes too close to see. Have you found that travel offers you that? Or are you usually just too caught up in jet lag, trip fatigue, and catching up with working life to be able to ponder much at all?

Of course, I'll also be posting some not-so-contemplative posts, sharing a bonne addresse or two and showing you my Flea Market finds, some eye candy windows, and so on. Stay tuned....meanwhile, please leave a comment if you have a minute. You know I love to hear from you.

 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Home Sweet Home and Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday was a long day, one of those ones that always amaze me, no matter how much I travel. Did I really squeeze, with my sister and our (luckily carry-on size) suitcases, into the tiny elevator of our hotel on L'Isle St. Louis just yesterday morning? Pull my case across its stone floor and across the cobblestones to the car airing outside? Watch the city roll by from a different perspective as we drove along the Seine, recognizing the walls that cloister Parc du Bercy, where we'd run a few days earlier. My sister's eyes lighting up with the pleasure of recognition as the huge, open 'books" of the Bibliothèque Nationale were framed in the car window. It always seems surreal to me that so few hours can separate such huge distances.

Check-in went well, and we were pleased not to be pressured to check our carry-on, which can happen. We found ample space to store them, hefted them up and down easily, had no wait at Customs, enjoyed a pleasant tea break at David's Tea in Toronto, and then the last leg of the trip, and we spilled our weary selves toward our husbands, waiting for us at the Arrivals Gate in Vancouver (where there seems to be some new, stunning First Nations Art I'd love to see again when I'm not as tired--I believe we have one of the most gorgeous airports anywhere, really!)

Take-out sushi, some attempts to tell Paul about the trip, and then Boom! Sleep hit, in my own bed, sublime, not to be taken for granted...

Of course, 4 was as long as I could sleep, and I'm just finished writing this at 5:15. I'm going to head out for a run now, to begin my new year....Today's my birthday, and we'll be celebrating over dim sum with our Vancouver families. Last birthday, this would have been all our kids; now one family is in Rome, another in Victoria. Again, a reminder not to take for granted. I will miss the others, but I know we will be thinking of each other, and I'll remember how blessed I am to have so many loved ones nearby.

So Happy Birthday to Me, and a great big thank you to the universe. And one more for my sister, a splendid traveling companion (she took the photo above, in front of a small square on Rue de Richilieu). And another for all of you who take the time to read and sometimes even leave your lovely comments. ...now I'd better run. I'm not getting any younger!

 

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