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To Be Content in a Paris Pouch

This is Paris’ finest moment. The weather is absolutely glorious having patiently waited many moons to take a taste of the sweet warm breezes. They have arrived. Men are showing off their legs and women are wearing their breasts. This is our short reprieve from what can be depressing gray Paris skies — the ones that inadvertently shed a cool blue translucent light so unmistakably characteristic of Paris and like no other city on the planet.

With regret, the airport shuttle shuffles me off tomorrow morning at the wee hour of six to head to a sweltering New York City in quest for an apartment for my daughter in which to call her own…and pay a mortgage instead of exorbitant rent. The “shoe is on the other foot,” as they say, acting as client to a rea

l estate agent who only has six days to come up with the perfect New York “pied-à-terre.” Funny how they have adopted the French term to describe a “foothold”…but doesn’t that make it so much more chic?

With weather like this, everyone is vying for the tables on the “terrasse” in spite of the cigarette smoke that is now on the sidewalks, so we followed our noses to the Canal Saint Martin to gaze upon the still waters and take a quay- side table at “La Marine.”

Turning the corner from Place de la République onto rue du Faubourg du Temple, we came upon a landscape of white, startled by what could have been mistaken for snow at first glance.

The scene was so…Paris! For some unknown reason, a foam-making machine had spewed out ubiquitous enough bubbles to fill the street, making the path impassable to traffic. Cars were emerging covered in white foam. Music was playing loudly, people were dancing and singing and frolicking in the “chantilly.” Video cameras were trying to capture the event and everyone was knee-deep in the stuff.

The 75 Bus was stopped dead in its tracks and the driver just laughed. They tried to clear a path but one adventurous soul was doing somersaults in the suds just in front of the monstrous vehicle. Eventually it was on its way and so were we.

At La Marine we tolerated the smoke and watched as people crossed the tall bridges over the canal, taking their exercise on the steps, even though a level cross-street was adjacent…just for the thrill of the view of the canal. Lovers embraced on the cobblestone quays and friends lazily picnicked. The traffic was steady, of cars, trucks, motorcycles and bikes. We wished the motors would vanish like on weekends when they are forbidden to ride there, but I was jealous of the beautiful young driver in the bronze-colored convertible Smart car that whizzed past us with her long curly locks flying behind her.

The “Vélib” drivers (Paris’ public bikes) haven’t yet figured out that they are not pedestrians on wheels and reek havoc wherever they turn, ignoring the traffic lights, one-way streets and pedestrians on the sidewalks where they love to ride. One gentleman rider, however, was particularly astute, with his pup in tow, content to ride in a pouch.

It seemed to say it all. To be content in Paris…in the foam, at a table the “terrasse,” on a bike or in a pouch. No matter where you are, it’s Paris and there’s simply nothing else like it.

I already miss it and haven’t even left yet!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. The Shakespeare and Company Literary Festival “Real Lives: Exploring Memoirs and Biography” begins June 12th running through June 15th. Visit http://www.festivalandco.com/ for more details and enjoy every minute with some of the world’s most renowned authors.

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