Retour en France

Avenue Victor Hugo, in the posh 16th arrondissement
The posh 16th arrondissement, where we are NOT staying, but where we visited the Musée Marmottan Monet. No photos allowed inside the museum.

We made it to France with no major issues, although it was a bit touch and go with passport control in Reyjavik, Iceland, where the agent seemed to think we should have had a long-stay visa. I convinced him that the French consulate had told me I could travel without one for this trip, which is true, but the email about it was a bit ambiguously worded, so I wasn’t exactly positive. Finally, he let us pass.  I was tormented for the next five hours, before, during and immediately after the flight to Paris, thinking someone in Paris would not let us stay in France, only to find when we arrived in Paris, there was absolutely zero interest in us or our passports, with or without long-stay visas. We just got our bags and walked out to the taxi stand.  Woohoo! There went five hours of wasted stress. There must be a lesson in that.

Apartment in Montmartre
Apartment in Montmartre

Before heading off on our Le Boat adventure on the river Charente, we’re staying three nights in a tiny studio apartment in Montmartre. The front door is on the left of the landing just below rue des Trois Freres (at the top). And, yes, it does look a bit better in . . . er. . . low light. We are directly across the street from the cute little epicerie* that was in the movie Amelie:

L'Epicerie d'Amelie
L’Epicerie d’Amelie

Consequently, there are hordes of camera-bearing tourists traipsing past our door at all hours and blocking the top of the stairs, but it is rather picturesque, non? It sells pretty much everything, including my favorite beurre aux cristaux de sel de mer Noirmoutiers, the most amazing butter on the planet–I’m not even exaggerating–with sea salt crystals in it.

Down the hill from the apartment–everything in Montmartre is up or down a hill–there is a boulangerie called Coquelicot that sells a delicious baguette called la picola. Yum. Seriously. YUM.

And just up rue des Trois Frères, there is this:

IMG_4981

Where I had this for lunch yesterday:

IMG_4976

Fortunately, with all this delicious food, we’re back to walking non-stop.

Espace Dali
Salvador Dali

On one of our walks we happened into a small gallery yesterday that included some works of Salvador Dali, and after talking a while with one of the team at the Galerie Montmartre, she gave us a pass for free admission to the Dali museum, where we saw things like this (left and below):

Espace Dali
Salvador Dali

So here we are, where things are very different from peaceful, quirky, green Vermont and family-filled, lake-side New Hampshire. Yet it’s also familiar, since we’ve been to Paris and Montmartre several times before.

David and I wonder about how being nomads, even temporary nomads, may be changing us. Are we becoming more accepting of all the differences we encounter? Maybe sometimes. So that’s a change for the better, but sometimes I think I’m grumpier when each home base is more “base”–as in, one foot on and ready to run–than “home.” NOT an improvement. But really, how much can we ourselves perceive of how we have changed or are changing?

And of course we wonder which changes will last. The good ones, it is to be profoundly hoped, for all our sakes, but only time will tell.

Since clearly I don’t know that much about change, I’ll leave you with some wise words from those who do:

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. ∼Maya Angelou

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.∼George Bernard Shaw

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. ∼Lao Tzu

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. ∼Reinhold Niebuhr

3 thoughts on “Retour en France”

  1. I, for one, am delighted that you are back in France! If I can’t go, having your blog to luxuriate in is the next best thing! I envy you the wonderful food! Your lunch looks divine! We will be off on a Viking
    River Cruise in late Oct…. Amsterdam to Basel with a pre and post extension. We are soooo looking forward to it, but nothing beats Paris to me!

    1. Sunny, I am love, love, loving your blog. I so appreciate your wonderings along the way and look forward to long conversations about them when you return.

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