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Thursday, May 30, 2013


       Who wouldn't want to go back in time with Owen Wilson in "Midnight in Paris"?   In one scene he zips back eighty years and meets Ernest Hemingway.  They're in "Le Polidor", a Left Bank restaurant  favored by writers for the last 150 years.

   With its aged decor and the complete lack of anything new, you can vis zip back in time yourself.  A sign inside proudly proclaims, "We haven't accepted credit cards since 1845".  
     .     The four of us went early last July, skipping the crowds.  We loved the French comfort food like beef bourguignon and mashed potatoes 

...but my favorite thing was the bathroom.  There is only one and it is the size of a porto-potti.     
 To get to it you open this ancient door and step out into a tiny, dark alley (I remember seeing a small piece of sky above).  To the right was this little blue-tiled room, a hole in the wall with a hole in the floor.  
If youpolidorbathroom're tall at all you must duck to enter and keep your head tilted inside.  
  After you do your thing you yank a chain and Viola.  Water rushes down a pipe and spurts out into the basin to wash everything away.  
   I loved my visit to the bathroom museum and made sure that everyone in our group went as well.  Imagine the thrill
of standing over the hole where Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Arthur Rimbaud once stood.

     When that thrill was gone we began hiking east to the tower where I proposed to Francesca eight years ago. 

  The line to the top was long, too long, two-hours long.  We asked the guards, "Isn't there some another way?"
    He pointed to the stairs and said,
"There's no line for that.  You just start climbing and nineteen floors later you're there!".  

And so we headed up and up and up.
Once we got there we found The Spot, had a quiet moment, and looked down at the thousands of people gathered below.  We realized they were there for Paris' Nightly Event, "The Switch".  It's when the tower's dazzling strobe lights are switched on.  
We had to hit the ground for that so we began a rapid, dizzy descent.   I did it in six minutes perhaps setting a record for old guys.
    The Eiffel Tower crowd was festive, happy and drunk.  We followed the sound of drums and found young Turkish men doing a beautiful, solemn, circular dance.  Three minutes later, "Boom", the tower lit up with twenty thousand lights flashing. The dancers paused as everyone roared with delight. 
    Later the four of us walked to the subway to head home.  The platform had a mysterious blue light that I knew would be perfect for a portrait.  Dylan was kind enough to oblige.

       By the time we got home it was midnight in Paris.
  I couldn't resist taking a peek at the St. Martin canal party down the block (see previous blog). Hundreds of young people were enjoying the evening, looking at each other, not their smart phones.
   We spent our last day seeing a few more sights like the Pompidou Center, 

 its colorful fountain, and a flirtatious young girl who ended up getting arrested for picking someone's pocket.   

     Paris was hard to leave.  Nevertheless, the next day we arose at dawn and made our way home to the land of sunshine, mangoes, and conventional toilets.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I need to go back to Europe this summer. You are making me miss home.

    If toilets are your thing then you must try the squatty potties of China. I can't think of a famous bum that has ever graced their presence and I can't say mine has either as I ran from them.