No One Gets Out of Here Alive

No One Gets Out of Here Alive

It is Tuesday morning. 5 a.m.

I am afloat in cool white cotton sheets and pillows and counterpane. All is dark and quiet.

I am in John Astor IV’s Paris mansion, now a boutique Hilton hotel. The hotel website has a bit of history. It is brief and worth a look. This was the Astor who died on the Titanic. He chose this street to build on in 1907 for reasons which include Proust as a regular at a close friend’s soirees across the street.

Enough said.

That’s the kind of thing Paris can conjure on almost any street, any neighborhood, any vintage cafe…

I tried to go back to sleep when I awoke and the clock next to the bed read 3:10. But I just laid there thinking of Paris and all the places I’d been.

If all goes well, I will take off from De Gaulle at 2. I will land in Philadelphia… I’ll have to check the time. It doesn’t matter. I’ll land in America when I land.

Part of me is ready to get back—back to the dogs, the books, the mountain, the gardens.

Part of me would like to stay, to spend more days walking and discovering.

I came to Paris with new eyes—mostly because of a romantic comic fantasy movie—Midnight in Paris.

Of all things…

Serendipity had Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast pass in front of me at work, and the mind made a good decision to put the hardcover in the knapsack.

I finished it on Sunday night. Maybe early Monday morning.

Hemingway was not kind to Parisian friends of the 1920s in the book.

I was looking at the Lost Generation through the rose-colored glasses and dreamy nostalgia of the movie. The book was written piecemeal after he discovered a lost trunk in the basement of the Ritz in the mid 50s. The trunk contained notebooks he had written in the 20s and was thought lost. Apparently, much of it was completed before his suicide in 1961. His wife, Mary, edited it. She published it in 1964.

I was not disappointed or disillusioned by the book and its very different view from that of the movie.

I’m happy with both worlds and could live in either. Likely plenty of truth in both.

One thing’s certain—drinking was a veritable art form for that crowd.

When I awoke Monday, my last full day, I had no firm plans. I had a vague idea of heading to Montmartre, as that was a direction I’d not taken in my rambles yet.

I stepped out and headed to the Moreau Museum. It was on the way.

14 miles later, I was back in my room with a bottle of 25-euro champagne and no desire or appetite to go back out for dinner or nightlife. It had been a magical day. I put my feet up and watched France play Austria in the European Soccer Championship. I savored the wine. I’ve never had a bad “champagne.” Cheap does not mean poor quality here. If the wine has the appellation “champagne”, it must be produced in that region using the méthode traditionnelle, i.e. traditional method.

I got to the Moreau just before it opened at 10. There were three other people on the sidewalk waiting for the door to open.

The old lock in the wooden door clicked from inside, and I went up the few stone steps to the foyer. This place had been his home and studio. The walls were covered with framed works—Moreau and not Moreau. The domestic rooms were filled with bric-à-brac. The place almost felt alive, as if the artist might appear and wonder who was there looking at his stuff.

Then upstairs, and his atelier opened up. The walls were covered with canvases.

Moreau Atelier

A wide (wide enough to carry large canvases up) carpeted spiral staircase took me up from there to attic galleries.

Much of the work was mythological, and I enjoyed parsing who was who and what was what.

Moreau Unicorn

It was to be my last “free” museum. The 6-day museum pass paid for itself several times over. More importantly, it got me into the venues quickly—usually the “no wait” line for people who already have tickets.

The place was a jewel. Moreau… you don’t see much of his work in museums.

From there, it was a short walk up to the Moulin Rouge. I’ve never been and have no desire to go. Maybe if I was with someone… The red windmill was boarded up for renovation.

(I found out later it sails had broken off at the end of April.)

The foot of Montmartre was not far. I recalled the steps up from the back side 5 years ago and didn’t want to expend that much energy. I sought out the funicular. My line became tedious when two gray-haired tourists needed multiple explanations about a weeklong pass and other options.

Really! It’s just a few euros, and you must have no sense of other people… they went on and on and on…

A dodgy looking guy was offering tickets. A street entrepreneur? I avoided the shill til I heard a woman behind me say to him, “I only have 250.” Then she and her toddler were boarding.

I paid him three and bypassed the line and got on. I was standing before Sacre Coeur in a few minutes. There was a long line waiting for that. It wasn’t moving. When I looked at the schedule, I saw there was a mass going on and thought perhaps that was why they were throttling admission. I wandered through the square and thought I might break policy and have an early beer. But the cafes were either too crowded or not crowded enough or in the sun…

There was the usual confusion of artists and caricaturists and craft vendors on chairs or in tiny booths around the square.

I’d decided to visit the museums up there—Dali and Montmartre. I’d avoided them in 2019. I skipped the Dali again because it looked too touristy even for me when I passed by.

The Montmartre Museum was something else entirely. It is situated in a house garden complex that was occupied in the late 19th and early 20th century by artists.

Montmartre Museum

Renoir, Utrillo, Valadon, Dufy…

While the collection isn’t awe-inspiring, the history and ambience are. There were only a handful of visitors in the house and gardens. In the back garden, where the entrance is, there was just one woman. She was looking over a neck-high wall. It’s human nature to want to see what another human is seeing. I made my way over past heavily scented blooming roses. The wall was long enough that I didn’t need to approach. I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t know if she saw what I saw or was just admiring the distant Parisian panorama. I saw a wonderful view of the only vineyard remaining in Paris and the brightly painted Lapin Agile. I recognized them both from my visit five years ago.

Lapin Agile

What a lucky treat. Sigh…

I made my way back to Sacre Coeur, and the line was now moving rapidly.

Soon I was in a cool, dim, soaring space. There are signs, “Silence.” So the only sounds were hundreds of shuffling feet and the soft mumble of hundreds of voices speaking under their breath.

It is a beautiful holy place which is large. Its purpose is not overrun by the thousands of tourists passing through.

After I paid my respects, gave thanks, remembered departed family and friends and lit a candle, I stepped back out into the sun. There Paris spreads out before you like a horizonless feast.

Sacre Coeur View

I was still in the mood for hydration. How far was Au Pied de Cochon? I’d gone the day before and yearned for more snails and an abbey beer and one of the other wonders on the menu.

A couple of miles?

Too far. It would eat up too much of my last day.

I’d start walking down to the city and catch a cab or summon a Bolt (like Uber.) I’d find the perfect cafe on the way. It would all be new ground.

So, down the 300 steps from the church and into a neighborhood that specializes in fabric shops.

I kept walking. Walking. Walking.

The cafes were either too busy, not busy enough or too sunny or…

Goldilocks continued looking for a cafe that was just right…

It was mostly downhill—the city drains toward the Seine.

Walking aimlessly invites serendipity. I stumbled upon the Passage Jouffroy. I was drawn inside by… books. The covered walkway or gallery is quite narrow. When one ends, another begins across the street. One after another after another. Many of the shops sold books or prints or stamps. Paris has so many bookshops. “Livres Ancien” signs can be found anywhere.

How far is Au Pied de Cochon now? Eight-tenths of a mile?

When I got there, I asked for the high top on the sidewalk.

I knew there were snails and Grimbergen Abbaye beer in my future. I’d had the French onion soup yesterday. The menu is a virtual dissection of pig. But there are plenty of other things to choose. I could eat there every day for a fortnight and still be challenged to make my next choice.


whole-grain mustard cream, chive oil, golden croutons

Turns out they are sort of like deviled eggs atop a pool of creamy mayonnaise flavored sauce.

Au Pied de Cochon Eggs


But heavenly.

Au Pied de Cochon Meal

The snails were amazing—again. At good French places, the snails are in their own shells. Not loose or stuck into reusable shells like you find the States. When you get hold of the thing with the tiny fork, it takes a little bit of twisting before it comes out along with a miniature torrent of melted butter, garlic and parsley. It is served with hard-crusted bread, which you tear and press face down to sop up any remaining spilled butter.

Since I’d first opened A Moveable Feast on the airplane coming over, I planned to visit Gertrude Stein’s home. The address is in the first few pages of the book, I think. But I kept forgetting to write it down.

“Idiot! You’ve got the internet in your pocket.”

I Googled it. A couple of miles away on the Left Bank.

I’d never walk it. I’d find a cab or summon a Bolt.

If I can find that, I bet I can find other sites where scenes from the movie were shot too.

Yep. Numerous sites offer maps and names of real places used in the 2011 movie.

I crossed the Seine for maybe the dozenth time in a week. I kept walking. Walking. Walking.

Her home is not far from the Luxembourg Gardens.

Stein Home

Imagine the people who crossed that threshold. All crazy and/or drunk, according to “Hem.” Including Gertrude (my mother’s name), about whom Ernest wrote lovingly and respectfully and then, later, cast her off with a troubling, desperate scene.

From there, I crossed the gardens. Toy sailboats were racing in the huge circular fountain pond. I guess you rent them, and they are radio controlled. I always wanted to do that with my kids. I even bought a wooden sailboat, but there was never fountain and a boat together on trips we made.

Aiming for the Pantheon where I’d visited the day before (for “free” with my Museum Pass), I quickly found the steps, a pivotal scene, where the protagonist encounters the vintage chauffeur-driven Peugeot.

Movie Scene Steps

I’d probably already passed it twice this week without noting it.


Silly, I know. I’m not a “fan” type. But this movie had me “hook’ed” from the moment the Peugeot curved up that Rue.

I was now approaching 30,000 steps, and there was a long walk back to my hotel district—the “fashion” section of Paris.

And I had a mission.


I’d stumbled on the shop of Mariage Freres teas, kind of hidden among a row of shops paralleling the west the side the Greek temple-like La Madeleine church.

La Madeleine

(Clearly, Napoleon had a hand in its construction. It is very “Imperial” and… there he is in the front row—a ringside seat before God and the saints above the altar.)

There’s a problem with French websites. (Or perhaps the problem is me.) It is difficult to find the hours of operation. Even the book show I visited on Sunday had no posted hours I could find on their website.

So, I didn’t know if it was already closed. Or would it be closed by the time I walked there? If I knew, I might look for a cab with a green light on its roof—symbolizing its availability.

Or I could summon a Bolt like I did to get back from the graveyard Pere Lachaise. (The driver’s name was Shazam. The first Shazam I’ve met outside of comic books.) I’d had to quickly update my credit card info, as the last time I Bolted was in Berlin in 2022. If my card was no good, Shazam might pass me by.

So, I walked and walked and walked.

Then I got to terra familiaris.

I walked around the back side of the “temple” and headed to the tiny teashop.

Mariage Freres

It was 6:30 or so. It must be closed. It was so dim inside. But rather than walk away, I tugged on the ancient brass handle on the ancient wooden painted blue door.

Yep. Closed.

“Push!” a voice inside me said.

And then I was in the candlelit twilight ambiance place.

Boutique? The shop defines the word. Was I dressed well enough? Is my hair ok?

There was a man and a young woman behind the tiny tea counter.

“Parlez vous Anglais?” I asked to break the ice.

“Oui. A leetle.”

What did I want?

Tea, of course.

I’d bought a box of their tea—likely at Home Goods on sale—some years ago. It was memorably good. The bags are made of linen or satin or some kind of cloth.

I’ve been saving it. Using the fancy stuff only occasionally. Contemplating buying some online but never crossing that bridge.

“I’ve had some of your tea before,” I mumbled. “The tea bags are made of linen?”

She rose and led me back to a wall of thin brown boxes. Those might be the only tea bags. I think the rest of the place were tins of loose tea and other tea stuff…

I was tired. 35,000 steps today. Walking to Montmartre. Then down across the Seine to the Left Bank. Then back to Ile de Cite. A good view of Notre Dame with cranes perched high above it.

View of Notre Dame

Across the Seine and up, paralleling it toward the Place du Concorde. The church La Madeleine. And then to the hotel.

Up to my room and into a cloud of cool white cotton.

A magical last day in Paris.

France soon began to play Austria in the first round of the Euro Championship. I opened the cold champagne I bought on the way back and poured some into a plain-glass coffee cup. Then another. Then another. The game went on, and France won one to nothing. I dozed. Woke. Then slept. The bottle was empty, and all my energy expended. Two empty vessels.

A memorable day. A memorable week. Places that will stay with forever. Whatever forever is.

I’m flying across the Atlantic. Oddly, the live flight path map on the TV shows the route isn’t arcing north over England and Ireland, up toward Iceland and Greenland and finally southwest through the Maritimes and New England. The plane is apparently going directly across the ocean to Philadelphia.

Maybe there are storms in the North Atlantic. Maybe I just don’t understand the curvature of the earth and geometry.

The taxi came for me at 10. The concierge was a consummate professional. I wish I’d had a day to go to Giverny. He could have arranged a car and a guide, and the price would have been worth it. I would have understood things far better than blundering on my own.

The driver’s English was good. I suspect the concierge may have summoned him specially. I’d asked at 7 what time I needed to leave to get to De Gaulle for a 2 p.m. flight.

The driver pecked at his phone map constantly—sometimes changing routes—until he got us out of the city and onto the highway to the airport. He parsed the traffic constantly and moved to clear paths and true.

Check-in was smooth and fast and flawless.

Security was a breeze. I virtually walked through.

I had access to the lounge. I had almost two hours to kill there. I caught up on emails. I wrote some.

The drinks were free, so I had a late-morning martini in a paper cup. Bombay Sapphire.

Passport control took a minute or two. No questions. My passport got stamped and then to the gate.

People herded to the roped off area. A cluster waiting for Group 1. Group 2. Group 3… Group 8. Group 9. Why? Everyone has assigned seats.

I remained seated and waited til Group 3 would be called. Then I would thread my way through the herd. Get checked in. Ride a bus across acres of pavement to the plane out on some remote spot far from the terminal.

Then my name was paged.


Good or bad?

My knapsack got slung over my shoulder, and I waded through the crowd. A woman in a bright yellow vest asked if I wanted to change seats. I didn’t understand. She asked if I minded moving from an aisle seat to a middle seat.

Did she need me to do that to keep a family together? I was agreeable but dubious.

“Premium Economy…”

Is that good? I didn’t understand.

Then she showed me a seating plan. I was being upgraded. Two rows from First Class, I’d be in a row of seven seats instead of nine. Elbow room. No rubbing shoulders with big men.

“Oh yes! Thank you! That is so kind. I didn’t understand.”

She smiled. Tore up my boarding pass and printed another. And I got fast-tracked onto the bus.

Big difference. Instead of hours of cramped torture, I can feel like I’m in the driver’s seat of my Explorer. Both elbows are out and nobody cares.

Two and a half more hours, and with luck, I’ll be on the road in it. A few more hours, and I’ll be home.

I watched Napoleon just now. Well, because I was just there. A bit long-winded and tedious. But I liked Joaquin Phoenix. Just enough crazy to be an emperor.

The food in that section was ok. Much better than economy. They were still stingy with drinks, but that wasn’t a big deal. I asked for pasta rather than chicken and was given pretty good ravioli in a cream sauce. Closer to landing we were offered “salad”—which was more like couscous and was quite good.

Going backward… (Writing this on the plane.)

Sunday, I awoke feeling refreshed.

I’d had no dinner on Saturday, opting to stop at a tiny grocery for some “toast”, stinky cheese, jarred foie gras pate and a bottle of 19-euro champagne. (Yes, real champagne.) I’ve never been disappointed by any champagne. Even cheap champagne is like drinking liquid and bubbling air.

Imagine finding gourmet fare like that at a 7-11.

Hotel Picnic

Back to the hotel. My phone was dying. It has nearly died around 6 every day. At first, I was concerned lest I couldn’t find a way back to the hotel.

I crawled into bed and put the TV on. I rarely watch TV on trips. But the Euros were on. Countries playing countries in a soccer tournament. The passions are always high. There’s nothing like this in the US. Spain versus Croatia. Italy versus Albania. Whole countries rally and root for the home team.

I had 30,000 steps and didn’t know if I’d go back out. Or down to the bar.

Why? I had a wondrous, cheap, “picnic” in my room.

And I could watch soccer and rest my feet.

I had a plan for Sunday. I’d search for dead authors and composers at the vast Pere Lachaise cemetery. I’d been there about 20 years ago when the kids were little. They had been good sports. It is a cool place. A vast miniature city. A great many of the dead are memorialized with tiny stone chateaux. Many are so old the metal doors have rusted off.

It was a long walk. Rain was spitting now and then. I finally came across a taxi. It dropped me off at the gate, and I crossed the threshold from the land of the living into the dead’s domain.

Sunday was the only day I carried my knapsack. I’d emptied it of everything except the Paris guidebook and the umbrella. The forecast predicted a bit of rain around 10 a.m. It ended up spitting rain just about once an hour all day.

Just inside the gate—put there to keep the living out—there was a map. There were numbers dotted here and there on the map. Below there was an alphabetical list which correlated to the numbers.

They also had a QR code with a similar but differently organized map.

Between the two, things were a bit easier to figure out—sometimes.

Colette was easy. She’s in a front row to the left, just inside the gate.

Others were more difficult. You can see on the map that the graveyard is broken up into numbered sections. There’s no rhyme or reason to the size and shape of the sections. I think the cemetery spread organically over the past two centuries.

Chopin, Romain Rolland, de Musset, Rossini, Cherubini…

When I’d been there with the kids, there was no map. One of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had was to ask a guy behind a desk in the office if there was a map I could buy. Though I was a couple of feet from him, he ignored me entirely. He never raised his head, much less tell me “no” or go to hell.

So we hadn’t found Jim Morrison’s infamous grave back then. Nor for some reason, Oscar Wilde’s, though that one is easy to find if you’re willing to climb all the way up the hill to the back.

Morrison’s was difficult to find even with the map. I eventually found the section (they’re not always signed well), but there was no rhyme or reason to the layout. His number on the map didn’t seem to be in the part of the “section” where the number was. A French couple was having the same problem.

“Jim Morrison?”

“It’s around here somewhere,” I replied.

Eventually, I found it. Mostly because it was fenced off.

Jim Morrison Grave

Apparently, people would do weird—even kinky—things to his last plot. Some of the French have a bent about some graves. I’d visited the graveyard at Montparnasse the day before. When I found Baudelaire’s tombstone, it was covered in red lipstick kisses.

Baudelaire Tombstone

Someone named Victor Noir has a full-size statue supine on a slab. Apparently, if you rub a certain part, it imparts fertility. (I didn’t go looking for Mr. Noir’s final resting place—though I guess you could say he gets no permanent rest.)

There’s a big tree next to Morrison’s grave. People were carving words in it and putting chewing gum on it. The tree is now wrapped, but the gum continues.

Jim Morrison Tree

One of his songs came to me:

Five to one, baby
One in five
No one here gets out alive

Proust was also not located in the spot where the number had him pegged. There were a few hundred graves in his section, and I wandered up and down the rows—though there are usually no actual “rows”—the graves usually abut one another without an inch separating them.

Fontaine. Molière. Brillat Savarin—the cookbook author who invented modern cuisine according to some. I sought him because M.F.K. Fisher thought a great deal of him and even translated his masterwork. I have a signed (by her) Limited Editions Club version of it somewhere.

(My librarian has organized all my cooking and bar and wine books in a glass-fronted case near my wine cellar. I wonder if Mary Frances Kennedy was shelved there? I wrote one of these stories about my love affair with her long ago.)

Some graves were uprooted. Some appeared to have been shattered by a tree falling years or decades or a century ago.

Jim Morrison Tree

It was a fun couple of hours. The “roads” are cobbled and many very uneven from roots pushing up the stones. The sections themselves could be quite treacherous. It was damp from the rain. There was leaf mold between many of the tombs. Rocks and roots stuck up and were often almost invisible until your toes got caught on them. I envisioned an ironic death.

“Bookseller trips and bashes his brains out on author’s crypt.”

Eventually, I’d found all the dead people I cared enough about to search for—except Daumier. I searched and searched. I found Corot, and he was supposed to be nearby, but damned if I could find Daumier.

It seemed like a mile back to the gate, but it was all downhill.

I crossed the threshold of the gate—back to the land of the living. I stepped over the huge black chains draped between stone bollards and to the curb.

I didn’t think I’d luck on a cab outside a graveyard, so I turned on the Bolt app. Shazam appeared and drove me the couple of miles to the book show.

Sunday was the last day of the Paris rare book show, and the afternoon was aging, but attendance appeared quite good. I wandered through, admiring the beautiful books. A book of hours tempted me, but it was 600,000 euros. I walked through again. There were only two American dealers there. One is an acquaintance, but wasn’t at his booth when I passed by. The other I don’t know, and I have always felt a chill when I passed by his booth. There are a couple of French booksellers I have a nodding acquaintance with, but I never saw a familiar face.

I decided to use the bathroom before walking more and went downstairs. The bathrooms in Paris are sometimes confused. It seems like most are traditional. At first, I thought this one was too. I headed into the hommes, but a woman was coming out of a stall. I did a double take, thinking I might have entered the wrong one. But someone made a comment that the situation was “moderne.” When I went in, I headed to the wall of urinals, but they were taped off. I guess that scenario was too awkward, so only the stalls were available.

Book Sale Urinals

Are these fixtures becoming obsolete?

I wandered through the show some more. There was great stuff. But I’m reluctant to carry valuable things in my bags—mostly concerned they might get searched aggressively. So, no. I didn’t buy anything.

The Picasso Museum was nearby. My museum pass was still valid, so I got in for “free.” I had to check my nearly empty knapsack down in the basement. Their bathroom situation was different as well.

Picasso Museum Bathrooms

I guess things are evolving… (The toilets at Pere Lachaise were very old school. More of a hole in the floor, and the traditional genders clearly separated.)


A mansion with four stories of Picasso.

The beautiful. The gimmicky. The artistic. The commercial. The shocking. The visionary.

The grand joke is that all this was confiscated from his estate for back taxes after the genius died.

Colors mostly subdued throughout.

Work in nails and burlap. Twine and trowels. Canvas. Wood. Iron. Stone. Plaster. Trash.

The man worked!



How someone can evolve from this?

Picasso Early

To this.

Picasso Later

Is pretty amazing.

Some things seemed churned out for money. Others, the guy seemed to have turned his brains inside out and seen things in ways no artist had before.

I read somewhere that Picasso didn’t leave Paris during the Occupation. I thought everyone did. I wonder how he fared.

I was taken back to the scenes in Casablanca where Bogart and Bergman have a brief period of joy before the Nazis marched in. Then Bogart fretting at the train station waited for her to appear.

“We’ll always have Paris.”

When I’d had enough Picasso saturation, it was time to go move on.

Au Pied de Cochon was only a half-hour walk. I put my shyness aside and asked if I could have the last remaining table on the sidewalk—facing out so I could watch people walk by or just bask in the park view across the tiny street.

The menu is overwhelming.

I knew I wanted snails. The second choice was harder. I finally opted for French onion soup. I chose a large—50 cl—Grinsbergen Abbey ale.

Ummm… for hydration.

It was late afternoon. A table behind me had a group of young Americans—4 or 5.

Their conversation was unavoidable. They seemed to be nouveau-riche office workers. Maybe techies making crazy money.

“I want to live in Madrid. Buy a flat. So easy to sublet. Rent a sailboat, and take wine out on the Mediterranean. And spend the night aboard. I met a girl in Thailand. She said Seville is just the best…”

The men are very fat. Wearing shorts and polo shirts stretched over their bellies. Beefy arms crossed over their hanging guts. The women are plain and plainly dressed. They must make a lot of money doing what they do.

This era’s Lost Generation.

When they started talking opera, I zoned out.

My repast had arrived, and I focused on that.

Au Pied de Cochon Snails

The soup was also marvelous. I almost needed a knife and fork to get through the baked cheese, bread and down to the salty oniony treasure below.

It is Thursday morning. The summer equinox is today. It is the earliest since 1796. Is time speeding up?

At some point, the sun will stop its northward journey, pause and begin its way south.

Does time stop for a moment?

So it is suddenly summer. The heat wave was timed perfectly celestially.

In a few months, it will move into the gap in the forest in front of my home. I will be treated to glorious sunrises until the sun passes through my “Window on the World” and continues south.

Yesterday, I got into work early. My body was still on Paris time.

I’d stopped in briefly Tuesday evening on my way back from the Philly airport. I wanted to be sure the place was still there. I got home about 7. I turned on the water and water heater. I went out to check on the barn. I’d paid someone to stack the wood. I’m just so far behind at work and at home and at writing and life in general. I need to prioritize. Let things go for the greater good.

Stacked Firewood

It looks great. I’m in good shape for next winter. And the next. I’ll certainly cut and haul more wood this summer. Why? I enjoy it. It is honest and true work. When I have done some, I can look and see tangible results. It is satisfying.

And clearing up dead falls and fallen trees makes things look better.

I had some jet lag yesterday. The heat wave didn’t help. When I left, it was cool spring weather. Paris was cool spring weather. I returned to sweltering summer—which is, after all, today.

I caught up on news. Correspondence.

An Australian bookseller had been here while I was gone. He picked out thousands of books from all three stores.

Australian Bookseller Pulls

These will have to be tallied and packed, palletized and wrapped and then shipped to the other side of the world.

The heavy pruning will be beneficial for the stores. Some exciting estates have come in, and the spaces he created will quickly be filled with exciting fresh stock.

Then I spent most of the rest of the day going through books. I was tired. Jet lagged. A little depressed at the nagging problems that always seem to be nipping at my heels.

I went through thousands of books.

Some went to the stores.

Some went online—mostly at fixed prices I attached to them based on my experience.

A tiny fraction went to be researched. We are so far behind with these. They certainly can’t find new homes sitting in tubs waiting to be looked up—for years. So, more and more I’m using instinct to price things I don’t trust to the computer.

It was hot. I returned from cool damp Paris to stifling 90+ degree heat.

A few people commented on the last blog.

Only my stand-in editor said anything about the “last” Round and Round story.

“I hope you keep writing them. I enjoy them.”

There are 400 of the blogs now, I’m sure. In a month, it will be the 7th anniversary of the first one.

I still haven’t missed a Friday deadline.

There are a couple of days in Paris I haven’t written about. I’ll squeeze them into next week’s story.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing about it.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, watch Midnight in Paris, and you too will see Paris with different eyes.

6 Comments on Article

  1. Charlie Downs commented on

    The bathrooms in Paris. Reminds me of the time back in 1989 when I went into a men’s room at the Louvre. There was a large circular thing that resembled a group urinal like we had in high school. I proceeded to use it as such and all of a sudden a man starts yelling at me in French. I understood enough to realize that it wasn’t a urinal and instead was where they washed their mops. I just said “je ne parle Francais” to plead ignorance. My wife was waiting outside and heard the yelling and was quite amused when I explained why the guy was yelling at me.
    Chuck, hope you’re staying cool. My garden sure doesn’t like this heat nor do I.

    1. Charles Roberts replied on

      I remember they had those round steel outdoor urinals on the street when I went there as a kid!
      Thanks for writing!

  2. Dan Blackwood commented on

    Just wanted to say I’m glad you are back safely! For some reason your description of this trip resonated more than usual with me. With my retirement likely at the end of this year, my wife and I are starting to plan yearly trips to Europe. We have been to Paris already, but this city keeps calling me. Must be a sign!

    1. Charles Roberts replied on

      Thanks so much for writing!
      It is a magical place.
      I’ll write about the rest of the trip next story.

  3. Michael Dirda commented on

    Well, I just managed to lose a long comment by deciding to check something and failing to change tabs. Sigh. But, in short, your ability to pack so much “touristing” into a day continues to be epic. I get tired just reading about all the places you visit– and envy the drinks and meals you so infectiously savor.
    I once slept in the same bed as M.F. K. Fisher, but–as Kipling says in “Plain Tales from the Hills”–that’s another story.

    1. Charles Roberts replied on

      I’m sorry for the lost long / long lost comment … sigh .

      I think my feet just could not stop. My mind kept urging them on because it was all so damned interesting.

      Thank you for writing.

      Hope to see you soon.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *