Talked to girl from Manhattan at breakfast who has been working in Southern France for a while and leaving in the next days. Our first stop and last until dinner was the Louvre. Went through Egyptian stuff, with Sphinx and Cat Woman – a god sat recessed from the lower floor wall – far back, about 10 feet, and at the entrance to the recess a knelling woman facing the god. Pounds of romantic paintings. I can’t very well even start to describe them. Every one, though, would have caught my eye as one of the best in any other museum we’ve been to. Many Medieval & Renaissance as well. Saw 2 Michelangelo sculptures. Bought 2 postcards of my favorite paintings. Frank and I met up again at 4:30 and went home to rest and find a place to eat.
Ate at a restaurant by the Arc de Triomphe – crowded. Talked to French guy who was hinting at doing something with him. F said he was eyeing me. He talked about parties he’d have with his friends on the roof — Saw Arc de Triomphe – which was more powerfully awesome than I expected. Walked down famous street, through the concorde (with hieroglyphic monolith) and old buildings all around. A huge sky. Continued to Notre Dame, the most incredible cathedral in my known mind. Ate the greatest ice cream with coke w/ lemon at the Cafe Notre Dame.
It’s hard to believe how Frank and I got separated in such an enormous place and then managed to find each other again. And I don’t think either of us were the least bit worried about it.
The dinner that night was really incredible. It was one of those Frommer recommendations – “off the beaten track, not frequented by tourists”. I think it was goose-neck stew and the restaurant was so dark we could barely see it. The tre French dude that talked to us was sitting next to me, and Frank was on the opposite side of the table. That’s why Frank was able to say he was “eyeing” me. Well, it wasn’t the last time in my life I’d be approached by men of that persuasion…but that’s a topic for another blog I guess. I’ll never forget his key phrase when describing those parties on the roof – “boy, girl, make no difference”.
This was August in Paris, so it stayed light until 9 or 10 o’clock. It was an perfect evening to be mesmerized by the famous cathedral. I imagined Quasimodo pouring lead down from the gargoyles while inside, Leonin and Perotin quietly invented Western polyphony. Where we ate ice cream was called something like “Cafe Notre Dame” which, while corny, had incredible desserts. Frank has referred to this as the “great ice cream argument”. Our disagreement was whether or not I would treat us both to ice cream using some of the “emergency” funds provided by my father. I insisted that we use that money on ice cream, and I can’t remember if Frank was bothered more by my offer to treat, or by my misuse of critical trip funding, or both, or neither. But it was really great ice cream. After all that it was getting late and we had to get back to the hotel. I remember walking really really fast to get home. Frank and I usually walked pretty fast, but I was struggling to keep up that night. In my mind, it feels like we were floating – or maybe sliding – along the ground, being pushed by a big wind or force behind us. There was an urgency creeping into our trip. A desperate need to settle down.