by Ted Welch
Sun Aug 25th, 2013 at 01:20:33 PM EST
It's still there - if you persist
The Trois Mailletz bar, just across the Seine from Notre Dame, had been one of my favourite places in Paris, it had a lively, bohemian atmosphere, a pianist and opera and chanson singers. But in recent years it seemed to have become too popular, too crowded and a bit predictable.
However, as I've noted before, Hemingway said to a young guy who'd claimed that Pamplona was not the same as in H's younger years: "It's always there if you know how to find it." But sometimes you need a bit of persistence to find it.
"You see, mum; it's still there!"
So I tried again this July - luckily rather late one evening, and - there it was again - free tables and very good singers - the same old bohemian Paree feel. The evening usually starts with opera arias.
Then it's chanson time.
There was a new singer who seemed like a very good-looking young Piaf - belting out "Non, je ne regatta rien", "Padam", etc.:
Persistence had paid off - it's still there - great evening.
Serendipty at the Monteverdi
Currently my favourite restaurant in Paris is the Monteverdi, rue Guisarde, Mabillion metro.
Recently it was even better when Elena (originally from Moscow, trained at the Conservatoire) happened to be playing.
She now plays at expensive places like the hotels George V and Bristol, but the Monteverdi gave her her first job and so she occasionally comes back - "It's like coming home." We were lucky she had come back this night.
I took some photos and a litle later she came and joined us (I was with my friend Wolfgang, originally from Berlin - an international night !).
She said she'd have another break in half an hour - we were in no hurry to leave. When she rejoined us it was no banal chat, she really wanted to know exactly what it was I taught; she didn't quite understand - I said some students didn't - even after a year. Another great evening. Ah, Paris.
If you don't ask ... get someone else to.
In Paris, Patricia's sunday soirees are interesting events, providing a talk or musical performance, a meal and a chance to socialise with a changing group of people.
A recent soiree included a talk about networking at Cannes, by an American film producer now living in Paris.
Patricia remarked on how pretty W, from Hong Kong was. I asked Patricia if she'd ask W if she'd pose for some photos for me. Patricia assured W that I was serious about photography and that there'd be no "hanky-panky" :-)
As it happened W was thinking of visiting Nice, so we first met at the Monteverdi, she loved it.
Unfortunately Elena was not playing (I had been told she would be), but the male pianist was very good.
We met in the Jardins du Luxembourg by the Medici fountain for the photos.
W by the Medici fountain, she claims that she's not photogenic - I did my best to cope :-)
W had earlier done yoga in the Jardins, but didn't know about the fountain and was pleased to discover it.
I told her that this is also where the young Simone de Beauvoir confessed to Sartre that she still had some remaining religious beliefs and he tore them to pieces ("mis en pieces").
I didn't realise till I checked on the info about the fountain, that it included Polyphemus and Galatea, as in the copy of a painting by Gustave Moreau, which I'd done for M. This is my copy:
In 1864-66, the fountain was moved to its present location, centered on the east front of the Palais du Luxembourg. The long basin of water was built and flanked by plane trees, and the sculptures of the giant Polyphemus surprising the lovers Acis and Galatea, by French classical sculptor Auguste Ottin, were added to the grotto's rockwork. Wikipedia
Then I took her over towards the Seine, showing some other favourite places such as the bar Piano Vache in rue Laplace.
I pointed out the irony that this street was named after the astronomer Laplace but was next to a street named after a saint. When Napoleon had asked Laplace where was god in his understanding of the universe, Laplace had replied: "I had no need for that hypothesis." That's what I told W, but, respecting the journalistic motto: "Even if your mother says she loves you, check it out", I later checked it out. Surprise, surprise, there is argument about this, but it seems likely that he was not talking about the general existence of god:
Laplace, who had discovered them by a deep analysis, would have replied to the First Consul that Newton had wrongly invoked the intervention of God to adjust from time to time the machine of the world (la machine du monde) and that he, Laplace, had no need of such an assumption. It was not God, therefore, that Laplace treated as a hypothesis, but his intervention in a certain place [very apt for Laplace ]
We then went down rue Montagne Saint Genevieve (Hemingway had lived nearby) to the Seine:
We had drinks on the deck of another favourite place, the boat bar-restaurant, recently renamed: "Mojito sur Seine" where I suggested "Serendipity" as a new toast:
So I got some very nice photos and she had, she said, one of the best afternoons she'd had in Paris - and she paid for all our drinks (having reluctantly let me pay in the Monteverdi - I like this equality business :-))