La Rentrée, Warm Weather and Walking in Paris

Eurostar coach 13 – my lucky number

Clive and I arrived in Paris yesterday to unseasonably warm weather – around 29C/84F – though thinking of the past few years here, this may be the new normal for September.

The sky is intensely blue, sorbet ice-cream stands are still serving customers on the footpath and people are still strolling around in shorts.

Café afternoon, Paris

La Rentrée

Paris in September vibrates with renewed energy from la rentrée, the time when residents return from their summer holidays, children begin their new school year, shops display their autumn wares and new museum exhibitions seem to open every day. You can just feel the buzz around you.

Chocolatier with pencil decorations for the rentrée.

We always visit our local café as a first stop after unloading our bags. The drinks definitely tasted more refreshing than usual in the late afternoon heat.

Refreshing kir (white wine and cassis) and ‘Schweppes’

From the café we proceeded to our usual first-night shopping, finding everything except the always-elusive parsnips, les panais. These are of course for Clive’s famous beef stew, which he has promised to make over the weekend. (Well, we did see SOME panais but they were humongous, almost mutant size and not ideal for the stew.)

This morning, after catching up with our dear neighbours and running a few errands, we discovered a new bio (organic) vegetable man in the quartier. Lo and behold, he has parsnips – not too fat, not too thin but just-the-right-size parsnips! Clive said they must be bio because they still have the dirt on them. We will return in a few days when the chef tells me it is time to buy the veggies. I’m looking forward to a tasty stew in the days to come.

Statue of Benjamin Franklin

Across the street from Ben on his hillside

While Clive worked in the apartment this afternoon, I decided to be a flâneuse (stroller) though my walk, if slow, wasn’t totally aimless. As always it was lovely to see the statue of Ben Franklin, peacemaker extraordinaire, at Trocadéro.

I’ve written about this statue before and think it’s a perfect one in its size, in the way this great inventor, diplomat and writer is rather modestly depicted and in its location on the hillside and in the quartier where he lived during his time in Paris. How the world could use more peacemakers like him today.

Up closer to statue of Ben Franklin

Here’s a view if you walk up the side street, appropriately named rue Franklin, and get behind the statue.

Ben’s viewpoint looking out over Place du Trocadéro

A peaceful place to think of my mom

Path in Passy Cemetery

My walk also took me to Passy Cemetery and the gravesites of a favourite artist, Impressionist Berthe Morisot, and her daughter, Julie Manet.

I miss my mother in so many ways since her death this past April. Since I don’t live near her gravesite in the US, something about visiting the gravesites of this other mother and daughter who deeply loved each other brings me comfort.

Julie Manet’s grave, with her husband Ernest Rouart and several members of their family

Berthe Morisot’s grave, with her husband Eugène Manet and his brother, artist Edouard Manet (bust) and Edouard’s wife Suzanne Leenhoff

Gold lettering on Berthe Morisot’s grave – maybe I’ll contribute to getting this improved one day

It may seem strange to head to a cemetery on our first day in Paris, but it felt just right to me today. My only regret was not taking an armload of flowers to lay on Morisot’s stone, but the florist immediately outside the cemetery didn’t have what I wanted. It’s a good reason to return another day with a bouquet from my favourite flower shop.

View from a walk in Passy Cemetery

The weather’s supposed to break tomorrow, with temps cooling down for a few days then creeping up again. We’re looking forward to seeing a few new exhibits, revisiting a few favourite places and trying to relax a bit in between. More to come.

A good day to sit in the museum’s shade and admire the Eiffel Tower

Merci for reading and à bientôt, see you soon from Paris.

One Response

  1. I feel like I am in Paris, reading your post. Merci!

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