Thursday, March 12, 2009

We are off to see Monsieur the Crepe Maker

A writer's garrett

Well the staff at the Coquelicot were just delighted to see me and crowded around for all the news. They roared with laughter at my stories about Vienna and were fascinated by the exciting life we live there.

All of that of course is rubbish and the staff did what they always do and ignored me.

I did manage to make my usual spectacular mess with the Croissants but this is not all my fault. They serve them in a little basket and there is no plate so the only places the crumbs can go are on me, on the table and on the floor.

In Vienna pedestrians on crossings have right of way. I had forgotten that in Paris the crossings are designed to collect pedestrians in the one spot so that they can be mowed down more efficiently by impatient drivers. I have managed to avoid death narrowly and will be more circumspect.

The restaurants and bars here are bliss. There is no smoking at all. I had forgotten what it was like to be in a place like that and be entirely smoke free.
People who want to eat can do so without being enveloped in smoke and people who want to smoke can go outside – or drop dead – whatever suits them best.

There was a story in the Austrian Times last week about how the new smoking regulations in Austria are not working. They were never going to and are absolutely pointless. France has demonstrated that they can be made to work.
France - of all places - it's amazing!

Melissa and Henri and I went to a local Italian restaurant last night and then had a quick drink at her favourite local bar where we were able to watch Barcelona trounce Lyons. We did not get banned but then we only stayed half an hour.

They are renovating the hotel or some rooms or something. At 7:00 AM this morning the hammering and sawing started and has gone all day. The only relief is when they use the jackhammer because that makes my brain fizz and deadens all the other sounds.

Today we went for a walk around Montmartre and went through one of the many African quarters in Paris. I had forgotten how multicultural Paris was – the Austrians would hate it.

We stopped at the cafĂ© I always stopped at during my last solo trip to Paris and – after the usual fracas with insolent waiter - had some lunch. We visited my favourite little cemetery – St Vincent. I really like it for its cats but it was raining and of course they were nowhere to be seen.

I helped two young Australians on their way. They asked the way to the ‘stair things’ which I deduced was Sacre Coeur (well there are certainly stairs there) and I was able to point them in the right direction.

We saw Monsieur the Crepe Maker who has his restaurant next to Melissa’s apartment. I made an impression on him a couple of years ago and he often asks after me when he sees Melissa. We have promised to visit him this evening for a crepe.

I have seen Merlin on a couple of occasions and he is just gorgeous. He has (ahem) filled out a bit since I last saw him but I have assured Melissa that he will lose the extra pounds in summer when he starts leaping about on the roof again. (That is him below on Henri's shoulders).


  1. Paris looks delightful - but is that your hotel room???? Is that skinny thing that looks like a grandfather clock a wardrobe?

    Sounds as if Paris street crossings are like the ones in Rome, although the Romans tend to be charming during their attempts to mow you down..

    Have a great time and give Merlin a kiss on the nose for me - he is adorable!

    We hope you clue us in on some of the tales involving Melissa's various "bans", BTW...

  2. I can say that every hotel room I've had in Vienna was nice-sized... the beds were as hard as autopsy slabs, but at least the rooms were good. That little room is pathetically tiny (and probably very expensive).

    While in London once I stayed at the Kensington Close Hotel and had to endure renovation noises. I feel for you!

  3. Ah yes well - I wanted to stay in Montmartre to be near the to Ms - et c'est tres cher ici. Mais si en voyager aux environs c'est n'est pas cher du tout.

    Mais - aussi - j'adore Montmartre! Les gens, les jeunes filles, les cafes, les chiens!

    That is indeed a cupboard - in wbich I have stored all of my clothes (jeans and black T shirts which is all I ever wear.)

  4. The cupboard is rather like a coffin in storage and continues the theme set by Steph of the beds in Vienna being like autopsy slabs.

    Obviously the hoteliers don't expect you to spend much time in your room and why would you with so much outside to explore, even if you've been there before.

    Le vin rouge, c'est bon en Paris, n'est pas? A la vie!

  5. I love your quip about all the staff at the Coquelicot gathering around your table. Such exquisite sarcasm. It's so true that most Paris restaurants make it incredibly difficult to consume a croissant while still maintaining one's dignity. Instead, like you said, you usually end up covered in crumbs along with the table and floor - - and upon discovering yourself covered with crumbs are obliged to shoo them to the floor, thus creating more evidence that you have been a very, very messy eater.

    I like your style. Thanks for posting this!

  6. so merlin is a little fatty now is he?! he obviously isn't on the same champagne and coffee diet that his owner subists on...

  7. Aww, at the start I thought that perhaps all your facebooking had paid off, alas, no.

  8. The Anti-Smoking laws in Austria are ridiculous, to say it politely!

    No smoking anymore in Italy either. I have been up and down the boot the last two years and have not seen a single smoker breaking the law, not even in the deepest South. Respect!