I went to Paris for my birthday (had to say it at least once). Found a wonderful hotel, with the sort of market just two minutes away you can only find in France. Combination of food on sale and items and atmosphere. Checked the book in Shakespeare and Co. Have a look, too – Uncorrected Proof, under A for Alba.
Walked the streets. Passed through, open-mouthed, the commercial alleys of the left bank. Should manic tourism do this to such a brilliant part of the city? Up and away through Montparnasse, by the Pantheon and back down by Joyce’s home (one of 13 while he was in Paris).* I just found the address without any idea where it was, wasn’t even thinking of him. Now I’m asking myself what are the chances of chancing on it in a city the size of Paris.
Not one for tourist plaques or gravestones but this is worth lingering by.
Really didn’t do all that much in two days – didn’t lunch or dinner at expensive restaurants, didn’t even tea or coffee in les deux magots. Just absorbed the sounds and sights from train to train. It’s enough to be in Paris.
* As the New York Times tells us, it was Joyce’s “prettiest place…Valery Larbaud’s apartment in a kind of mews at 73 Rue Cardinal Lemoine, on the Contrescarpe behind the Pantheon and with curving view of Paris.”