But in spite of that, I persist in flying back and forth across the Atlantic several times a year. Usually not in the summer though. But because of a wedding in Paris, I had to change my routine, so here I am in Montmartre in August.
And that’s a mixed bag.
First of all, and on the good side, it takes far less time to get into the city from the airport. Because much of the Paris region is en vacances - on vacation. And that means no horde of commuters honking and tailgating their way to work. So my taxi glides along the highway, in spite of continuing work on the tunnel just north of the city limits. Amazing!
My apartment is waiting for me, with my daughter already in it. She’s here for the same wedding. But when I go to cross the building’s courtyard, I get a major surprise: the fig tree has keeled over! Its top branches are leaning against the building, but luckily half of its roots are trapped under the wall separating us from the building next door with the other half still in the ground. I’m frankly amazed at the number of figs that poor tree is trying valiantly to ripen, figs that are now at eye-level. To get to my door, I have to push aside the branches. My daughter tells me it was like that when she arrived four days ago. There are so few people "in residence" right now that no attempt has been made to stand the poor thing back up. Brave little fig tree, still hanging onto its leaves - or maybe that should be the other way around.
My daughter and I decide to go to lunch, it being lunchtime. So we head off, through the fig branches, to the couscous restaurant, which has become my traditional First Meal in France. Only to find someone else behind the bar, someone decidedly un-couscous-looking (read: "French"). The restaurant is still the restaurant, he reassures us, but the owner/cook is "en vacances" and won’t be back until the end of the month. So the kitchen is closed and we have to move on to our fall-back restaurant, the little Cambodian place around the corner, which is open... and delicious.
My head is starting to ache - along with my feet from all the walking - and I’d go get something for them at the pharmacie at the end of my street, but... (fill in the blank).
Such are the tribulations of a Parisian in August. I think I’ll just go sit in the garden and read a book. After all, it’s a nice summer evening. And that doesn’t close in August.
Even in Paris.