The first thing, naturally, was to eat pastries. And then to go to the market to buy bread and cheese and vegetables and a roast chicken that would last several days. In the early evening, we had a glorious picnic on a pathway overlooking the river Seine. We had a bottle of wine, too, but no corkscrew.
‘Should we ask those guys?’
‘Are you kidding? Do you want to be followed for the rest of the evening?’
‘Take it from me: don’t make eye contact with anyone you wouldn’t seriously consider having sex with.’
Later that evening a Buffon show written by Philippe Gaulier and directed by his son Balthazar: took place in an abandoned station now occupied by squatters and theatre practitioners. A great rehearsal space, we were told. Lip-locked clown-gymnasts contorted themselves and created something uncomfortable: ‘This explains a lot of my relationships…’ I said.
What else to do for the rest of the week, but everything?
Let’s start slowly: another picnic of deliciousness, but this time at Jardin des Plantes. We get in trouble with the authorities for sitting on the grass, so we move to the steps of the Museum of Nature mid-picnic. I also get in trouble for riding the carousel in a clown nose without paying. Another friend meets us for tea at the mosque: we talk about going to the Hammam later in the week for a day of relaxation. Picture a sunshine patio with blue and white tiles, sparrows hopping around hoping for crumbs, shisha being smoked in groups, a certain celebrity sitting in the back corner. Then rising with the afternoon to visit wallabies in the park and read tarot cards at one of the oldest ruins in Paris, sporting ground for the ancients. That evening, a scene from Midnight in Paris comes to life between narrow streets, as well as an introduction to Shakespeare and Company: perhaps a dream of a writing residency in future days?
Monday: Sacre Coeur. I enter the cathedral alone, notice a sign that says ‘dress modestly’ followed by a young woman wearing a silver-sequined tube top; accidental rebel. I am overcome by the beauty of grandeur, nuns singing choral music that echoes in the walls, angels surrounding the ceiling, and me trying to ignore camera flashes as I soak it all in.
To be continued…