Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thursday, August 16: See You Later, Paris

I made no ambitious plans for the last day of my trip. Originally, Hillary was going to go to her French class and then on to work, and I would explore the area around her school and the library. But her spectacular cough convinced us that getting her in to see a doctor should be our primary project of the day.

We got the names and phone numbers of two area doctors from a nearby pharmacy. After consulting my French travel phrase book, it seemed a bit beyond our ability to try to arrange an appointment by telephone.

Hillary's creative idea was to put in a brief appearance at work and have someone there call the doctor. Brilliant. Despite the burning feeling in her throat, she thought it would be nice to walk through several arrondisements to the American Library where she worked. We set off, and it was all I could do to keep up with Hillary, even in her impaired state.

It was a beautiful day for our walk. For a while. You'd never guess from the looks of the sky over the Luxembourg Gardens that it was going to start raining in an hour.

The Mother Ship of department stores

Hillary at her post...the children's section of the American Library in Paris.

While Hillary shelved a few books, I looked around the neighborhood. Here's what I uncovered three blocks away:

While it was fun to revisit a beloved Paris icon, I was even more excited to discover this crazy Art Nouveau building at the end of the very street that the library was on.

When I returned to the library, I found that a gaggle of young French women had discovered the cart of free books outside the door. They picked up several volumes and examined them carefully.

We took the Metro back to Hillary's neighborhood for her 5:15 doctor's appointment. It was a very interesting experience. At one point there were five of us in on the consultation: Hillary, me, the doctor, another patient who had offered to translate for us, and her young son. Diagnosis? Allergies. Hillary and I were skeptical, but three prescriptions (and only 30 euros for the doctor visit AND medicine) and a few days later, Hillary was feeling like a new woman.

It was hard for me to believe that it was time to grab my bags and head off to the train station for my 9:00pm train to London. I cried when saying good-bye to Hillary, just as I had upon leaving home. For dinner I bought a sandwich of salami and pickles on a baguette. In keeping with all the male attention we'd received on the trip, the man who sold me the sandwich pointedly asked if I were to be addressed as "Mademoiselle" or "Madame." "Madame," I replied with a big smile, thinking of my family and how soon I would be seeing them.


Gretchen said...

I've loved reading your stories of Paris!

nancy said...

"Crazy Art Nouveau Building" - Wow! Spectacular craftsmanship! Did you see anything else like that in Paris? It makes me wonder about the history of that building ... if walls could talk - this one would have quite a story - I'd wager!

Gypmar said...

Thanks, Gretchen!

Nancy, this is the most elaborate Art Nouveau facade I've seen in Paris. I know others exist, but I think one has to make an effort to research what buildings one wants to see and then go find them, as the city is so big and they are scattered throughout. I know of at least one famous Art Nouveau-style restaurant. The architect of this block of flats (29 Avenue Rapp) is Jules Lavirotte. You can read a bit about him and the building here:

Nancy said...

Interesting - thanks. I was just skimming back thru your comments and discovered this. Good to know.