Monday, September 22, 2008

Paris underground bars, Gestapo and a slice of culture

At last I'm on my latptop in Montmartre and not at the mercy of the French keyboard. Apologies to anyone who received my incomprehensible emails pecked out with excruciating frustration...desolée. In Paris finding Wifi or 'Weefee' as they say is getting easier and more fascinating is that there's a hundred something Euro fine for NOT picking up your chien's poop. Is this newsor what? Now I realize why my shoes have been so clean...

My recent explorations; Via a manhole in the sidewalk near Trocadero, we descended to underground phone cable tunnels and then the recently 're-opened' sort of bar and movie theatre hewn in the quarry under Palais Chaillot...right across from the Eiffel Tower. Yes, hewn in limestone, and part of the quarries under the 16th arrondissement. We literally squeezed thru a hole - the only entrance now - took photos at the 'bar'....the CATAFLICs underground police raided this four years ago and shut it down but lo and behold it's reopened...when Patrick, a cataphile and engineer here in Paris sends me photos I'll post them here.

On a more cultural very bourgeois note - during the Jours de Patrimoine - when buildings are open to the public I toured the Ministry of Culture and Conseil d'Etat in the Palais Royal....not too shabby to have an office overlooking the garden I'd say. Also the Ministry of Interior on Place Beauveau which several years ago I visited at midnite once courtesy of my friend but now I saw it in the light, the display of the gendarmes and CRS riot gear which they proudly say can withstand 'un cocktail molotov'! But the other entrance on rue des Saussaies is notorious for being used by the Gestapo (one of their hq's) and the torture cells with the surviving grafitti by the victims during the Occupation....very moving.

More later...
Cara in Montmartre where the sun is breaking over the slanted rooftops thru my friend Anne's window to prism thru the coffee press

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

going to Paris

A quick note before I leave for Paris next week...I just got back from the great Decatur Book Festival outside Atlanta this weekend. I shared the van from the airport in with John Dean (the ex-Nixon aide who testified at Watergate) but I didn't catch his name and silly me kept asking 'now what do you write?' Evidently he writes 2 books a year and has gone to the radical Left...but
I shared a panel and the van back to the Atlanta airport with Louis Bayard, his partner and two sons. I can't wait to read his historical mystery on Vidocq, and he told me Vidocq long ago lived on rue Hirondelles, street of the swallows, in Paris. I'll go and check..

Sarah, my sweet and wonderful publicist also gave me the galley of Murder in the Latin Quarter that I now have in my hot little hand and can take to Paris...

I'll try to blog, at least once in awhile from Paris, when I find wifi!

a bientot