10 August 2009
The doc told Sarah not to fly until 4 weeks after the op, which was a good additional incentive to take the train. And to make it easier, we decided to stop a night in Paris. Pip had never been there before, except for the Metro between the Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyons. Sarah lived there for a while - 30 years ago! (How did that happen, then?) But she'd not been back much, so this was an adventure for both of us.
At that time, Sarah had stayed a short while at the famous Shakespeare & Co bookshop, just opposite Notre Dame , and it was her only postal address for most of her stay in Paris. It's famous for being the home of the Anglophone literary scene in Paris since the 1920's, particularly for Americans. It hasn't changed a lot - it's still heaped with books from the last 100 years of American, British and Irish literature. It's got more touristy (or it seems that way) and it's still staffed by enthusiastic youngsters who in some important way do not get the complexity, longevity and pluralism of Europe. Sarah found a useful book though - that's still the same.
We stayed to listen to the historian Gregor Dallas talk about Abelard and Heloise. What might have been very interesting actually became incredibly dull, as he stretched out the story beyond belief. His main point seemed to be that Heloise had objected strongly to being made to become a nun, and that it was Abelard who had made her do it. But it took him over an hour to get to this position. After about 75 minutes, we slipped away.
We'd missed the boat trip we planned to take, so Pip headed us back to a bar in the Latin Quarter that had caught her eye on an earlier wander past. The chandeliers were hung with bra's. And there were women there. Lots of women. So we ventured in and ordered fancy cocktails. They came with sparklers. And sparkly it was: we had ventured into a male strip joint! Pip was facing the video screen and came over all fluffy. We drank our cocktails and returned to the street.
Paris is full of lesbian bars: Sarah had offered to find one. But this was a spontaneous discovery with a twist.