Saturday, August 31

I make plans for Normandy and go to the Apple store on an errand.

Yes, it's actually true. No homework this weekend. Yesterday the prof told us that we should do some more studying this weekend on the last grammar topic if we have the time. How absurd! We all agreed, "yeah, like that's going to happen."

Very chilly and rainy this morning. I have no idea what I'm going to do for the rest of the day, and that feels really good. Probably surf the net and read about Normandy in preparation for my excursion there next week.

It's 12:40 pm. I opened the window. Do you think that's safe? No more cell phones here to steal.

There's a small truck outside my window with signs in German. Someone in my building moving to Germany? I have no idea. At first I was trying to read the signs and was troubled because I didn't understand them. Then I realized they weren't in the right language.

I was planning to visit Caen-Normandie Mémorial on Monday, but it's closed on Mondays. I forget that lots of museums close on Mondays. Now I have to rethink my agenda.

Pas de problème. I'll walk around Caen and have lunch during my stop on Monday. On Thursday I had booked a train home from Cherbourg. I'll hop off early in Caen at 14h50. I've booked a new train ticket from Caen home to Paris St Lazare at 17h48. That will give me nearly 3 hours to see the memorial on Thursday and still get me back into Paris at 19h45. Just for fun to see what it's like, I made this last train reservation first class. Only 25€.

Let's hear a big cheer for the Internet. How big a hassle would this have been 20 years ago? Heck, 10 years ago?

Lunch for a bit later, after the wine has a chance to breathe.

Sandwich from my favorite boulangerie on the corner.

Wine from, of course, La Fontaine aux Vins on the mouf. Bonjour monsieur, dites-mois! Bonjour monsieur, un très bon Bordeaux aujourd'hui. Il faut célébrer le fin de mon cours à la Sorbonne. Pas de devoirs pour moi ce week-end! D'accord, d'accord, regardez le très bon Bordeaux là. 2005? Une bonne année? Oui, oui. D'accord. ... Trente-neuf euros, Monsieur. Merci. Merci à vous! Bonnes vacances!

Today's wine is another grand vin de Bordeaux, a 2005 Les Fiefs de Lagrange, appellation Saint-Julien contrôlée, mis en bouteille à la propriétaire. The web sites agree: 2005 was a great year.

For some reason, as I stay here longer, the years on the bottles keep getting smaller, and the price tag keeps getting bigger. How did that happen?

I wonder if there's any way I can find a wine merchant in Chicago who not only has great wines at good prices, but will also talk to me in French. It's really not the same at all without the French.

OK, I'm starving. Must eat the sandwich and let the wine rest for later.

Revised itinerary for my trip to Normandy.

That little box on Friday morning? Yeah! I want to watch my kid's eyes as they walk up those métro steps on Place Monge and see Paris for the first time. Mine were awfully big, I remember. Only 6 more days!

I realized that I need a charger for my iPad in Normandy, so I went to the Apple store to buy one. Turned out to be a nice day after all so I just walked a long way down Rue Rivoli, packed with tourists, then just random streets, then ended up at the Apple store by l'Opera.

This is a photo of an art gallery on Rue Rivoli. Not a good picture because of the reflection, but you get the idea. How would you like that in your living room? No idea how much it costs, but if the price isn't displayed and you have to ring a doorbell to ask to be invited into the store, you can assume it's not cheap. If I had that here in my apartment I'd have to hang it from my high ceiling and look up at it. Nowhere else to put it.

Took a picture of a window display of a 50,000 euro Rolex for Jeremy, who likes watches. A security guard came over and said no pictures were allowed, so I deleted it. Chatted with him for a while. Said my son was coming next week and we might return! He invited me to go into the store if I was interested. Told him no thanks, "trop cher pour moi!" (too expensive for me!) and "j'ai peur des magasins come ça" (I'm afraid of stores like that!). He laughed. Probably agrees with me but couldn't say so.

OMG! It's my old friend Chanteur Joe singing across the tracks at the Opera métro station. Hi, Joe!

Such a little thing, but I must have it for my trip to Normandy next week.