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Paris 2012

Paris Review, Spring of 2012

Since some have asked, here is a list of 10 of my favorite things from our recent trip to Paris:

1)Our first walk through Montmarte my wife, Cathie Blumer started taking pictures of doors. “I’ve fallen in love with doors,” she said. It wasn’t until we returned that the metaphoric meaning of this statement hit me. We were walking through a door, of history and place and culture. I have hopes to post some of these photos here in the future.

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2) A couple of days into our trip we were going to go on a boat trip on the Seine at dusk. We exited the metro to see the sun setting, with a view of the Eiffel Tower right next to it. Add Jupiter and Venus and it took our breath away. We had marvelous views along the waterfront as the night stole the day away from us.

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3) The cafes were numerous and marvelous. When I was first in Paris in 1993 there were no chains. Now there are many: Starbucks, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subways abound. But there are still many little cafes with tables that creep out into the sidewalk. Perfect for relaxed coffee drinking and people watching.

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4) My dad was in Paris in WWII. I have a picture of him on a bookshelf in my living room, dressed in his uniform with the Eiffel Tower in the background. I dreamed of my dad again and again in Paris. Hemingway was his literary hero. One morning I awoke at 5 a.m. and felt urged to take a walk in St. Germain and the Latin Quarter, where I found where Hemingway had written Big Two Hearted River

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Hemingway drank with the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Ezra Pound here, as did Jean Paul Sartre and Henry Miller.

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The home of Gertrude Stein.

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Where Pablo Picasso painted Guernica.

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Where Ben Franklin worked out details with the British to end the war of the American Revolution.

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I liked the walk a lot, and I think dad loved it.

5) Cathie and I walked the cemetery at Pere Lachaise. She bought flowers for Oscar Wilde and Proust. I played The End at Jim Morrison’s grave. The only overcast day of our trip, which was perfect for this occasion. The cawing of ravens helped, too.

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6) Speaking of creepy, the tour of the catacombs in Paris was actually worth the 2 1/2 hour wait it took to enter.

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7) Of course the museums. The Louvre was bustling. I was really moved by the Cezannes at the Musee D’orsey as well as the Kandinskys in the Pompidou.
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8) The people on the streets of Paris. So chic and hip.

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9) The miracle of modern travel: the ability to be on the other side of the globe in a matter of hours. The chance to catch up with old friend Cathy Lundey at Bert’s.

10) The camaraderie between Blumer, Holland & Stratton. We laughed ourselves to tears several times. What fun and what good memories!

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