Sunday, October 11, 2015

BUS STORY # 466 (Part One: Paris 2015)

Photo by Busboy

Well, I’ve never been to Paris
But I’ve been to Oklahoma.
-- not exactly Three Dog Night, from not exactly “Never Been to Spain”


We had an invitation to join Mrs. Busboy’s sister and brother-in-law who are currently living in France. When Mrs. B was even younger than she is now, she went to Paris and loved it. I’d never been. So we spent three days in Paris on our own before joining them further south.

Both of us had places we wanted to go.

Mrs. B wanted to see the cathedral of Notre Dame again, walk along the Champs-Élysées (like she did when she was a free woman in Paris...) and go to the top of the Montparnasse Tower, a fifty-six story skyscraper that presents visitors with a three-hundred-and-sixty degree view of all of Paris.

View from the Montparnasse Tower looking (as I recall) northwest. Photo by Busboy.

I wanted to see the second site of Shakespeare and Company, the bookstore founded by Sylvia Beach that became a hangout for Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound and James Joyce. It was here that Ms. Beach published Joyce’s landmark modern novel, “Ulysses,” when no one else would.

There is nothing there today but a small plaque on the second-story-level wall of 12 Rue de l’Odéon. Still, for the old guy who was an ardent Joyce fan half a century ago, it was something of a pilgrimage.

The modern novel's Bethlehem. This is where Sylvia Beach collaborated with James Joyce to publish "Ulysses." Photo by Busboy.

I also wanted to go to the Poilâne bakery after reading a wonderful article by Lauren Collins three years ago. I love bread. Poilâne is considered by many to be the best in the world. So, another pilgrimage, this time to the living.

How to get to all these places from our hotel? Do you really need to ask Busboy? We mapped out a rough itinerary, and I went to work planning our transportation.

This is the first of the six parts that make up the story. Bienvenue, as they say in Paris.


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