Our 39th wedding anniversary. We were staying in the Marais in a trendy young persons’ hotel, the Hotel Georgette, as opposed to our usual hotel Sunny, all shiny white paint and graffiti knowingly placed on the walls; op art pictures covering the bar/breakfast room, jolly perpex statues welcoming us in; – a sight for sore eyes. Or for very healthy eyes actually. Everything was very garish and bright and that was to be our theme for the weekend. The weather was bright, and we were bright and all was right with the world.
Seizing the moment we went hunting for lunch towards La Coupole, our restaurant of choice. Not choice, perhaps, just habit, as we have been there many, many times. The last few times we promised ourselves it would be the last time as it was no longer as unique nor as elegant as it used to be. The food was not nearly as good. But – for old times’ sake – we went again, if only to see if the waiters were still employed on a height basis – all very short so they did not have to bend down to speak to the diners – eye level suits us all very well, thank you very much.
Anyway, we walked there and discovered it was nearer than we reckoned. So we decided to go for a drink and walked round the corner to find a delightful market in full colour. We went to this cafe where a charming waiter made us wait for ages while he explained the intricacies of the menu to a couple of elderly and very deaf Americans. We didn’t mind as he was a delight to watch, and listen to,as he struggled with his English and they did their best to hear and make up their minds.
There was also a lot of other things to keep us distracted, especially the very colourful little market.
It did, however, take all my persuasive powers to get Jacek to take photos of the artefacts etc. He has a very good camera and takes good pictures. The only problem is he frequently doesn’t want to. Later, he said, we’ll come back later. Now I know my husband quite well after 39 years so I gave him that look, then I smiled sweetly ( I like to think that’s what I did) and said, Not later. Now. Finally – after 39 years, a man knows what he has to do and off he went to take some photos under my instruction.
These textiles – carpets mainly- were rolled out everywhere.
I wished we could have bought some. I did buy some scarves, though, because they were easier to pack.
When I saw these dolls in their little cot I couldn’t resist a snapshot of them. I always wonder, who buys them? Maybe I would if I had more space – I don’t know. I do after all still have my very first doll, somewhere in the attic.
But then there were the Peruvian street traders – they outshone everyone with their frenzy of colour and toys.
Weird and wonderful. But the real wonder was that I have these photos at all. I was right to have insisted. We went for lunch – a little bit disappointing maybe but not bad – and the waiter was indeed a suitable size – and then we went back to the cafe for a digestif. I looked around – the market place was still there, but all the colour had gone. It was now just a normal lazy Saturday afternoon – people resting from shopping, or replete with lunch. But no more bartering or selling or disdainfully walking past. (We saw a lot of that!)