Today I have chosen again to see Montmartre. I got off again at Blanche, but took other streets as usual. I am looking for a cafe on a terrace despite the rainy atmosphere. It is doable without an umbrella.
I walk up a small street and decide to sit on the terrace of a cafe whose name I read without realising its meaning. I have simply gotten blind by the green background with white letters.
I sit at the end of the row of tables and order a café allongé. This name makes me think of lying on the beach. The coffee is served soon with a small galette. I choose not to put sugar since I like it better without. I look in front of me. A good place to be as I am in a sort of crossroads with two cafes in front of me – le Cafe Bruant and la Villa des Abesses and a small street between them on which a business is called Plug-in. So much better than on a long street where you only see the opposite side. Tourists have their charm as they pass with their umbrellas and I am tasting my coffee: very good, I like the combination between warm and bitter.
I am so happy to be there in this picturesque atmosphere. I am enjoying the place.
Soon, a man and a woman sitting two tables away from me distract me from watching the live painting which is Montmartre. Unconsciously, I notice he is smoking cigar. He seems to be alone without words. I start hearing a woman and she seems to flirt sweetly.
I am still in my thoughts and think how great for these two in their mid 50s-mid 60s to have the beauty of the mature age and have an enjoyable conversation. This makes me curious about what the woman keeps on saying as she takes over the scene while he paused his cigar. I take my “ear plugs” out:
“I want you to speak well about my children. Je veux que tu leur rendes service et leur aides…” He says something by which he agrees given the fact he was not their father.
“Ils se feront des soucis s´ils savent que Francis n´est pas là pour moi”…
“Tu sais que j´ai accepté de toi des choses que je n´ai pas accepté de personne…”
“Je veux que tu organises ta semaine…je serai jalouse parce que je sais que tu feras l´amour avec ton épouse “…(?)
She caresses his back. He kisses her shortly, more in obligation than with feelings.
I look at what he does and at his hands. His palms are crossed on the top of the void between his knees. Il est imperturbable.
Every time I turn my head to them I see his hearing device on his right ear.
He seems to say something from time to time which I do not hear although he is the one sitting close to me.
I look on his table. A book on a newspaper: “Le jugement à Moscou” by Vladimir Boukovsky. This makes me remember old times. I suppose it is the book I borrowed from l’Institut Français in Bucharest and read 14 years ago in order to refresh my French before leaving for my internship in Paris.
It is a book about a Soviet spy in Paris who falls in the temptations of the Western capitalist attractions for personal benefits and becomes a double agent – “cheval à bascule”. He is imprisoned in Siberia for some years and is executed while walking in a dark corridor with his head covered.
I drank my coffee and the rain started. A good occasion to walk in the rain. I pay and see again the Café is called “La Mascotte”. I go having made discoveries in this conversation.
Taking the direction of Sacré Coeur I find another church. I am attracted by its decoration in mosaic and I enter. Paris seems to be a big church, full of symbols, always in religious celebrations. I look at the mosaic representations. There is a winged lion and a winged bull, a bird and then, some sculptures. I sit in front of one which appears to be a lion head although it could be a dog, too. Attraction brings me in front of these winged creatures. I wish I had one to fly with as in the Romanian tale about endless youth and endless life. I love this game of putting wings on any creature. It works on any of them.
In the other direction down the street there is a photographer´s studio exposing in his vitrine a striped cat disguised in goose while walking among some geese.
I am attracted by a dress in the vitrine of a nice shop and I enter. I make some conversation with the guy inside who immediately puts some music on and explains to me what is discounted and what not. The boutique is shared by his girlfriends who are “créatrices”. The jewels are made by his “chérie”. I try a silver ring with a cornelian on. He asked me to choose one and after a few moments I am attracted by this «apricot-confit» stone. The ring is too large. He fixes it for me as the ring is open and can be adjusted.
Further down the street, a funny face on a T-shirt gets my attention. Suddenly, I notice in the vitrine a bag in the form of an old black telephone, the dial having no numbers.
There is a nice house down that street on the right corner. It´s all in brick and covered by plants. Next to it there is a dead-end street which is called “impasse”. I find the French word funny.
I continue down the street. My shoes are wet and hear them “tap-fsss”, “tap-fsss”. They know the sand of the beach in The Hague and now they meet the Paris rain.
I take the stairs to Montmartre. I like them a lot as they are sided by trees and have lamps in the middle. I alway loved stairs as in Rome and in my town taking me down to the Danube.
In Monmartre it is full of cafés. One of them “Au claire de lune” makes me imagine night during day while it promises the moon not yet in the sky and makes me go away as I feel it is not the right time to go inside.
I simply enjoy going and watching each corner with its unique flavour and story until my shoes make themselves heard louder and the metro-station Blanche appears before me.