La Tour Eiffel, which many have noted was despised by the Parisians
during and after its construction, but which has since become
the ubiquitous symbol of the city. This shot is from the Trocadéro,
a large plaza and garden containing the Palais de Chaillot and
lots of trees and fountains and sculptures and greenery. I had
a panini here, and the guy who sold it to me complimented me on
my (very rusty) French.
I ran out of film just after I took this picture. I climbed
to the 2ième étage (second level) of
the Tower, and swallowed my pride and spent 60 francs (about
$15 Canadian, or $10 US) for a roll of film, and shot lots of
pictures of the views from the tower, and then of the gardens
below it, and then of Les Invalides (where Napoléon is
buried) as I trudged back to the hotel on my sore, sore feet.
The next day I realized that the film hadn't gotten picked up
on the takeup reel (I thought I'd made double sure
that this wouldn't happen, having once lost a whole roll of
pictures shot on the Isle of Skye to this bit of nastiness),
and that none of my Tower or Invalides pictures were going to
come out. Sigh. I'll just have to go back.
The sign on the tower says "J-162 AVANT L'AN 2000"
-- 162 days until the year 2000.
That evening, Kimberley and I went out to a terrific little
restaurant on rue Lacépède called Le Jardin des
Pâtes, where they make all their own pasta from organic
ingredients, cook it to perfection, and serve it with marvelous
sauces. The garden salad with goat cheese was heavenly, too.
We drank a bottle of wine with dinner and then headed back to
the hotel on the Métro (it wasn't very far, but we both
had terribly sore feet). Kimberley overheard a couple of guys
speaking American-accented English, and struck up a conversation
with them. They were brothers (one Harvard '92 -- I
talked about Boston with him -- and the other Princeton
'96). The younger one is an aspiring jazz violinist who had
come from NYC (where he plays at the Algonquin Hotel once a
week) to try to find some gigs in Paris. We ended up tagging
along with them to a couple of jazz clubs, where the violinist
handed out press clippings and demo tapes, and then settled
down for the evening at the Slow Club, very near the Pont Neuf
station. This club was at least two stories underground and
felt like a wine cellar, with its low, curved, gray brick ceilings.
The band playing that evening was a four-member swing one, calling
itself "Happy Feeling." The clarinetist played in the style
of Benny Goodman, and the trumpet player in the style of Harry
James. The bassist was a small, thin, pixie-looking woman in
a pale suit. I sat there all evening drinking French beer, watching
the swing dancers enjoy themselves utterly, and waiting for
Russell to get a set with the band. He eventually played with
them twice, and my goodness he was terrific.
The trumpet player obviously wasn't pleased with having an extra
person on the stage, and got quite territorial about taking
his solos. It hadn't occurred to me before how political jazz
can be, but Russell assured me that this sort of jockeying is
Kimberley danced with several different men, and we met more
Americans: Tom, who was in Paris from NYC for the weekend, and
who danced marvelously and nearly oozed sexual magnetism. He
was a perfect gentleman, and I found myself quite liking him.
Gabrielle, a recent Stanford grad (what is it with all this
young American intelligentsia in Paris?), also a talented (and
cute!) dancer. She was there with her two younger brothers,
who looked bored and exhausted. She was fun to talk to as well.
What a terrific evening.