More on my week long Parisian vacation with some musical notations added.
Before I get too far down the page I have to admit my two biggest regrets after I returned home from Paris.
One – I didn’t stay longer and two – I didn’t spend more money.
Ok, got that out of the way and before I lose my train of thoughts I have a few more recollections from The City of Light.
I was stunned to see how how any current and live references there are to the Second World War in Paris.
Correct me if I’m incorrect but I seem to recall a metro station named for D-Day, The Sixth of June and there is an FDR stop. Maybe one for the Battle of Stalingrad too.
I remember walking down the Rue du Winston Churchill which was near a street named for FDR. It was on this street corner that my daughter and I ran into a local with whom we had a very lively and enlightening conversation.
Maybe we looked like Americans, I don’t really think so as we were both dressed rather smartly. Americans stand out in a Paris crowd and we tried to blend in with the locals and the surroundings.
Somehow we struck up a conversation with a Frenchman from Morocco and the talk turned to great world leaders, remember while we were there we were on the cusp of the anniversary of the 70th of the liberation of Paris.
I remember how this fellow said DeGaulle’s nickname was “Deux Metres” since he was much taller than the average Frenchman in those days. He stood 6’5″ which meant he towered over almost everyone he met. He used his height to his advantage as one should I suppose.
By the way, the current occupant of the White House is nowhere near the purported 6’3″ he claims. He wears lifts in his shoes and is probably closer to 6’1″. The lifts make him lean forward all the time.
The Moroccan man was a real joy speak with and seems to be genuinely happy to be conversing with his two new found American amis although we never got his name.
Earlier in the day we visited Napoleon’s Tomb and spent time at the adjoining French military museum.
The history of warfare in Europe goes back to just about forever as the locals always seemed to be either carving each other up, bludgeoning each other, blowing up, shooting and mangling soldiers and non-combatants alike from the air, the sea and at ground level too.
It feels good to recall those memories especially these days. We rented a rowboat at Versailles, rode the train to Caen and visited the Canadian D Day beach.
When I saw the statue of Charlemagne at Notre Dame Cathedral all I could think of was the Steely Dan song” Kid Charlemagne.” That’s on me.
Our days were full, we walked almost everywhere and by evening we were bushed so there was no nightlife for us. Another regret – No Paris jazz.
” The Last Time I Saw Paris” was written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein soon after the Nazis occupied Paris.
“April in Paris” written in 1932 by Vernon Duke ( Autumn in New York, I Can’t Get Started) and E Y Yip Harburg ( Somewhere Over The Rainbow).
Possibly the best big band song ever is Count Basie’s version of the tune replete with the “One More Time” coda.
Finally, ” I Love Paris” from the show “Can Can’ and Mr. Cole Porter.
And still more finally, ” Midnight in Paris” the Woody Allen film.
Maybe the sense of history doesn’t hang on as much in the air these days for Parisians as it did for me. Time marches on as they say. Perhaps there is too much to occupy the local’s time and minds in the present environment.
I felt the weight of history like I was wearing a jacket with all the pockets stuffed with the years 1940 – 45.
The oldest structure in my neck of the woods is probably a log cabin from around 1600 something or so.
And since adding a new follower who recently added a post about visiting Philadelphia I distinctly remember looking at buildings in Paris and saying – “Gee, these look just like the Philadelphia City Hall.” And they do.
It was built in the Second Empire Style or as it is also known Napoleon III style.
To the Colorful Sisters – in your post about visiting Philadelphia you left out 30th Street Station, one of my favorite places to be ever.
I wrote a post once titled ” The Birds of 30th Street.” It’s somewhere out there in the mist and fog of the internet and WordPress.
As Casey Stengel said ,” You could look it up.”