14 February 2006

Driving to Paris

Paris cobblestones

It's supposed to rain tomorrow, but temperatures are in the upper 40s F (between 5º and 10ºC) so we don't have to worry about snow or ice. We'll be leaving for Paris at about 10:00 a.m. and hope to be in the city by 1:00 p.m. Rain means the speed limit is 110 kph (66 mph) rather than the normal 130 kph (78 mph) on the autoroute, which is a toll road. I think we'll take the toll road, even though the toll is more than $20.00 US one way for the 125-mile trip, because we don't want to spend the whole day on the road.

J'écris ce blog en anglais parce que je pense que la plupart des gens qui le lisent sont des anglophones, et puis l'anglais est ma langue maternelle. Mais je connais maintenant au moins trois francophones qui eux aussi le regardent -- une amie en Normandie que je connais, grâce à l'Internet, depuis cinq ans ; une Parisienne que je ne connais pas (encore?) mais qui est l'amie d'amis américains à moi ; et un ex-Parisien désormais installé à la campagne, un vieil ami que je n'ai pas vu depuis 25 ans... Je vous salue. Bon, je continue en anglais.

Our first stop will be the big Tang Frères Asian supermarket near the Porte d'Italie to get some imported grocery products -- spices, sauces, noodles, dried mushrooms, etc., that we like to use to make Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese food. Or maybe we'll go get some dim sum for lunch first, and then do the shopping. The area between and around the Porte d'Italie and the Place d'Italie in the 13th arrondissement of Paris is a neighborhood full of Asian restaurants and shops. There aren't really any places near Saint-Aignan where you can get such products and ingredients.

Paris traffic on a December evening

The next stop is the movies. We want to see Brokeback Mountain (called Le Secret de Brokeback Mountain in French) and we want to see it in English. There is one cinema in Saint-Aignan, and I don't believe it shows any films in what is called version originale -- the original language. Everything is dubbed into French. Walt just told me he looked on the Internet to see if the movie is playing in English in Tours, but he hasn't been able to find it. In Tours, too, the movie is dubbed into French.

A Paris intersection with a car careening through

Right now, we think we might have waited too long. All the movie listings for Paris that we can find on the Internet show Brokeback Mountain's run ending today. It opened January 18, and it might be closing Febuary 14. It's hard for me to believe that it won't still be playing in at least one movie theater in Paris, though. There are hundreds of them. We'll buy a Pariscope as soon as we get to the city -- it's a little guide that lists all the movies and plays and exhibits in the city. It comes out on Wednesdays, and new films start showing on Wednesdays in Paris as well.

After the movie, we are meeting an American friend at her hotel in the Marais neighborhood and then going out to dinner in a nice restaurant in the Latin Quarter. I'll probably write more about that when I'm back in front of my computer on Thursday.

A Paris café at dusk in winter

After dinner, probably around 11:00 p.m., we'll get in the car and drive back to Saint-Aignan. We won't take the toll road -- there's no need, because there's no traffic on the other roads at that hour, and we won't be in any particular hurry. I'll drive and listen to the radio, and take my time. We'll take the Nationale 20 highway from south of Paris down to Orléans, and then cut across the old province known as the Sologne to get to Saint-Aignan.

The only thing we'll have to worry about is wildlife. We'll be on little country roads. After midnight in the forests of Sologne, there are lot of deer, foxes, big owls, and even wild boars out, and they can of course cross the highway just when you least expect them. Last year, on our way back from Paris on a similar trip, an adult boar with four little ones crossed right in front of us. We had to stop the car and let them pass -- we were that close.


  1. Ken,
    I wonder if you have read the story "Brokeback Mountain" by Annie Proulx. I don't want to sound like one of those elitists who always think that "the book is better than the film" but that is sure true in this case. Excellent film:astounding story. I honestly think it is the best love story I have ever read.
    Yesterday I read an article in the New York Review of Books that I think you would enjoy. The address is www.nybooks.com/articles/18712.It takes up the question of whether the film is "universal" as many have reported. Mendelsohn makes a good case for it being a story about gay men (even though the story was written by a woman).Lots of discussion of this issue in the US press. Enjoy Paris!

  2. Yes, I have read the story. Walt and I downloaded the text and both read it. Thanks for the link to the article.

  3. La Normande est très honorée des quelques lignes qui lui ont été consacrées et salue bien les autres francophones devenus des aficionados de ton blog ;-) Bises. Marie qui attend le récit de tes aventures parisiennes :-)


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