Growing up in Paris, Saturday afternoon was always a special mother-daughter time I fondly cherish. Whether we went shopping or to visit an art exhibit, we savoured the streets as a treat. Before my teen years, I walked to those amazing places in a stunning city.
My mother given name is Jacqueline, but everyone and particularly my dad calls her Linette. You can say they have known each other all their lives since my dad was the neighbor’s boy. They have now been married for 62 years, soon 63.
Linette loves the Rive gauche, the St Germain area, Jazz music, playing cards, and shopping. She can tell you stories about Paris of the 50s, post-war renaissance, the jazz clubs and how people enjoyed life again. How life seemed like a feather in the wind, a bounce back to show how humans are resilient. She remembers the Paris of 1968.
68 and the slogans of the"revolution" or civil unrest, depending on how old you were, "Sous les pavés, la plage” (under the cobblestones, the beach). The student's protests derailed the system and the entire French society for about six months.
Children often embellish memories and places, as we remember them bigger than they really are. We would sometimes take the Metro and go out at the Station Mabillon. Strolling in the quarter, entering Le Bon Marché, I always cherished this place, a little old fashion, at that time, now remodeled and splendid. After walking for kilometers, we would often have lunch in a little creperie, unfortunately, disappeared with time. The smells and the taste of the galettes, crepes made of buckeye wheat, and the dessert crepe “au chocolat” or simply sugar, how the thin dreams melted in our mouth.
I, then, knew all the little shops around. At times, we would pick a different place for our lunches and go to La Rhumerie, café restaurant, where you could bump into celebrities and have fun. To this day, I still like to sit on the terrace, people watching on the Boulevard St Germain.
Linette can window shop all day sometimes she splurges for a dress here, a scarf there. Comes teatime (or chocolate) in winter, she prefers the café de Flore to the café des Deux Magots, both equally famous. After tea, we strolled our way through the streets toward one of her favorite squares: “La place Furstenberg”, one of the smallest places in Paris, charming and romantic with buildings embracing all around. I never knew if there is a story as to why Linette loves this place, maybe a secret sashed into her memories. She never did say.
If you ever walk by, you can even visit the Eugene Delacroix museum, in the very apartment the painter occupied until his death.
You can just stand on the square’s center and let the ambiance penetrates your spirit.
So many decades, so many people walked through the square you can almost feel their presence brushing upon you.
French Sophie x