Bonjour: My trip to Paris

Flying to Paris over Thanksgiving was a special treat. I was heading to attend a special presentation, by a choreographer based in Belgium, of a work of hers as a study of The Green Table, a Kurt Jooss creation of 1932 that was defining work in the lives of my parents and subsequently my own.

We arrived three hours late but had no rush. A van took us through small crowded streets to a charming little hotel we picked from the web in the Marais neighborhood. Could not have picked a better location. Walking distance from La Bastille, a block from the subway, and for Flor, just up the hill from incredible little stores that on Sunday before we left, stayed open late and the all the streets surrounding them were devoid of cars or any engine traffic.

We managed to catch the Paris Opera Ballet in Nureyev’s “Don Quixote”. Huge production with steps to every note and sets and costumes to break anyone’s budget. It was fun to watch. Flor was ecstatic, i never really liked the ballet but some good dancing made up for my being totally unattached from the insane plot of the work.  Could not wait to get out as the streets of Paris beckoned.

We saw beautiful art work at the usual places, managed to visit all the spots that although we had both been in Paris before, we felt we wanted to see again. The days were mostly cloudy and with some rain giving the city a special sheen. Bridges filled with locks professing peoples love for one another took you across the seine. Flea markets awaited on Sunday but were disappointing. Stopped by the Moulin Rouge site and fortunately it was sold out because the $120 (94 Euros) was a bit to high for me and I could live without it knowing the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is on its way to St. Louis with its interpretation of such locale.

Between dance events, museums, walking and shopping, my 69 years of age started to tell. My legs ached so come night fall by the end of our stay dinner became a marvelous loaf of bread with special ham and cheese with a glass of wine. Cheap, tasty, sensual, fulfilling and just what one needed. Food wise was an adventure and we managed well. Always eating in out-of-the-way places that offered something somewhat affordable (Did I tell you that Paris is expensive?) was a marvelous adventure and we lucked out. People were really nice. Bicycles everywhere, motorcycles everywhere and tiny cars for tiny streets. A subway system that ran like clock work. Pretty clean for the most part and often being serenaded by musicians hoping to be given some euros.

Five days with constant up and down. By the time we boarded American Airlines to Chicago I was happy that no more shops had to be visited and before you knew it I was gone for the next three hours. Flor was jealous as she felt just as tired but could not manage to fall asleep.  I was never able to do that, but I guess it is a gift from Social Security.

Paris. Do not miss it. It sings to you and it also dances.


Michael Uthoff in front of the Moulin Rouge



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