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Matisse, France, Travel, Creativity, Adventure, Expatriates, Dreams, Reinvention


Chasing Matisse: The Book

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Matisse, France, Travel, Creativity, Adventure, Expatriates, Dreams, Reinvention

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December 14, 2002

Nomads with Luggage

The next morning we talked to Claire at French Home Rentals, who called Ruben, who would meet us at the apartment, 14 rue du Perche, just around the corner from the Picasso Museum. She also arranged a taxi that could carry all Our Stuff. I didn't remember so many Paris cabs being mini-vans, but there are quite a few--and so convenient! Claire's assistance was angelic, since we were half brain-dead and still recovering from the shock of what we'd done, although the humor didn't miss us. The snarly man was at the hotel desk when we left. I, again, was wearing Mother's mink coat and feeling grand to be leaving, much like the Queen of Sheba. He would have to stay in the drab little place.

We are nomads in this new life or ours, which implies we shouldn't be carrying so many bags along, unless we had a caravan. We don't have a fleet of camels or even a tiny car. There lies a basic conflict.

I often have this problem when I'm packing for a trip. I like to have my stuff along. At home, I dress for my mood du jour. I gaze into my closet and usually something calls to me-a shirt, a skirt, a pair of shoes-that looks exactly how I feel. I slip it on, and from there, the ensemble (or lack of one) comes together. But this wasn't an ordinary trip. This was moving, traveling for months. And it's not like days of old, when steamer trucks carried a lady's collection of clothing. You can check two bags on the airlines and pay dearly for any more. And it's not just dressing I'm talking about. There are computers, files, a printer, books, and other business gear. We're a traveling office, Charles Kuralt without an RV, thank God. (Okay, I still took too much but whittled the list down considerably.)

Paris never looked as bright as when we drove away on that gray day. Ruben Milogils, a professional artist, met us at 14 rue du Perche. We tromped up the stairs with the baggage and were delighted with the space! Ooh la la, as the French say, and Jacques had told us it's said in thousands of ways. Perche had everything we needed-bedroom, kitchen, dining table that could be expanded, phone line, and plenty of room to live! It was perfect, and we were grateful for our timely rescue. Ruben was Art and Artist Central and could fill Jim in about the scene.

The next day we spent organizing and emptying the fettering luggage. We ventured out into the Marais, which we'd hardly visited before. It's a very arty neighborhood with galleries, shops, restaurants and cafés, and hardware-like stores packed with decorative metals and spools of chains. (I've found myself attracted to metal work in places around the world. I'm not sure what that's about, something for me to ponder.)

We needed to do some shopping. When we turned a corner onto the rue de Bretagne, Jim said, "Something sure smells bad around here." It was a wonderful fromagerie. Jim had smelled the cheese. I laughed my tush off, and he did too. It had been a long time since we'd smelled cheese on the street. We weren't in Arkansas anymore, Toto. We made a puchase, and also at the butcher's up the street, who sold us a delicious roasted bird a little larger than a Cornish hen. We bought basic supplies at a supermarket. I'd forgotten you weigh the veggies in the produce department before you check out. I had to run back and get the tomatoes priced. We returned home and prepared our first lunch en suite-bread, cheese, dates, chicken, tomato, and cucumber.

Ruben had invited to an opening at the Louvre that night with his friend Patricia. We were thrilled, spent the afternoon on business, and then dressed quite elegantly. We were running late and didn't think time allowed for the Metro, so we ran down the street and hailed a taxi. For the next 45 minutes, we crept down the rue de Rivoli, checking our watches. By the time we arrived, we'd missed our host and hostess and our first opening at the Louvre. All dressed up and no place to go, Monsieur Bubbah and Madame Bubbette completely misjudged the traffic. We stewed and stomped around a bit, berating ourselves and each other. Then we glided into the Hotel Meurice and consoled ourselves with an American martini.

Heard On The Rue: "Something sure smells bad around here."
--- Jim Morgan, whose nose engaged the fromagerie before his eyes held it in his vision.

posted by Beth on December 14, 2002 | View All Diary Entries

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