Preface
Paris 12e
Saoû
Bellegarde-en-Forez
Buxières-les-Mines
Paris 6e
Epilogue
The oldest church in Paris, St Germain des Près: CS knew this, and went to a lot of trouble to get a shot he liked
St Germain-des-Pres
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The changes we had to make to our itinerary because of taking a week off our trip were complex. They comprised the cancellation of our fourth gîte, changing the arrangements in place for the train to Paris, the dropping-off of our hired Domus, our Paris hotel booking and, of course, our return flight; and none of these things was easy to do from Buxières-les-Mines without a computer/the Internet. Everything had to be done on our mobile ’phone, in fact — and us without a ’phone-book or even the beginning of an idea as to how to use France's famous Minitel). You may be relieved to learn that I do not intend to sing my own praises in this regard: suffice it to say that it was done, but at a price. And, most unhappily, the price was the loss of three days in a hotel to which we'd been looking forward for almost the entire trip — CS especially. We were referred by this hotel to a ‘sister’ stay, at a much greater cost and what we were quite sure was MUCH less joy.

When I trawl the pages of the Hôtel des Saints-Pères' site, I am amazed by the fact that we saw nothing that looked like those pictures: our room was very small, poky and over-filled with heavy old furniture — scarcely enough room to move easily around once out of bed. It was also on a kind of mezzanine and had to be accessed via somewhat rickety stairs: all fair enough, of course — were it not for the tariff... And the 6e was not our preferred arrondissement; we had originally booked in the 5e, and would have been far happier to be down there. So that's the whinge, and now I'll stop. And anyway, all the other changes occurred without incident and involving no additional outlay!

We were kind of driven by the wish to re-visit places we remembered with pleasure from our previous sojourn in Paris, and without a lot of thought we decided that to simply walk down the Boul' Saint Germain from one arondissment to the next would be the thing to do. This was very foolish of us; and you must learn from our mistake... CS was obliged to walk very slowly, and I was experiencing difficulty with this because of my back's being problematical, and actually needed to walk fairly briskly; so the pair of us were not as one re walking, and it made us very unhappy. But the bottom line is that it was much too great a distance for a couple of elderlies — we should have taken the metro.

Be all that as it may, we did (eventually) reach our destination, which was a little Italian eating-place I wrote about in the previous trip-site (it's a ‘memory’). I don't think either of us had pizza this time, and it's worthy of note that I don't remember what we ate! — to describe this as unusual is an understatement... And on the next day we re-visited another nice restaurant we'd been to on the last trip — and again I can't recall what we ate! All I'm sure of is that for both lunches we sat at exactly the same table as we'd sat at 18 months before, and that we did enjoy our food. So my silly old brain must have been starting to worry deeply about CS, even if on the surface I was blindly unaware of his deterioration.

It was not a good stay, for a multitude of reasons — and I can't even say that it was a sad way to leave Paris forever, as that fact simply disappeared into the hideous morass of ensuing circumstances. But Paris is always Paris, and anyone who doesn't love it must be very strange indeed.