The dismal weather has lifted, and exactly one day early, summer has arrived in Paris, just in time for Fete de la Musique tomorrow evening. I cooked cuisses de canard the other night, and this evening I will make lovely large crevettes rose [big shrimp]. Yesterday evening we went across the street to have pizza and watch France get creamed by Sweden in soccer. Oh well. As a one-time Brooklyn Dodger fan converted to a Red Sox fan, I am accustomed to disappointment.
Today, Susie and I had an errand in the ritzy part of town -- Boulevard Haussmann, in the 8th arondissement, right up the street from the very up-scale department store Printemps. We were wearing our matching Obama 2012 T-shirts, and I am happy to report that if the election were held in Paris, Obama would win by a landslide. Everywhere we went, cab drivers, doormen, elegant young Parisiennes all gave us the high sign. Unfortunately ...
While we were in Western Massachusetts, we attended a concert by Aston Magna, the early music group whose summer concerts we went to faithfully for twenty years when we lived in Pelham. Once again I was struck by the paradox that this rural backwater has early music that far outshines anything we have heard in Paris.
Paris is at the moment engaged in replacing the underground electricity lines throughout the city, so everywhere one turns, there are deep trenches where sidewalks used to be, and green barriers directing foot traffic around the holes. Our street is now finished, since yesterday a group of men arrved with a big truck full of hot tar and proceeded to re-tar the sidewalk across the way from our apartment. I view every municipal improvement as a direct consequence of the fact that Paris has a gay socialist mayor -- silly of me, I know, but it is such a delight to encounter little squares in Paris named after former members of the Communist Party. The realities of capitalism in the seats of power and poverty in the banlieus do not change, of course.