Memories of Paris and Belle-Île, 1981

9/11/81 NYC – Frankfurt. Went to Capitol Airlines to get standby numbers. Bought travelers checks. Went to JFK at 6 p.m. Took flight to Frankfurt instead of Brussels. Slept most of time on the plane. Met Christa, an interpreter from Munich.

9/12/81 Frankfurt – Paris. Landed in Frankfurt at 12:00. Christa helped us on subway to train station. Bought tickets to Paris and had enough time to catch 14:53 train. Long trip. Got to Paris, Gare de l’Est at 21:00. Changed some money. Called Hotel des Bains. Went in taxi. Ate late dinner at brasserie on the Bl. Montparnasse.

Me by the Hotel des Bains

Note: the inexpensive Hotel des Bains at 33 rue Delambre in Montparnasse turned out to be a “hotel de passe” meaning one that rented rooms by the hour for sexual commerce. Our room was at the top and had a tiny shower retrofitted in a corner. With our larger girth today, we wouldn’t be able to use it. The old hotel reminded me of many I stayed in during my early days in France in 63-64.

9/13/81 Paris. Slept late. Breakfast at Café Select.

L’Église St-Germain des Prés

Visited St. Germain des Prés, L’Église, Musée Delacroix, Quatier Latin.

Lunch: sandwich in the Luxenbourg Gardens.

Luxenbourg Gardens

Panthéon, Église Etienne du Mont, Boul St. Germain. Rain. Returned to hotel. Napped. Back out to look at Odéon and dinner on Boulevard St. Germain at L’Origan.

Meal check at L’Origan

Walked to the Cité. Notre Dame at night.

9/14/81 Paris. Shopped for food, etc. Changed money – Banque de Bretagne. Visited St. Séverin quarter. St. Julian-le-Pauvre. Lunched on sandwich in Luxenboug gardens.

Musée de Cluny

Cluny Museum. Along the quays of the Cité and L’Ile St. Louis. Stamps and post cards. Walked through the Tuileries to the Round Point of the Champs-Élyssés. Dinner at L’Origan again. Concert of Chamber Music at the church of St-Etienne du Mont. Walked home exhausted.

Note: Many of the places we visited were a nostalgic trip for me. Plus, I wanted to show Kathy where I lived and went during my student days. It was her first trip to Europe.

9/15/81 Paris. Rainy morning. K and I visited 38 rue du Père Corentin. Métro to Père-Lachaise cemetery. Visited the graves of Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, and Abélard & Héloïse. Lunch in a little restaurant du quartier, L’Escalope Normande. Naps in the afternoon.

In evening, took métro to the Bar Hemingway in the Ritz Hotel, place Vendome. Walked to Pigalle. Pizza dinner. Walked up to Montmartre.

Note: 38 rue du Père Corentin is the address of the apartment building on the top floor of which I lived for several months in a “chambe de bonne”. Evelyn Duvert, mistress of the old man who owned the Pension Loison in St. Germain, introduced me to the building. I had stayed there for a few weeks in the fall and met Evelyn who seduced me. It was an interesting time.

Kathy at Market on Boulevard Edgar Quinet

9/16/81 Paris. Later start than usual. Looked in on the Edgar Quinet market. Went to the Bastille, sat in café taking photos. Toured the Marais District: place des Voges, Maison Victor Hugo. Lunch in a small café on salads, Poire Belle Hélène.

Musée Carnavalet

Musée Carnavalet – excellent collection of Paris art and objects, revolutionary memorabilia. Afterwards to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Dinner with Brent and Sophie at 3 rue Migon in Montparnasse. Hotel exhausted.

Notre Dame Cathedral

9/17/81 Paris. Spent morning in the Île de la Cité, touring Notre-Dame, Palais de Justice, the old quarter.

Met Sophie in the Taverne de Henri IV at the entrance to the place Dauphine. Wonderful Sancerre and wines from all over France. Saw Sophie’s shop, visited Musée de la Monnaie. Bus to the Champ de Mars. Home for a nap before meeting Brent and Sophie for dinner at an old Montparnasse bistro, Aux Artistes. Sophie told us about her childhood.

Note: Sophie Campbell was born on a train somewhere out west in the U.S. Sophie Tucker was on the same train and took an interest in the birth. Sophie was named after Ms. Tucker.

9/18/81 Paris. K did laundry. I changed money, bought map, checked on car at les Invalides. K and I went to the Beaubourg, Centre Georges Pompidieu Musée Nationale de l’Art Moderne. Watched Les Vacances de M. Hulot in a cinema in the Latin Quarter. Took long nap at hotel. Evening went out to dinner with Phillipe Gauttier to a Vietnamese restaurant. Talked about Belle-Île-en-Mer. He decided us to go. Chocolate on the terrace of Deux Magots.

Note: Belle Ile-en-Mer is a largish island off the Brittany Coast. It was a happy decision to go there.

9/19/81 Paris – St-Malo. Picked up Renault 5 TL from Hertz at ­­­­Aérogare des Invalides. K and I left for Bretagne, St-Malo by the autoroute A-6. Arrived at St. Malo at 2 p.m. Found hotel.

Left immediately for Le Mont St-Michel. Rainy and windy. Visited the abby. Wonderful English-speaking guide. Drove back to St-Malo and had terrific 44 fr. dinner in restaurant in old city. Met English woman tour guide. Spent evening talking and walking around the ramparts. K and I not feeling well.

9/20/81 St-Malo – Belle-Île-en-Mer, Bretagne. We took the back roads across Bretagne all the way to Quiberon where we caught a 5 p.m. boat for Belle-Île.

Kathy on the Ferry

It rained all day but we saw some interesting things: the medieval town of Dinan being a high point. The crossing to Belle-Île took 3/4 of an hour. We drove directly to the town of Sauzon and fell in love on the spot. Got a nice room at the Hotel du Phare with demi-pension. Ate first meal there that evening.

Artist We Met on the Sauzon Quai

Note: At the time Sauzon was the quaintest, most picturesque fishing village we could imagine. During our short time there, we were able to observe the regular characters that populated the quai.

9/21/81 Belle-Île-en-Mer. Beautiful day. Began shooting my film on the Sauzon Quai. Began getting to know some of the local characters. Saw the man who would turn out to be Roger Faret, the fisherman that Phillipe Geuttier recommended to us.

Le Côte Sauvage.

In the afternoon we visited the Apothecairie on the Côte Sauvage. Began to get to know Gerard that evening. He runs the dining room.

Gerard in His Dining Room

Note: I had brought my Bolex, tripod and several 100-foot loads of film with me to Farance. I used them here. Gerard was the young man who ran the dining room at the Hotel du Phare. We became friends immediately. Gerard had traveled extensively in Africa. He introduced us to some great music, including the group UB 40. I seem to remember that we connected at first because of the great music he played in the dining room. Since we had bought the demi-pension, we ate in Gerard’s dining room each evening. At a table next to ours sat a middle-aged couple with a toy poodle they called “Reinette” (little queen). R sat on a chair and had a place at the table with them. Only in France.

Kathy with Roger Feret on the Atlantiss

9/22/81 Belle-Île-en-Mer. More picture taking. Formally met Roger Faret; introduced myself. Went on his boat filming while he placed his traps. Really got into life at Sauzon. Began to talk with other guests: Sunday painter and her husband from Rouen; old couple with dog, Reinette. Dogs everywhere. We get closer and closer to Gerard. Wonderful, interesting fellow.

Note: Roger the boat owner made no secret of his attraction to Kay.

9/23/81 Belle-Île-en-Mer. Third beautiful day in a row. K and I up before dawn to film at Les Poulains. More filming in Sauzon. Another trip on Faret’s boat, L’Atlantiss. Wonderful day. In evening we partied with Gerard and his friends until 2:30 a.m.

Note: This was a party of locals who were mostly fisherfolk. We drank way too much Calvados.

9/24/81 Belle-Île-en-Mer – Paris. Rain. Slept late. We were quite tired and hung-over. Decided this would be the day to leave. Drove to larger town of Le Palais with Alain, Phillipe Geuttier’s brother, to change money and pay for our room. Sentimental farewells, took the 4:15 boat. Drove to Paris. Arrived at the Hotel des Bains at 12:18 a.m. Exhausted.

Note: Le Palais was the largest town on Belle Ile, a small city really.

9/25/81  Paris. Lousy weather for our last day in Paris. Left K to sleep in. Returned car. Bought train tickets to Brussels. Met K and Jeu de Paume. Saw two Monets dealing with Belle-Île. Took nap then went to Jardin des Plantes. Met Phillipe Geuttier and his girl friend Alexandra at Deux Magots then a wonderful Couscous restaurant near Blvd. Mich. Finished last evening at Brasserie St. Louis.