Tuesday, September 20
We leave for Nancy with Jacqueline.
One Evening in Nancy
From Café du Foy through the failing light I notice a young woman standing in the centre of Place Stanislas by the monument. She wears a dark jacket and skirt, like the kind of uniforms shop assistants wear in department stores. Her dark hair tied back she wears a large red scarf around her shoulders. She is wearing flat-heeled shoes. Her arms are folded, impatient with the cold. One leg is bent; the other straight supporting the weight of her body. I want to make a picture. However a companion arrives, she leaves.
Saturday, October 8
Returning to Paris we stay the night at Hotel Little Regina, just over the road from Gare de l’ Est. We have dinner at a café next to Canal St Martin and with Hotel Du Nord nearby I feel like I’m in a movie set. A young woman seated with a group of friends on the side walk makes the foreground for a picture. She asks if I am a photographer and she says the canal is very famous. Around the corner from Hotel Little Regina is Hotel Lorraine, which was the first Paris Hotel I stayed in. It was 1976 and we stayed over night before travelling to Nancy for Joelle’s, grandmother’s birthday. I wasn’t invited. I remember we visited Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise and I saw a bronze tombstone drawn on by Marc Chagall. The first time I slept in Paris was in 1975 in a Kombi van.
Hotel Lorraine’s sign isn’t lit. I put away the camera.
It’s 7.30 am. A storekeeper rinses urine out of his doorway with a bucket of soapy water. It’s 8 am and the light is an even grey now. The promise and anticipation of twilight has gone. Looking down from the fourth floor window, I notice the pale lavender of a discarded Metro ticket on the pavement. The TV says the minimum was 11 degrees and the maximum will be 21. We leave Paris in an hour.
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