December 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Paris, 75006

Today is Wednesday. It has been kind of a strange week. Or at least I have been feeling strange. Monday was a very good, very productive work day. Tuesday I was planning to go to an all day seminar on the history of public libraries, then in the evening to another seminar on postwar Yiddish culture. About an hour into the first seminar I started to feel really unwell. Like in my stomach. I ended up having to leave the seminar, which was a bummer.

Then, I sat in a chair for a while trying to gauge how I felt. Was I well enough to spend the day out and about in order to make it to the evening seminar, which was much more important in terms of networking? Finally I decided to just start walking. To slowly make my way across Paris to where the evening seminar was to be held. When I got hungry, I bought a plain demi-baguette and ate it very slowly.

At first I felt terrible and thought I should just go home. But I kept walking and eventually the cool crisp fall air and the delicious Paris baguette began to greatly improve my stomach and my mood. I had hours ahead of me before the evening seminar so I was really able to enjoy my stroll. During which I came across a few places I had only heard or read about.

Most happily, le Musée des lettres et manuscrits, which is really a must-visit for any book, literature, manuscript, history loving person. It is a small, dreamy, very neat and tidy intellectual and cultural destination. My foggy head meant that I was not able to focus on the exhibit, but I found some treasures in the shop.

Most deliciously, Hugo & Victor, which actually was kind of a let-down. It was beautiful, but not as jaw-dropping as I had expected. Then again, my upset stomach probably meant that I was not the best judge of mouth-watering pastries. I still really enjoyed looking and was most intrigued by the seasonal specialties created out of various citrus fruits. The tarts in particular looked really fabulous. But my only purchase was some marshmallows for my sister.

Most fun, Fragonard, which while very touristy, impressed me mostly because of its very friendly and helpful staff and for its very reasonable prices for perfumes. Once in a while I decide that I want to wear perfume. I go into a department store and smell a million different scents. I usually find one that I love and spray it on myself. Then I don’t like it anymore. Then I give up and go home and forget the whole idea for a while. But I really do like the idea of having a scent that I and others associate with me. I want it to be extremely light, an eau de toilette, not a perfume. I want it to be citrusy but a little sweet. I know what I want, but I cannot find it.

After a hail storm drove me into a bar for a green tea, I made it to my seminar. This turned out to be a great thing as I learned an enormous amount from the presenters and as it was my first experience sitting in on a French seminar/class. I was not, however, brave enough to join part of the group for drinks afterwards, which I now regret. It would have been very beneficial and maybe even fun to get to know other scholars with similar interests. I definitely need to push myself in this arena much more and overcome my insecurity and feelings of inadequacy regarding myself as a historian and regarding my ability to converse, freely and fully, about history, in French. Next time!

Today I still don’t feel 100% so I have stayed home and have been more or less productive. Tonight, a get-together. Which I will not cop out of at the last minute! I am including it here to hold myself accountable.




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