Just as I remember but now so many more tourists
03.05.2012 - 25.05.2012 14 °C
Today was lace day ........ to seek out and obtain the lace for Sally's wedding guess . Looking up the trusty ( if aging) French/English school dictionary (words never change their meaning) the previous night, I find that the dictionary only describes shoe laces! The word is dentelle so I am looking in fabric shops for a sign that says dentelle or mariage. I've googled the words French Lace and several blogs appear describing what sounds ideal. The shops areal located in Montmartre, which is what was described by the waitress at dinner on Monday night. Sweet ....... one of my favorite films "Amelie" is set in Montmarte and the Sacre Cour Church is also there, so I'm intending to go anyway.
Making the fabric shops my first stop, Reine had the most gorgeous layout of a fabric shop. Looked at the laces but no one was interested in serving me. The fabric shops I went to are like stepping back to "Are You Being Served", with assistants behind deep old wooden counters with timber yard sticks. You can't serve yourself - you have to be shown the fabric. No dramas, there is another shop just like this one across the road called Dreyfus. OMG I was meant to come here ..... their patchwork fabric is 8€ a metre! They have an amazing selection of toile. Wishing I had a bigger luggage allowance and a bigger budget, its sew hard to resist but I am here for Sal's lace. There are five floors of all different goodies ..... what Lincraft have on one level, Dreyfus have 100% more over the different levels .... not well displayed ......... you have to know what you want and look for the price, but there is an assistant at most of the tables of fabric. I ask someone for mariage dentelle and told it's on the second floor. Three Muslim women got there before me and are fussing over netting for a veil!!!!!!! How does that work and how do they wear that I ask myself. Spotting bolts of THE LACE, on shelves behind the French-only- speaking "Mrs Slocum"', I ask to see the bolts in the corner as they are what we want. There are two mannequins from the 1920's with the different mariage fabrics and laces draped on them. I've undone several bolts to examine the meter age and the design but none are suitable yet. I point to one of the sad looking mannequins with straw hair and say "exactement, sil vous plait". Mrs Slocum undoes the bolt and I nod and say one metre sil vous plait. The aging wooden metre ruler is placed on the lace and before you know it, she is writing the order on what looks like a raffle docket. THE LACE is carefully wrapped in tissue paper with a special sticky label that indicates it is mariage dentelle and I am told to go to the "caissier" to pay. The ""caissier" sits behind a 1950's wooden and glass enclosure behind a cash register and an EFTPOS machine. I have to show my Passport because I am using a Travelmoney MasterCard and when you put your card in the machine, it knows you are from Australia and says Patience Please and then Signature. There's some eye rolling happening from the woman in the "caissier" as she has to record my passport number, city and country of origin on yet another piece of paper. I sign and think how lucky I am to have Sal's wedding dress lace from a shop from Paris. I can't leave without looking at the toile and other gorgeous textiles again. I head to level 4 ....... the bolts of toile are devine and I audition them in my head. Turning around, I see packets of ready made curtain panels in blue and cream toile for 29€ per panel. It would look great in the dining room at Rosella close ...... I never could decide what to put there. Two panels would be enough I guess, so I've bought two panels and two meters of gorgeous patchwork fabric. Might have to post it home (but not letting the lace out of my sight).
Montmartre has become very touristy since I was here in 1977 and being a beautiful sunny (yes, sun for a change) day, there are sooo many people around; including ladies with wheelie bags buying fabric from some of the other many fabric shops in the rues here. There are "coupons" .... bargains of pre cut fabric mainly for clothing piled high on tables with security men watching for pick pockets and thieves.
Looking up, I see the funicular railway that takes you up the steep hill to the Sacre Cour. Getting off it is like walking into the set of "Amelie", however the photo booth has been removed. There are photo booths EVERYWHERE in Paris, at every Metro but the one from the movie is gone! Photographed out of existence by other fans of "Amelie"? My little travel companion and mascot .... my soft toy reindeer, Rodney, has his photo taken overlooking the view of Paris and is then repacked in the netting of my backpack. He has a habit of sticking his head in the photos I've been taking here. The next time I look for him for a photo shoot he has been stolen. I feel sick and devastated. There are signs everywhere to watch out for pickpockets and its so crowded here, I'm just thankful it's not my passport or money .... but it certainly puts a damper on my mood.
You can go to the top of the Sacre Cour for the most magnificent view of Paris and look out to the Eiffel Tower where I'd been yesterday. Why not! The sign says it's 300 marches ...... 300 stairs. It must have been a French person who invented spiral staircases because the 300 marches were nothing compared to the tightness and spirallyness of the stairs .... I was getting giddy but the view from the top was worth it. The disadvantage of most of the people climbing the 300 marches was we appeared to all be on long- service leave ..... namely, not young and sprightly. The panting was evident above and below me .... there was no overtaking space so we all huffed and puffed until we reached the top where there were sandstone seats to sit on. The pigeons are everywhere here, including at the top of the Sacre Cour and you can hear them cooing and getting in the photos. It was a lovely clear day for overlooking this beautiful city. It's difficult to believe this is me over here on the other side of the world, experiencing these long-planned for adventures. Pausing to take it all in and prepare for the spirally descent, I go to get my little mascot, Rodney, and realise he's not there.
I've arranged to meet Renee at her work so I can watch her team, the WISP (Women's International Soccer Paris) team play a night game. I 'm only a few metro stops from where the game is so I try to call Renee. The TravelSIM card works differently from an ordinary SIM and it's taken me a long time to get it to work. I leave Renee a message that I will meet her at the metro near the soccer field. She texts me that my calls are registering on her phone but she can't hear me. There are two exits at the metro ...... yup, I chose the wrong one but eventually we see each other and head off to the field. Upon introduction to Renee's coach, we get talking and his family home is at Mt Riverview! He played soccer for the Redbacks (same team as Lisa and Sally)' and went to Penrith High School and was in Liam's year. OMG, is this weird or what! Then he asks if I know Sue and Howard Kennedy .... because his friend is their son, Ben!!! They only live across the road from me and have done so since 1993! The coach is Simon Martin and his brother, Tristan, was in the same year at PHS as Lisa! He knows Sarah Jane Gross and he went to Mt Riverview Primary School. How weird is that. Asking how he knows Renee, I am told that the International in WISP is due to the mélange of players from Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia ...... all English-speaking. It's a relief after being exposed to a foreign language, written and spoken, to converse normally, after three weeks. Apparently, Simon's wife (an Australian too) and a colleague got a website going asking for soccer players in Paris who would be interested in playing socially about a year ago and now the team are officially registered with their strips and pink socks!
The WISPies won 9-3. Some of us caught the same metro for a few stops before I had to say my goodbyes to Renee and thank her for EVERYTHING she had done for me. The next time I see her will be at Sal and Nathan's wedding; after which time I hope I can reciprocate their hospitality threefold. Renee texted me just before midnight to ensure I arrived back at the apartment safely!!!! What a sweetie.