It has taken over 2 1/2 years to renovate the Comédie Française theatre and find a new location for the temporary structure replacing it next to the Buren columns, called the Théâtre Ephémère. Initially, Libya made an offer but it didn’t work out. It is now going to Geneva for the Opéra des Nations, a strange choice in my opinion because the building doesn’t have much to recommend it! But at least it should be taken down by the time we move and I’ll be able to have one last photo of the Buren columns with the Palais Royal Gardens in the background!
I can’t help thinking that there should be some way, in a country such as France, of only having to work when there is no sun. I’m sure that would still give us enough working days. I know I’ve already complained about the awful weather this winter and spring but there hasn’t been a lot of improvement since I last wrote.
Today, the sun came out and the temperature has actually gone up to 14°C. That’s not exactly warm enough to be sitting out-of-doors like my friend Redfern who’s learning French in Montpellier at the moment (and posting photos on Facebook to make me envious) but it’s enough to not want to be cooped up in an office.
I could see the sun on the Palais Royal fountain from my office window so after lunch, I found an excuse to go outside. The white magnolia next to the fountain is now in full bloom and the pink one next to it will soon be out as well. There are daffodils and jonquils in all the flowerbeds. This time, I didn’t make the mistake of not wearing my parka but I still found the air surprisingly nippy.
My excuse to go out was to buy another pair of sunglasses. There must be some trick not to breaking or losing them that I don’t know about. If anyone can fill me in, please do. I seem to go through two or three pairs a year – and I don’t even wear them in winter. The only ones I manage to keep are my photogrey cycling glasses because I religously put them back in my bike bag at the end of the day.
My fashionista daughter, Black Cat, is always saying, “You’ve got new sunglasses again”. I don’t know how she can even remember what the last ones were like. I certainly don’t. So, as a result, I don’t buy those expensive ones.
They come from all over the world – Australia, Seville, Hong Kong, Basel, Ljubliana – you name it. First, you have to track down who sells them. In Australia, for example, the starting price at an optician’s is way beyond my budget, which is not the case in France, which they always have a shelf of no-brand sunglasses. In Australia, the cheap ones are in pharmacies, I discovered on my last visit.
Explaining what I want in another language isn’t that easy, but the lady in the optician’s in Seville was very helpful and I found a lovely pair, very reasonably priced. Black Cat said they looked very trendy. I wonder what happened to them?
Today, I went to a couple of optician’s in Rue des Petits Champs (home of the lovely Galerie Vivienne) but their non-brand-name ranges weren’t very good. I have uneven eyebrows so I have to make sure they are both covered. I ended up at the Optical Discount in Rue Vivienne where I usually buy my contacts. I told the man that I wanted some cheap ones but with good optical quality. He told me the glass is exactly the same as the brand names, that only the frame is different, which was reassuring. I don’t want to damage my eyes, after all.
I found a pair I liked and he gave me a nice hard case, not too big so I can put it in my handbag, and I only paid 33 euros. We’ll see how long these last!
I got caught in the cold today. I was working away in my office and suddenly realised there was sun streaming in through the windows so I thought I should make an effort and go outside. I looked at the temperature and saw it was 9°C but I figured it would be warmer in the sun. So I put on a light wool coat instead of my winter parka. I was over optimistic and nearly had my hands and ears frozen off.
I went into the Palais Royal gardens first to check the state of the vegetation and was delighted to see that the magnolias are just coming into bloom. In a couple of days’ time, they’ll be out completely. Which reminded me that we don’t have a magnolia in Blois, but the only place we could put it is behind the house in our little wood.
I wanted to buy some soapless soap (pain dermatologique) so I went to the parapharmacie which is like a drugstore or a pharmacy, but without any medication, just skincare and hygiene products, cosmetics, first aid etc. The products are usually cheaper than you would pay in a normal pharmacy. This one’s in avenue de l’Opéra. The annoying thing is that they’re all arranged in brands. I was looking for a particular brand whose name I can’t remember but I’m sure I’ll recognise it when I see it!
I went to another parapharmacie near rue Coquillère on the other side the gardens but it’s turned into a real pharmacy with a snooty pharmacist running the show. Half the shelves were empty and all she could offer, apart from Avène which I didn’t want because it becomes gluggy after a couple of weeks of use, was Lipikar by La Roche Posay. At 5.20 euro a piece, it’s going to be a luxury shower but I was too cold to go anywhere else.
I walked back down rue Coquillère past L’Imprimerie and was surprised to see that one of the two little corner shops (which a friend of mine aptly calls PADC – petit arabe du coin – little Arab on the corner) has turned into a smoothie bar. The other shop doesn’t even have a name any more. I obviously don’t get out enough to see all these changes.
I took a little detour to go past Serge Luten’s perfumery in Palais Royal gallery next to Miss Bibi on the way back home and admired their new window display. You can’t beat them for originality, can you?