Wow, what an interesting and rather exciting day. I started off with Breakfast In America or BIA as it is commonly known in Paris, a dose of 1950s USA on rue des Ecoles in the 5th very close to the University of Paris VI Pierre and Marie Curie and VII Denis Diderot Universities and thus the name of the street of schools or school street. BIA serves classic American breakfasts from 8:30 am to 11 pm every day as well as burgers, fries and other classic US mid-20th century restaurant dishes. The typical breakfast fare includes eggs, bacon, sausages, toast, pancakes, french toast and a never ending “cup of Joe!”, the later so untypical of France, where you receive one cup of coffee and that it it unless you wish to buy another one. I chose three banana pancakes, sausage, fresh squeezed OJ and cafe’ au lait with butter and maple syrup on the pancakes. It could have been breakfast back at Your Host in Buffalo, New York where I grew up in the 40s and 50s but it was right in the heart of Paris and before today, completely unknown to me. After breakfast I wandered north and east like a Paris Flanneur (a somewhat pejorative name for an aimless wanderer) following the spire of the Saint Chapelle until I reached the Seine River just opposite Notre Dame Cathedral.
Now if one turns right and walks along the Left Bank of the Seine for only a short distance one happens upon one of Paris’s iconic shops, Shakespeare & Co., noted as having been the first willing to Publish James Joyce’s monumental Ulysses and the hangout of intellectuals and for many years flocks of tourists. Today was no exception with tourists except WOW I walked right smack into Geoffrey Rush and what do you think the Academy Award winning 65 year old Australian actor was doing?? Trying to figure out his smart phone just like all of us in the advanced age group. He was so engrossed in his companion, a rather attractive young lady, who was attempting to demonstrate the phone’s many uses, that he did not even notice me snapping multiple photos with my smart phone-well, at least I can do that! Getting the darn photos properly into my lap top, now that is a bit more of a challenge for me. I loved Mr. Rush as Lionel Logue the speech therapist who helped George VI conquer his speech impediment and as Francis Walsingham, spymaster to Kate Blanchett’s Queen Elizabeth I. His Oscar was for his role in Shine which really brought the talented Australian actor to world audience attention. Today however, Mr. Rush was just like many of his senior citizen compatriots, trying to learn the intricacies of one of the new fangled gadgets which seem to come so easily to the younger generations but with so much difficulty to us older folks.