Au revoir Paris, but no Regrets!

coquilles d'huitres

My last night in Paris was a good transition to return home. I first met up with a friend from my teenage years that I had not seen in 30 years! Bélinda and I reconnected via Facebook a few months ago. What I find totally fascinating in these reconnection stories —and that happened more than once this year— is the re-collection of my own forgotten memories. Bélinda de-fragmented my hard drive revealing a few events that I am sure glad to have recovered.
The first one was a luncheon at the famous Paris restaurant Chez Coconnas on Place des Vosges with Roland Dhordain.  Roland is a radioman —now long retired— who had been general manager of Radio France in 1965. He became a close friend of the family in the 1970’s. Bélinda also remembered us having Lunch at the Eiffel Tower with my parents the day  Jimmy Carter won the presidential election, so that was November 2nd 1976, I was 16 & Bélinda 18! Bélinda always wanted to be an English teacher and she became one! She loved purple and still does, though I didn’t notice her wearing purple mascara anymore! It was lovely to see her.

Around 7 PM we took off to rue de Rivoli to meet up with New York poet friends Yuko Otomo & Steve Dalachinsky. They had been on a European tour and they were reading at 59 rue de Rivoli for the  “Grand reopening of the Squat / Art Music Poesie”. Steve & Yuko kindly invited me to perform a few pieces. The set up was not an ideal situation for a poetry reading. Lots of people where going in and out to watch the multilevel art shows and there was no microphone. Despite the conditions, Yuko’s beautifully crafted bilingual (Japanese –English) haikus soared through the noise and fall gently into attentive ears.

Claude

Steve mesmerized the crowd with his rhythmical & entrancing poems; an improvising accordion player called Claude Parlé accompanied him. Claude improvised on my pieces too. Once again my Gascon Southern French accent drew more attention in Paris than in NYC. So I took the opportunity to declare my allegiance to the Southwest — be it Southwest Brooklyn or Southwest Occitania — and proclaimed my self-declared nationality to be Gasco-Ricain! I performed “Things fall where they lie,”  “Cranes” and “Outer outer edges”.

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Bélinda returned home after the reading. Steve, Yuko and I had a lovely walk back to my place in the 6th. When we passed the inviting outdoors oyster stand of Bistro de La Grille I couldn’t resist getting some to take back to the studio. On the video below you can see Steve skillfully carrying the mayonnaise and the shallot vinegar through Rue Guisarde. The oysters highly recommended by the écailler were Fine de Claire Nº2, I didn’t get to ask the  exact provenance; the transaction to take the oysters home was a little out of the ordinary but once I called onto the wonderful Thierry —manager for as long as I remember the place! — things eased up and we walked home with all the trimming I mention above, plus an overload of bulots, rye bread and beurre salé de Bretagne (j’ai pensé à Claire!). The oysters were delicious, very meaty and firm, not as green as the one we had in Angoulême but that was the specificity of that type of oysters. As for wine, I had bought a red Alsace wine. It had been recommended by the sommelier of the wine shop at the marché St-Germain. I asked for a light red that would go well with seafood or a light meal. He highly recommended a €10 biodynamic Alsace Pinot noir called “Lunatic”. With a name like this how could I pass. The Estate Barmès Buecher is located in Wettolsheim and totally dedicated to biodynamic  growing; this is what they say about it:

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” Wine is made on the vine and not in the winery”
…We work the vineyards bio-dynamically, that’s to say with activated preparations, according to the influence of the planets and the apogee and perigee of the moon. No synthesized chemical product is used, neither in the vineyards nor in the winery.
The aim of this is to keep the initial balance of the grapes undisturbed, and not to mask the effect of the vintages, so that the wine can show its “terroir” to the maximum and to preserve the energy it has acquired (from the bio-dynamic culture of the vines).
The soils are ploughed and hoed between November and July and then we mow the grass from August to the harvest.
The vines are planted
closely at a density of 6000 to 8000 plants per hectare to create maximum competition for the roots. This forces them to delve as deeply as possible.
No weedkillers or chemical fertilizers are used. If needed, we just use compost we make ourselves…more click here.

Many would argue about pairing red wine and oysters, but what can I say other than: this simple, clean, straight and dry red wine with a subtle tinge of red berries enchanted me! I loved it and so did my guests! Au diable les conventions!

Voilà! we ate, drank, talked into the late night — voir early morning— and when time came to separate I did something that is very Parisian among intimate friends: I gave them the trash to deposit downstairs! Now I am back home and as the song on the video says, I had a great time but  no regrets to leave Paris!


Piano: Yuko Kishimoto
Voice: Nicole Peyrafitte
recorded at Bender Studio by Sten Isachsen
May 2004