When my husband was little, if he was having an awesome time, he'd say, "I'd better eat some green peas," because he hated green peas, and I guess he somehow felt he needed some kind of punishment for having so much fun (he's Swedish, meaning there's a big streak of Lutheran in him). I kind of feel the same way on this trip, like someone should feed me, I don't know, a plate of those wieners at the Frankfurt airport, just so this trip isn't all fun and games.
Two nights ago, after I posted, Mom and I went for dinner with my translator, Valerie Le Plouhinec, and Helium's editor, Gilberte Bourget. They took us to a tucked-away gem of a restaurant in Le Marais called Le Hangar. We had so much fun. I found out how Valerie came to be a translator, and I understand she's one of the best in France (she would never say so, but I've had a lot of people tell me it's a fact!). Gilberte is a constant joy to be around, so funny and kind. We laughed till we cried, and ate a fantastic meal - so good that Mom and I are going back there tonight.
Valerie et Gilberte (Gilberte, you look beautiful! And your head does not look big).
For some reason I was seated beside this decorative gourd.
Yesterday (Friday) I had the day free till 5 pm, so Mom and I had our first real day as tourists. We went to the Musee D'Orsay, then wandered through St. Germain Des Pres, with stops at two of my all-time favourite stores, Deyrolles (a must-see - Adam Gopnik wrote about it in "Paris to the Moon") and Le Grand Epicerie at Bon Marche (I don't know how to get accent agus).
Mom outside Notre Dame Cathedral.
Then it was back to the book fair for a signing. I got dressed up because I knew we were going to dinner afterward.
I wore my new Fluevogs (well, newest - I bought them last year). See, I wanted to look like une vraie Parisienne. The problem is, I never wear heels. I never wear heels because they hurt my feet. But my vanity won out, I was wearing the shoes! Here is a photo of them, for future reference, because they come back into play later.
The signing turned out to be really fun, due to three reasons. 1) I actually met a handful of my French fans! There's something so neat about knowing your books are being enjoyed in another language. Maybe that sounds lame, or obvious, but it's the first time I've met any of my readers from another country. 2) The Helium staff. I LOVE these women. Sophie Giraud, the Editorial Director, Gilberte, Rozenn Sampson - such warm and caring and funny women. 3) I met Steven Guarnaccia. He is an exceptional illustrator from Brooklyn, New York, and we hit it off immediately (well, I won't speak for him, but I liked him right away). Talk about six degrees of separation - it turns out he's good friends with my new U.S. publisher, Wendy Lamb! What are the odds, I ask you?? This picture gives you an idea of what it's like to do a signing in Paris.
!! Can you imagine a sight like this anywhere in North America? Je pense not!
A good time was had by all.
Afterward we went out to dinner. Mom and I took the Metro with Sophie and Gilberte, and the others drove. We got lost on the way to the restaurant. This is where the shoes come back into the story. I cursed those g.d. shoes every extra step I walked. I would have sold my soul for a pair of Reboks at that moment! At all. When we found the restaurant, I almost crawled in. But it was kind of like hiking up a mountain - you get tired and sore along the way, but then you get to the top and the views make it all worthwhile. The dinner was so much fun. There were other authors and illustrators there, as well as all of the people I've mentioned above. So much fascinating conversation and laughter. Plus Rozenn (who is 25 and so adorable I want to put her in my pocket and bring her home) taught Steven how to eat his foie gras pate properly. The food was delicious. The restaurant was Le Comete, on Rue de la Roquette, but I don't even know what neighbourhood we were in.
Today was my day off, so Mom and I slept in, then we took the Metro to Le Grand Palais and saw two exhibits, Raymond Dupardon and Felix Valleton. Both were very good, but I loved the Felix Valleton. Afterward we walked toward L'Arc du Triomphe on Champs Elysee, then back down through a Christmas market, where I bought chestnuts.
Then we walked down to the Ferris Wheel, and dammit I just really wanted to ride on it! So we did. Normally I'm here in July, and the thought of lining up is horrid. But today we waited ten minutes. And you know what? It was worth every euro (10 to be exact). Great views.
We meandered our way home through the Tuilerie Gardens and beyond. Then shopped like maniacs at a store in Le Marais called, "Les Aventurs du Toile." Tomorrow I go to a book store, and another signing at the fair ... I'll let you know how it goes. And no - I won't wear my high-heeled Fluevogs!