You are never likely to feel you are the first visitor to Paris. I imagine it might be like visiting one of those boudoirs of pleasure and thinking the lovely mademoiselles, monsieurs or, those more fluid in their sexuality, have been idly knitting for years waiting for to walk triumphantly through the door with thousands of Francs, or those naughty Euros they use nowadays phew, to take their virginity away.
And while you won’t be the first one, use can always use your imagination to spice your visit your visit. Some things you might not be comfortable doing at home just yet. For me, I set myself a little mission, the idea first coming from my lovely AirBnB host in Pigalle, which is not far from some very naughty areas. My host mention on a visit to a little cocktail bar called Le Rosebud – which I’m guessing means The Rosebud – she saw Scarlett Johansson having a drink.
So like a pilgrimage to Sacre Coeur, I set out to walk from Pigalle to Le Rosebud. This is a precursor to a walk I plan from Austria to Denmark to commemorate the Danish soldiers taken prisoner during the Second Schleswig War of 1864 with Denmark versing Austria, and jolly old Prussia. Denmark lost leaving many Danish prisoners of war having to walk home from Austria after their release some years later. It’s all in the Danish TV miniseries Denmark’s War which has nothing to do with France.
Along the way I hoped to discover some less common Parisian sites, such as a well frequented British style restaurant or a bathing house. I started not in Sacre Coeur, as the above photo would suggest, which was in the opposite direction to Le Rosebud, but it is a pretty building so I am still putting photos of it here, even though I didn’t visit it until the next day, such a crazy and spontaneous person I am. I didn’t go inside because there were these massive lines and why the f*ck would you want to line up to go to church on a Sunday. No offence God.
Instead I headed down the narrow Parisian streets that seem cast by a species of spider, with webs striking out in different directions from central points, crossing each other then going along in their own merry way, and then somehow coming together again at another point. Why the objection to straight lines? I’m not sure, given the generally accepted principle that the quickest way between two points is a straight line, but there you go, maybe like my travelling attire, it is just not cool, who knows.
I started out the typical French bakeries, patisseries and fresh fruit and vegetable stalls. Then entering several passages, including the Passage Jouffroy and Passage Verdeau which negate the need to navigate some of the streets and which contain a number of eclectic french style shops with old books and satanic occult parrots with hands.
Then down the Rue Vivienne, which leads to the Jardin du Palais Royal, where I had to sit and contemplate why short columns that don’t hold up anything are art. before heading on my way again.
Then past a bunch of locks which weren’t protecting any bicycles and over to see Notre-Dame. I remember seeing a sign for the Bastille at some point and I headed that way only to loose track and giving up as it didn’t seem to be on the way to Le Rosebud.
And then I entered Jardin des Plantes, where I discovered, lots of flowers and a mob of wallabies munching on the lawn. Being Australia, I always just want to pounce on them and eat them whenever I see them, but there was this big fence, and, you know, hippies around who don’t think it’s proper to eat animals unless they’ve served up at the Gyros shop. You can make a nice ragu from the tail.
I noticed whilst there that on Google maps there was this Galerie de Paleotologie et d’Anatomie comaparee, which turned out to be a dinosaur and animal bones place, also in the Jardin des Plantes. This turned out to be a good old school museum just crammed with STUFF. I hate modern museums where they try and have themes and shit. I just love lots of old STUFF shoved in a room. Seriously, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Bunch of skeletons with labels in an old room just fine by me.
Getting back to my epic quest, the museum is also the home of the remains of Lucy, one of the first humanoids discovered by other humans, and the name of the movie Lucy which Scarlett Johnasson starred in, where she took this drug which gave her the ability to use such a percentage of her brain power, like 100%, that she transported herself back to actually meeting Lucy herself! My daughter says the whole concept of someone using so much of their brain they can do such things is a load of bullshit, and that we’re already using most of our brain. I know she’s smart and gets mostly As and stuff, but don’t listen to her, I’m sure Scarlett Johnasson would not accept money to act in a movie that didn’t have a very sound scientific basis. I also have a theory of time travel where I come to the conclusion it is not possible which you can read here: the Zen Cleaning Robot.
I also had a best friend from high school who got into drugs and his brain just turned to mush and in the end they were kind of f*cked in the head, and pretty dumb, with barely an ability to get off the couch in a hurry let alone go do some time travelling. So maybe it ain’t possible.
At this stage my feet were very, very tired and the bar Scarlett Johnasson drank at the other day was still some way off, and at this stage it was not even open. So I kept walking. I can’t remember now in which direction, but it was in the vague direction of the bar. At some stage, to avoid looking like a desperate loser hanging outside the bar until it opened, I spent some time resting my legs at this park where this statue is, which I don’t know the name of, and which at this stage I can’t even bother to look up on Google maps.
And eventually I arrived at Le Rosebud, grateful the battery on my iPhone was still struggling by with less than 6% remaining, just long enough to guide me there. Still a little early, I walked around the area browsing the selection of sweets at the sweet shop before heading inside.
I sat down and ordered a cocktail, and I can’t even remember what the f*ck it was now, looks like it might have been a martini, though I vaguely recall asking for a mojito, whatever it was it freaking awesome. I was just happy to get a bit tipsy after such a long walk. I really don’t see the appeal of paying to go to the gym, I mean the pain of exercise is fine when you’re going somewhere like a bar a really long way away where you can see things along the way, but to pay to be in a room where you do all this sweating, making love aside of course, seems ludicrous.
I drank and listened to a conversation of two Americans sitting next to me and kept glancing around to see if I could spot Scarlett Johnasson walking in looking all famous. Like I really actually thought just because she drank there a few days ago she would be back like some fancy Hollywood alcoholic who has to race into the bar as soon as it opens, or that she was even still in Paris. And no, there’s no amazing twist to this story, where she actually came in and sat next to me and I was too nervous to even talk to her (though I almost certainly would have been LOL), or that the American woman next to me actually was Scarlett Johansson and I didn’t even recognise her, though I do often confuse her with some other actress, so who knows.
Instead I hung around a while longer and, because I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, I ordered a chilli con carne.
And that’s it.
This is the chilli con carne.
It was pretty good for a chilli con carne, but I’ve spent a while in Mexico, and I’m marrying a Mexican woman, which has nothing to do with the story, I just love to mention my Mexican amorcito, and really the concept of a chilli con carne is somewhat of an abomination, so even the best one is kind of shit and not at all Mexican. But on the other hand I did polish off a few bowls of some of the finest olives and delectable French bread. And I did manage to at least finish the chilli con carne, though looking at the menu again, and if I wasn’t such a cheapskate, I probably would have gone for the steak or something like that.
And after that, I just got up, had another quick look for Scarlett, then just walked all the way back to Pigalle, where, if my feet were hands, they probably would have murdered me so they wouldn’t to embark on such a ludicrous walk again.
The next day, I ignored my feet and I walked all the way from Pigalle to the Eiffel Tower and back.
And that’s it.