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April 2, 1994

Caught up — it actually is April 2 now — woke up around 1030, breakfast at 1130! and walked out of the hotel only to note that every time I'd advance my leg I'd be in pain with that dark mole. To the neighboring pharmacy just round the corner in the r. St‑D., explained the problem, they found me a kind of sticking plaster, transparent, no bandage, that did exactly what I needed: instantly, I felt fine to walk. Doesn't solve the problem, but I feel fine.

Walked to Androuet via the Pont de la Concorde, the place de la Concorde, got sprayed under the fountains, tried to get some empathy to see what Vincent likes about it all (I'm starting to), then the place Vendôme up past the Gare St‑Lazare to arrive at Androuet's, where I did the 6 trays of cheese in 3 hours, with a bottle of Moulis Chau Brillette 1990 which was a suggested best compromise as holding up better to the stronger cheeses than would a Bourgogne. 8 small pages of notes on 34 cheeses, then a sherbet for dessert, excellent, uncheeselike though vaguely lactic (I allowed myself to be surprised, a very competent, direct, pleasant, unobsequious maître d') it was in fact perfect — and it was based on goat cheese!! (à la faisselle de chèvre) Coffee and a Vieille prune d'Ente from Sarlat, quite good.

Walk back to hotel, weather lowering over the Seine: from the pont de la Concorde after one more thoughtful look at the place de la Concorde, the golden statues of the pont Alexandre‑III and the Eiffel Tower against deep blue-black clouds like in my grandfather's paintings — then cold rain almost 'til my hotel.

[Forgot to mention funny incident early on yesterday evening at hotel: in room, turned on TV, some film on poor-reception channel; in 30 seconds, an announcer cut in saying "Mesdames et messieurs, nous interrompons le film pour vous annoncer que le Président de la République vient de mourir." Booby dashes out in his pajamas thru the courtyard to tell the front desk. Four nonplussed Italian businessmen who apparently didn't understand French — well, the desk clerk came to my room, it was a film commemorating the 20th anniversary of the death of Georges Pompidou. . . It even must have looked like an April Fools joke; the only one I ever pulled and it warn't intentional!] Of course, I felt like an idiot for the rest of the evening, but hey, what else is new?

Warm bath and shave, then subways (peculiarly, I chose to get on Invalides and change twice rather than go direct from Alma). Three blocks from m° Marcel Sembat, the municipal skating rink of Boulogne-Billancourt. Sort of slummy, both building and the youth, from 15 to 27 almost all. Of the hundred or so skaters, I may well have been the oldest, possibly one man was my age.

Session from 9:15 to midnite, but I left at 11:15 because I bumped into 2 people within three turns of the rink and I felt I might be dangerous, tired and losing coördination after 2 hours on the ice. Had a good, good time though, even with two falls, one slight on a knee, one hard on my ass, wouldn't be surprised if I develop a big nasty bruise. I've got to take lessons, if for no other reason than to learn to stop instantly for safety reasons. I'm a 44 skate, by the way.

Subway and instead of getting off at Alma, I got off at Trocadéro, looked at the Eiffel Tower and the Invalides all lit up, then crossed over,​1 did the rue de l'Université to emerge and cross over again at pl. de la Concorde, to look at it under 38o rain, lit up; [. . .] and I walked back one last time to Concorde, still in the rain, now not lit — I've always preferred it at night in the rain, fortunate since it's so frequent — and back to hotel via Université; much of a broadcast, fairly interesting, about the cultural side of Georges Pompidou and the genesis of the centre Beaubourg. And now, sleep.

It occurred to me after asking the concierge at the Hôtel Baltimore my four questions, how complete they were: fix glasses!, Good Friday observance, Comédie Française and ice skating. With the demonstration in Nantes, the dictionarizing, the eating and the walking (even if this last was much less eclectic and concentrated than usual), I've had very full and varied trip [. . .]

Notes in the Diary:

1 noting that cherry trees all in bloom now, but what is this detestable mania for double-blossomed varieties? Single flowers are so much lovelier & more natural!

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