Today I’m celebrating all things French (though lunch was at a favorite Italian place).
I do keep fancifully imagining that our family comes from a dynasty of Calvados-makers in Normandy (Coquerel), living among the apple-orchards, walking to market along the Seine past Giverny, past Bonnard’s Vernonnet, past all the landscapes of the French Impressionists, so exquisitely color-drenched. So I feel as if I am a sort of citoyenne, at least an honorary one—my heart in the right place (if on the left bank).
Some of my favorite summer reading has been Marguerite Duras’s Les petits chevaux de Tarquinia, The Sailor from Gibraltar. And then Jean Giono’s pastoral Pan trilogy, set in Provence, in a wonderful edition with full-color illustrations, borrowed from the Stanford library and kept for several years on my shelves. And now, a French translation, The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles. I’ve been thinking of the book- and print-sellers in Paris, and their ever-tempting stalls, and how I’d love to wander there, and after, find that perfect simple café near the Bastille and what I am surely wrongly remembering as being called the site of d’Artagnan’s stable—worn gray stone, an inner courtyard and an arch.
image: Gaston de Latouche, L’Intrigue Nocturne