My trip to Paris

Read Part Four.
Read the whole thing on The Diaries page.

My trip to Paris
April 5 – 14 1941

April 7

Ursula and I woke up about 7.0 and got up for breakfast at 9.0. There is in our room a wash basin behind a screen, a foot bath in a cupboard, two beds, a table, a chair, an armchair, a hanging wardrobe, a cupboard with heaps of shelves, and a full length mirror. There are pink cabbages on the wallpaper.

After breakfast, about 10.0 we walked to the Musée de [Cheroy?]. All cameras have to be left at the desk. There are wonderful tapestries and things there, and some lovely jewellery. All the lace has been sent out of Paris because of the crisis last September.

An attendant, (who smelt of beer and sausages) explained things to Urs and I, and every other word seemed to be “siècle”. There are long rooms with polished floors, and in one part a funny little staircase leading to a gallery with china all around it.

In the courtyard in front of the Musée we take photographs. There is a bird bath there. Then we walk to the entrance hall of the Sorbonne, which is another vast, chilly place, with heaps of gigantic statues in it.

The gendarmes seem to be nice too! We sit in a café opposite the hotel (by ourselves) and drink citronade, before lunch, which was sardines and beetroot. The dining room walls are covered with mirrors, and the hall outside, which are very useful for watching people! One we have nicknamed TDH, and another Specs! We sit at tables of six. I am with Urs, Olive, Gwen, Marion and Eleanor.

After lunch we went to the Louvre but it was shut. We went through the courtyards (where there are hundreds of kids all rollerskating) and walked through the Tuileries gardens. We could see the Eiffel Tower in the distance, also the Chambre des Deputies, Les Invalides, the Madeleine etc.

Passed the Place Carrousel – which is an arch – and came to the Place de la Concorde. There is an obelisk in the centre here, and a statue for all the big towns of France. Facing us is the Champs Élysées, with the Arc de Triomphe at the top. At the bottom end we walked under trees, but oh! you would never think it such a long way to the top!

There are taxi ranks up the centre, and such a bustle! We go through some arcades on the way up, and down into a café where we have iced drinks. (They cured my toothache too!) Then we go into a dog shop which was adorable, or rather the dogs were. There seem to be heaps of car shops.

Then we arrived at the Place d’Étoile with the Arc de Triomphe. This is a terrific thing. I didn’t think it was so big. Right in the centre is the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, with its flame at one end which never goes out. We tear ourselves away and turn right down a subway to the Metro station of Chatelet. The Metro has a distinctive smell, quite indescribable. We walked then home to the hotel.

We had dinner at 6.30. Being Friday Cooky asked if I could have fish. They bring me a gigantic one, a whole one! It must have been baked or something as it was entire. It had a monstrous head. I eat the tummy part only. We also had white wine which we must dilute with water so that it becomes extremely uninteresting.

Then we go into the salon for a meeting. We talk and talk and so on, after which some of us go to a cinema and see William Powell in “Double Wedding” and Joan Crawford in “The Bride Wore Red”. They were very good although both in French.

We get home around 10.30 and go straight up to bed.


Read Part Six.

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