On my way to the metro I routinely grabbed “Le Parisien” to be unsuspectingly greeted by the smile of the newly elected Pope. What a day!
After coming up onto the familiar Boulevard de Menilmontant I stopped by the news papers kiosk to purchase a map displaying the cemetery's layout.
I must say that the shop keeper's mood was much friendlier this time around and even more so after he found out that the roses were for Edith.
The sky was as blue as only the sky can be, showered with the sun's radiant smile and decorated with white fluffy clouds leisurely floating below it.
A slowly melting snow was still visible on many monuments and the air held onto its crispness disguised by the sun's warmth.
As I was getting closer to the location I hoped that no one would be around upon reaching Edith Piaf's grave, which unfortunately did not happened. However I was graced with at least 30 minutes of seclusion in total and on two occasions I was on my own for a good 10 minutes, for which I am more then grateful.
“Yes, in the past life.”
Shocked by my own words, I hoped that she may have not understood my reply and I was relieved when she left without posing another question.
I have to say that the whole experience was very moving for me and it felt as if I had really known her - the most cherished were the moments with no one around to see my tears falling like a light drizzle onto the marble stone.
It wasn't easy to say goodbye, but I knew that life had to go on. While walking away, I found myself stopping and turning around for as long as I could see a glimpse of her resting place.
After stopping for yet another espresso I now headed towards Place Edith Piaf, named this way in 1981 - only a year before my first arrival in Paris.
The location of the Bar de la Place Edith Piaf was spot on, but once again the size was about half of what I remembered.
It is interesting how there is a tendency to recall the past in much bigger images.
The place was still filled with her many photos, but her voice was gone. The time had moved on and new tunes were embraced.
So today it was my turn to feel like one of those “old men (back in 1982) sitting quietly and mostly alone; beret, scarf, beer and eyes focused on the distant memory”.
It was now after three o'clock in the afternoon and I felt my tummy rumble - time to return to Place Pigalle to find a nice place for a late lunch.
As one thing leads to another, one smile (the one tucked under my coat) pulls you to another and without being aware of the connection I ended up entering the “Le Bistrot Smiley” on 37 Rue des Martyrs.
It was a perfect place for my birthday meal. A happy, creative space with a touch of eccentricity and a chariot leader (I suspect the owner - top left on the photo below) showering everyone with his bubbly energy at no extra cost.
A glass of champagne was a must! Then a “tartare de saumon” (salmon tartar) with a green salad as well as yummy bread and avocado dip.
The taste was sensational and my tummy smiled from “kidney to kidney”.
Forgetting about the “French resistance”, I marched into the premises with a white flag of surrender.
Today a different item is stored in the "outdoor fridge".
As I turned the key, my neighbour acquainted earlier, popped out from his apartment to kindly inform me that one of the doors on this floor led to the passage used by concierge (or something like this) and so there is no one behind this door to collect a “raspberry smile” hidden in a box.
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