Thursday, December 17, 2015

Schulenberg's Page: Paris, Part XXXVIII

Treva Silverman, April 19, 1964.
Schulenberg's Page: Paris, Part XXXVIII
Text and illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

Paris, 1964. My friend, Treva Silverman arrived from New York for a visit and I received a "desperate" call from her. She had booked herself into a tourist-friendly hotel near American Express and the Opera and she hated it! She also hated Paris and she told me she was going to check out and as soon as she could and go to London.

I told her to calm down and wait, and the next day I had her check into the Hotel du Danube on the rue Jacob near where I was living in Saint-Germain-des-Prés; the Danube was a hotel with more charm than tourists in an eighteenth-century building.
Place Furstenberg where Delacroix had his studio.
Treva soon realized that staying near the Opera and American Express in Paris was like a visitor to New York staying at a hotel in Times Square to see how real New Yorkers lived!
La rue Jacob.
I took her on a walk through my neighborhood and saw the merchants and restaurateurs preparing for customers.
I'd have drawn her had I seen her! Typical concierge.
She saw this part of Paris that had not yet been discovered by tourists. I was living nearby close to St. Sulpice at #6, rue Clement — the shortest street in Paris — a hotel that was so inexpensive that it was then only the equivalent of $2.50 a night!

I very recently checked and found that not only has the neighborhood changed and the hotel been reimagined into a chic boutique hotel, now named "le Clément," but that my room on the third floor has also been "reimagined."
Here's me in the meager room of the hotel that "Darling Jo" Rosenberg (the hoped-to-be Duchess of Argyll — it didn't happen) always referred to as "that shit-heap!"
That's Darling Jo (on the right).
I also checked the prices and a room like the one I was living in is now $150 a night, while "my room" has taken on a different appearance.
But after 50 years, so have I!
Treva and I continued our walk through the neighborhood and stopping in front of a small restaurant where the owner was sitting, taking the stems off of strawberries, Treva admired the beautiful child playing in the restaurant doorway. The woman smiled at us and told us to come back later for dinner, winked and gave us each a delicious strawberry. Winking again, she said, "Do you like the kid? You can have him too! No charge!" I translated this for Treva who gave a big smile and said, "now — j'aime Paree!"
Marco Chez Marco at La Cave de l'Odeon preparing for the evening.
A few years later, she moved to Paris for a stay.
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