Fridaymorning 21st June we left at 04.00 AM for a trip to France, first to Paris, where I want to go visit the locations Bob Richel held so dear, and after that we go to the Richel family for some final archival research and interviews. There are still some things unclear of what Bob has been doing, mainly after his retirement and there are still questions about his divorce. But first we had to go to Paris, and actually it was quite smooth. We got there in about five hours, and the traffic around the city wasn’t as bad as we expected. The traffic in the city was a nightmare. We had Zürich on the number one spot for bad traffic, but Paris takes the crown.

First up on our visit was Père Lachaise, the famed cemetary of Paris, and as fortune would have it just a five minute walk from our chambre d’hote. It was a grand experience. Not only did we look at the graves of people Bob admired, but we had some of our own visits that needed to be done, like the graves of Maria Callas, Jim Morrison, Camille Pissarro and Georges Seurat. Having been there, it gives me a better image of the visits Bob made there with his wife and sometimes daughter, and I can make a fair description of the place.

Second day was devoted to the Marché aux Puces at Porte de Clignancourt, a flea market where Bob loved to stroll around, looking for something interesting. Well the whole market is interesting. You can buy anything there from old comics, to pornographic videocassettes (which might not have been available in the fifties) to guns and furniture. These merchants have shops, unlike the way flea markets in The Netherlands take place. Having been there is a huge help in describing the Paris paragraph.

Third day was the visit to the bookshops along the Seine river, and I found a location that Bob might have found interesting: the former home of alchemist Nicholas Flamel. It is situated at the 51 Rue de Montmorency, not too far from the Notre Dame cathedral. Nowadays it is a restaurant with a michelin-star, and a Nicolas Flamel menu was 42 euro’s per person. We skipped that and went to our favorite Lebanese restaurant in Gambetta, Chez Sophine.

Tomorrow we will have a final Paris day, where we will visit the catacombs, and some of the small parks around the city. My wife needs to go to a hobby shop, and I will start the hunt for the Dictionnaire Infernal by Collin the Plancy. Although our feet hurt right now, we still have a lot of energy. Paris energizes you. It is a remarkable city, sometimes a silly city, sometimes I hate it, but this afternoon, after crashing the Black Dog pub in Les Halles and having enjoyed a Belgian beer and some mayhem coming out the establishment, I have been revigorated.

© 2019  Wilmar Taal

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