Last Day at Montreuil

A little early morning blogging. Today’s the last day of the Salon de Montreuil, and I’ve got a couple of hours signing to do. Aileen’s already gone off to re-visit Rue Mouffetard, an open air market sort of street we fell in love with when we stayed close by last time in Paris. I think she plans to dawdle from patisserie to patisserie, cafe to cafe.

She’s taken her spoon with her for getting back into the flat. To open the door, you turn the key through two locks, then a little bit extra to draw back the latch – and that last bit is very stiff. Aileen’s long fingers can’t manage it on their own, so we re-discovered the lever principle – she inserts the handle of the spoon through the hole in the part of the key you grip, then presses down on the spoon to turn the key. A triumph of human ingenuity!!

OK, many hours later … We’re just warming up after taking an afternoon stroll around Père Lachaise cemetery. It an enormous place, bigger than Rookwood in Sydney, and filled with countless ‘sepultures’, which I guess means sepulchres – like miniature houses. All different styles, medieval and Renaissance and classical, some huge and showy, others, well, like little sentry boxes. They have a door at the front, often with a metal grille so you can see inside. Sometimes the doors are open or have fallen in, like this sepulchre Aileen’s ghouling around in –


The sepulchres are all packed in close side by side, an enormous city of the dead.

We started out looking for famous names, the sepulchre of Heloise and Abelard, and Moliere and La Fontaine. But after that it got more and more difficult – although we bumbled around looking for Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and many more, the only other one we actually found was Balzac, the French novelist. Meanwhile, it was growing colder and colder! It was a mostly sunny, but usually also means a cold day – my raincoat and padded jerkin weren’t enough to keep me warm.

Earlier in the day was my last session of signing at the Hélium stall. I shall miss it. I signed quite a few copies after a slow start – but I was also the subject of a great many photos, in my aviator’s helmet and steampunk goggles. Then, saying goodbye to everyone at the end, well, it seemed very strange and a little sad to think that we wouldn’t all be meeting again the next day! But I think Sophie and Gilberte, Bénédicte and Hélène, Cécile and Elsa – I think they’ll all need a week to recover. I had the easy job!

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2 Responses to “Last Day at Montreuil”

  1. Bénédicte Says:

    Thank you for your smile Richard ! I was really happy to meet you.

    See you soon !

    Bénédicte

    • richardharland Says:

      I had plenty to smile about, Bénédicte! Including your book selling skills. I have to admit, if I was on the other side of the counter, I wouldn’t have been able to say No either!

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