Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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A Los Angeles Childhood – Day 6 –“ Midnight in Paris,” and Dead Queens and Kings
Friday, 17 June 2011 11:33

I get up early and take the #38 bus to Les Halles/Pompidou, walk over to the fountain to look at the progress of the mural. It may be done by Saturday , they tell me, because of rain. I quickly pass the Nike store which has a video of surfers riding the big wave and on to Les Halls where I will meet my friend Sonia to see “Midnight in Paris.” matinees are cheaper—6 Euros instead of 11. The movie is a romantic delight.


I learn that it is important to note that the movie is VO, version original, otherwise it would be dubbed or if it’s French, only in French. Of course Paris in the morning, what could be bad. The characters are the usual Woody Allen characters with their own neuroses, but Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, T.S. Eliott , Djuna Barnes, and of course, Alice B. among others are wonderful, walking into another time,  his movies do that so well. I remember Purple Rose of Cairo, my favorite, and how perfect that was. Now, come on, isn’t there a time when we all want to escape our ordinary lives? You know where you are now, where would you really want to be. If your joy is to put on a beret and move to Paris to be a ______________, you fill in the blank, for it. After 3-4 weeks here Paris gets noisy for me. I long for the quiet of my sweet home in the country!

After the movie, Sonia asks me if I would like to see where the queens and kings of France are buried. Of course because I am on my mission to interview the queens it is a good idea to see where they rest.

I sit in the Basilica of St. Denis, La Paroisse, necropolis of the queens and kings of France. This is a royal abbey.  They tune the massive organ for concerts to begin this very evening. There will be a full orchestra. The basilica is set up with two sections of folding chairs; the first with pillows on the seat and the back without. Outside is a giant screen and my friend tells me that since this is a Communist municipality, people can sit outside on chairs and see the concert free. 

I pay my way, 7Euros, and enter the crypt of the queens and kings. The woman at the counter gives me the last map she has of the tombs because I tell her about my mission. I meet up with a class of children and their teacher who lectures them on the importance of this place and talks about who is buried there, including Marie Antoinette and he makes the motion of off with her head. One young boy catches my eye and keeps saying “hello,” to which I reply, of course, “hello” finally having to say “goodbye” as I go off on the hunt for Jeanne, Queen of Navarre. When I find her, and compare her to the woman I see in the Gardens, there is a thorough difference in death than in life, at least in the effigy. 

It is then I meet up with Sonia again and we take the metro again to her university where the line ends. She goes off to teach a student and I stay on and proceed back to Paris with a great sense of accomplishment. I have again visited with the dead, and I just say, I respect their quiet!

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