The Seine arcs through the heart of Paris before sauntering to the North. From its city entrance in the southeast, past cobbled quays and massive stone walls, this alluring waterway inspires and collects stories along its tree-lined banks. The infamous Seine and its environs nurture a thousand secrets, hopes, love affairs and tragedies.
One early evening, we carried our basket with wine and cheese down to the quay on Ile Saint- Louis. A student marked his spot by the river’s edge to read. Others sat as couples or in small groups to talk or play chess or simply to absorb the setting sun.
We noticed a man to our right, almost beneath the bridge. He sat in a chair with a plate in his lap. Soon, he entered a doorway we hadn’t noticed and returned in a moment to toss water from a bowl into the river. Naturally, we watched with curiosity. “Does he live there?”
Just then, a young looking woman in a skirt far too short for her ample thighs passed in front of us. Her hair was bleached quite blond, her make-up heavy; and she picked her way carefully along the cobbled quay in high heels. She stopped then to speak with the man. He rose, offered her his chair, and retrieved another from his “room”. He ducked again inside the doorway and returned with glasses and wine. Are there hidden cameras here? Is the director just there on the bridge above?
The scene would have been perfect in one of the wonderful French cinematic productions that treat the unusual as commonplace.
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