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It’s time for the first Write Edit Publish Challenge of 2020, writing on a word and picture prompt with the Insecure Writers’ Support Group.
IWSG in the 100 best blogging sites
The WEP site
The joint WEP-IWSG Challenge 2020
This Month, Café Terrace, Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
And now, without further ado, my response to this month’s prompts :
I was gazing at the square across from the pavement, sipping my café crème, half a baguette layered with demi-sel butter, a tartine, as they call it here, on the table. The square had two green wooden benches screwed to the ground and four tall poplars, leaves reaching up to the sculpted iron balconies above. Looking up Rue de Dunkerque to my left, I saw the minaret-like spires of Notre Dame du Sacré-Coeur wink at me in the setting sun.
I heard a snorting sound to my right and turned my head to find, to my surprise, two dappled grey horses with woven manes, mounted by two odd-looking gendarmes who appeared as though they had come straight from post WWI Paris. Very strange, I thought to myself. Did they still have mounted policemen in the city, in the twenty-first century ? I stared again at the horses whose hooves were beating the sleek cobbles. Where had the tarmac gone ?
Shaking my head to rid myself of the bizarre image, I picked up my tartine and dipped it into my large cup, letting the delicate taste of fresh crust and salty butter melt with the coffee corsé in my mouth. Munching, I washed it down with a gulp of scalding drink. Mmm … Heaven.
The air was alive with the frantic last twitters of the birds preparing for the night. But I was indulging in my breakfast ritual, phased-out, having worked all night editing my conference paper. That and probably some left-over jet lag. The terrace with its bistro chairs and marble-topped, silver-ringed tables was deserted, awaiting the revellers of the evening who would start by gathering to take the aperitif together before scattering onto more exciting entertainment; the boulevard theatres were just down the hill, the Follies Bergères round the corner and the Moulin Rouge at the foot of Montmartre beyond the cathedral. These places hadn’t changed much in the last hundred years. The seats were still lush red velvet , the decor still very Art Nouveau. In the surrounding streets, bistros, cafés and brasseries mingled effortlessly with Japanese, Chinese, Kebab or modern branché (hip) restaurants.
‘ La Forme est tout ,’ came a bass voice answered by a heavily accented,
‘ La Matière fait le poète . ‘
(- Form is everything.
– Content makes the poet.)
I swung round and saw a dark-haired, round-headed man in conversation with a tall, moustached, tweed-clad gentleman who had both just appeared round the corner from the street below. How bizarre, I could swear they were the spitting images of Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway. How was that possible ?
They sat down two tables to my left and I stared. The one who resembled Pablo looked up and caught my eye, a dark glint and cocked brow checked my gaping mouth which I slammed shut. He then turned towards his Ernest-looking friend and they resumed their discussion.
‘ The first thing they will see when they behold a painting is shape and colour, ‘ Pablo said.
‘ The first thing they will feel is the texture of a cover, then, reading, the atmosphere of the setting, the depth of the characters, ‘ replied Ernest.
A waitress appeared. She must have just started her shift because I hadn’t seen her before. She wore a long brown skirt, a frilled cream-white blouse, a laced apron and a white ribbon in her hair. Not really in keeping with the latest French fashion shows.
‘ Que prendront ces Messieurs ?’
‘ Un p’tit blanc sec ‘.
‘ For me a whiskey on the rocks’.
‘ Bien Messieurs’.
She turned towards me and asked with a distinct smirk, or was I imagining it, on her lips,
‘ Et pour vous, Monsieur, encore un grand crème ?’
‘ No thank you, a beer please,’ I replied curtly.
She disappeared inside and I saw Pablo and Ernest glancing in my direction and chuckling. I was the dindon de la farce , as the French would say, a joke which I didn’t understand. I frowned at them. This was surely a dream, a mirage. I would wake up in a puff of smoke, my head on a pillow.
The Sacré Coeur chimed seven and a red Mazarutti stormed by . I turned back towards Ernest and Pablo but in their stead were Brad and Leonardo. So I finished my tartine and took out my papers from my battered satchel. I had to prepare for my lecture tomorrow at the Sorbonne across the river. I read the title again : The Power of Suggestion during the Surrealist Period.
WORD COUNT 772 FCA.
Thank you for visiting. If you would like to comment and help me improve my writing, I welcome all FCAs. Below the critique codes.
Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen, here
Paris directed by Cédric Klapisch, here
with my favourite French Actors and Actresses : Juliette Binoche, Romain Duris, Fabrice Lucchini, François Cluzet, Albert Dupontel, Mélanie Laurent.
and here to know more about this 2008 fabulous film with music from Erik Satie’s Gnosienne.
And now for a guided tour of Paris with my most recent pictures, Summer and Winter.
Paris, August 2019
Rue de Montmartre
Rue de Dunkerque
Tour Saint Jacques
… sorry don’t know how to turn it ….
Rue des Jeuneurs
Théâtre Marie Bell
Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle
Notre Dame de Paris
Le Pont Neuf et le Louvre
La Tour Eiffel vue du Pont Neuf
Sur les Berges de la Seine
Quartier de la Goutte d’Or, Rue de Clignancourt
Please feel free to like, dislike, discuss and I will be sure to reply.
Looking forward to reading your exciting takes on the prompts. Warm sunshine here in Toulouse. Spring is here, flowers blooming, birds a-nesting. Beware the April frost. See you in a fortnight for a new monthly question from the Insecure Writers’ Support Group.