Susan has spent a lot of time in Paris; much less so for me. Paris was a natural stop driving back to London from Torino, but we had no plans, depending on serendipity to have Paris be a big part of our trip.

Seerendipity lives. We drove into Paris in a driving rainstorm, which made driving not much fun. But we found our perfect little hotel, Hotel Millesime, 15 Rue Jacob, even finally found a place to park the car for a few nights. Dinner was a quiet affair with friends, with a final bit of advice: Don’t miss the Django Reinhardt exhibition at the City of Music in the 19th.

Cite de la Musique is beautiful architecturally, includes concert space, a museum of music, and on this occasion, a wonderfully curated Django Reinhardt show. There were guitars he had played, album covers, excerpts from contemporary radio shows and interviews, photographs of the life of this Gypsy musician. For me the recordings of Django playing with jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli topped the list. The history of jazz in Paris, the story of how Reinhardt was influenced by American jazz, then influenced American jazz with his own virtuosity- these were the stories portrayed in this exhibition ( open until January 23, 2013).

On the way back to St Germain des Pres I spotted posters for a Django tribute at an old church near Notre Dame. After an afternoon of looking at outdoor art, we heard a great concert by a trio, two guitars and upright bass, led by guitarist Frederic Belinsky. This was capped by a very pleasant dinner with friends Jeanne de St. Marie and her husband Bruno (we first encountered Jeanne when Sus did an article about her children’s book illustrations featured at a gallery show at Telluride Gallery of Fine Art).

Jeanne de Sainte Marie

Closing the circle, we were on the road the next morning, driving across northwestern France to the Channel Tunnel at Calais. We arrived at Heathrow in time to drop the rental car, change clothes, and take the “Tube” to downtown London to meet friends for dinner. We had a late and leisurely dinner, cabbed back to the airport Hilton, then crashed to get ready for our flight back to New York the next day.

Things have been hectic and emotional since we got back to the U.S., and I’m writing this in the noise of Hurricane Sandy, who is rattling windows and nerves. But behind it all are memories of a wonderful time with friends, spectacular locales, great food and wines. These will sustain us until we are back with our friends in our own spectacular locale: Telluride.

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