This was how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy— Earnest Hemingway, “A Moveable Feast”
I had goose bumps seeing Hemingway’s 1st apartment in Paris, on the 3rd floor of 74 Rue de Cardinal-Lemoine, located in a working-class district in the 5th arrondissement near Université de Paris. He and Hadley lived there from January 1922 to August 1923, in a two-room apartment without hot water or a toilet. On the ground floor then was a dance hall noisy in the night, and nearby the Rue Mouffetard, a marvelous neighborhood of restaurants, cafés and a public market where Hemingway would have bought the chestnuts he enjoyed nibbling on while writing his short stories.
I came to Paris with my Japanese wife to see family and to participate in the Paris marathon, one of 40,000 runners. Held in what is arguably the world’s most beautiful large city, the Paris marathon runs along some of the most culturally important and scenic landmarks, beginning before the Arc de Triomphe along the Champs-Élysées and continuing across the Place de la Concorde past the Louvre on the Rue Rivoli and further on in view of the Eiffel Tower.
There is something veritably special about a marathon: the friendliness and support of the crowds for the runners, the esprit de corps, the steady stream of humanity transcending nationality and ethnicity, the social interaction and common spirit, the light chatter in multi-languages in a truly peaceful global village.
Asics was the main sponsor for the Paris marathon. Going to pick up my runner’s ID, I was moved to see that the race was dedicated in support of victims of the Japan earthquake, and although I did not see so many Japanese runners, I was pleased to shout out “Ohayo Gozaimasu” whenever I saw any Japanese participants.
At the beginning of the marathon, the Japanese ambassador to France thanked the crowd for their support, and all the many thousands of runners and spectators paid their respects in a minute of silence. We were running for Japan. The joie de vivre, a “movable feast” in the city that Hemingway loved.
All the best,
Warren J. Devalier
©2011 Warren J. Devalier