Simone Signoret, Yves Montand and I.

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Paris is known for its lovers. There were plenty over the centuries as you can probably guess, dozens and hundreds, more or less famous ones, some even made it on the screen, Ninotchka and Count Léon d’Algout, for example. My favourite couple, however, is a real life one that made it into the movies nonetheless: Simone Signoret and Yves Montand, these glorious French actors. They made fabulous films, they drank and smoked, she won an Oscar, he betrayed her with Marilyn Monroe, and most importantly, they had an apartment on 15, Place Dauphine, on the loveliest square in all of Paris, it’s kind of secluded, but you always sense where you are: right in the middle of Paris. Each time I’m there, I pay them a visit, come rain or shine, I stroll by the Seine or cross the Tuileries, depends on where I come from, Rive Gauche or Rive Droite, I cross the Pont Neuf, my favourite bridge in the world, as the square lies on an island in the Seine, the Île de la Cité, just like Notre Dame, and there I am, happy as a child, lingering for quite some time, it’s a perfect spot for a coffee, too. The old chestnut trees were replaced some years ago, at first it looked a bit sad, these little ones couldn’t measure up to the old ones who might still have seen Simone and Yves leaving the house for cigarettes or an invitation to dinner some place fancy, but they’ve grown a bit, and the last time I visited Place Dauphine, I started looking forward to growing old with them.

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Boys’ night out.

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They look quite tired, hung over, just like their owner. But a night out that doesn’t wear you out isn’t worth mentioning, is it? Gin and tonics, loosened collars, opened shirts, one button at a time, seducing moves, glances, sultry, sleek and suicidal, another turn on some dance floor, suddenly in the daylight, another one for the road, another toast to nuits blanches, another breakfast taken in the afternoon, another headache, strangely cured by a smile the day after, that, and some more orange juice, it takes a lot of fluids to get it all out of your system, all that yummy poison, and, sometimes, sadly, the heart palpitations go as well, turning that high into a low again. But even when love isn’t there to stay, these shoes are. Bless you, Yves Saint Laurent.