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At a Youth Hostel

Tours, France, Sept. 7, 1974 For the sake of record I’ll mention that in Boulogne all my things were stolen and since then I spent $300 replacing them and another $185 on a Student Rail Pass. Also for the record I’ve been to Paris by hitchhiking in a Renault van a fellow bought for 800 francs and fixed up himself who was also going to the Fête de l’Humanité where the Kinks and Leonard Cohen were supposed to play. Got picked up with a Canadian from Ontario with whom I stayed in Paris, mostly at Hotel Excelsior #37 15 francs a night. Four nights in all in Paris. The large Raft of Medusa, Napoleon Coronation, Ingres all hold much attention (although the Oath of Horatii still didn’t seem that great).

Tours, France, Sept. 8, 1974 Gare à Bordeaux were much more impressive in person than the slides I saw in classes. A tad more appreciation of artistic value. Louvre for the most part was ostentatious and gaudy but the treasures Mycienne et Minoanne were well worth the visit. Also DaVinci’s Mona Lisa was very good as well. It’s fame well deserved. The show of Joan Miró was very complete and what impressed most were the ceramics and weaving. The paintings lacked something in such great numbers, better just a few to contemplate rather than such overdose. Cézanne was his normal boring self, only one or two paintings of interest.

But by far the most consuming artwork in Paris is the Nymphaes of Claude Monet. These truly change my opinion to the better. Formerly I despised Monet’s haystacks and cathedrals but when seen correctly, as preparatory to his monumental Nymphaes and also Water Lillies in New York, they are well worth Monet’s time although the preparatories are are not really worth much of our time.

Walking down Champs-Élysées was something to dig with overstuffed tourists, young people, Hare Krishna and all. Dug that scene several times. In vain searched for nite time W.C. at Arc de Triomphe. Oh well. Also Africans peddling wares all over Montmartre was very impressive and that seems to be the place where the tourist should go to avoid crowds. The Latin Quarter, although good books, was too crowded.

Shopped TATI for many low-priced goods. With a very heavy new bag full of new goods, I left Paris by train on Sept. 7, yesterday.

Versailles was very big with 75-100 buses full of tourists there. The place was so crowded that at times I had to keep my guitar over my head. It is fitting that decadents wander like that through that gaudy, poor taste palace.

Next I stopped at Chartres Cathedral where I heard Mass. Very, very impressive place, especially the window to the right as you walk in. The Catholic service seems very strange among all the flash bulbs and whispering tourists, but the cathedral is very good. What else can you say?

Spent last night in Tours youth hostel where I was interrupted while writing by two English students, one Manchester and one Cambridge. They were traveling to beaches down south for one week before school starts. Received a gift from two Japan travelers of some folk craft sandals. He pointed out in his dictionary.

Am on a fast train to Bordeaux where I will station myself for a few days and look at the countryside of Toulouse, Lourdes, etc. Like also to visit the Lascaux caves, but I can’t remember where they are found. Am madly running to Spain and Portugal where clothes will be cheaper to buy.

~ Journal entries, Sept. 7-8, 1974

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