The Place: Place de la Sorbonne, Paris, France. 75005. A little café on the shady side of the place where scenes from the film Paris (2008) were filmed. I'm sitting in the exact spot where one of the actors was seated.
The Time: About 2:35 in the afternoon. Georges and I have just had lunch, some wonderful soup at a nearby "Chinois" restaurant. We came here for a coffee before he headed back across the Place to work.
The Scene: Always bustling with students, locals and tourists. There's a big tent set up just in front of the doors to the Sorbonne for a blood drive. The fountains have been turned off, either for cleaning or perhaps just because of the blood drive.
Even at this hour, the terrasse is still filled with people eating or having their after-lunch coffees.
A woman installs herself at the table to my right, then asks if I mind keeping an eye on her coat while she goes to the toilets. While she's gone, the waiter brings her a crèpe with chocolate sauce. Miam!
A girl in a red sweater and bright purple scarf sits outside on the edge of the fountain basin, reading a book. Perhaps she bought it at the librarie just across the place. Now she stuffs it in a backpack, rolls up her jacket and stuffs that in too, and checks her portable. Ah, she was waiting for someone, and he approaches with a big smile. Sweet. They walk away.
The afternoon sun reflects brightly off some of the windows opposite me, and makes the stone glow warmly, but the late October sunshine already is losing its real warmth. The leaves on the tress are golden yellow.
The cupola of the Sorbonne is surrounded by scaffolding; time for travaux, I guess. It's been like that for months already. These things take time when you're dealing with one of the oldest universities in Europe.
It's a good place to sit, look, think... and write.