Yesterday, I only made to the front door of the archives; today I made it inside. I arriv'ed at 9:15, and made my way to the library. It is strange to think that such a monumental institution as the Alliance Israèlite Universelle has only one staff person on hand, yet compared to some other archives I've been in, this one is quite advanced. It is clean, dry, and comfortable. They even have (some) of their records computerized, though, as it turned out, none of mine were.
I explained that I wanted to see material related to Heinirch Graetz. A computer search revealed: no documents in the archives. That's impossible, I said, he headed one of the largest committees of the Alliance. I finally found him in the catalogue under Pologne (a decision that probably had hi, spinning in his grave. I went through about 80% of the file of his correspondence before the archivist told me they would be closing for lunch. Actually for the day, because in the afternoon, the room is only used as a library. Instead of photocopies, she told me I could photograph the documents I wanted with my digital camera; very James Bond).
With the afternoon free, I grabbed a sandwich, soda and dessert from a boulangerie and after a quick lunch in a park, I decided to visit the Musée d'Orsay. Unfortunately, so did every other tourist in Paris. It turns out that the Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Cluny, and Orangerie are closed on Tuesdays. I refused to wait forever just to be jammed like a sardine. Luckily, a fellow tourist looked up the Musée Carnevalet in her book and saw it was open.
Turns out it's free today -- and empty!! No waiting, no crowds. The Carnevalet is a museum dedicated to the history of the city of Paris. Lot's of great stuff from Francis I through the Third Republic. I'm ashamed to admit, however, that my energy began to flag by the time I reached the Second Empire. I decided I desparately needed coffee and sugar.
I went to Rue de Rosiers (the main Jewish street in Paris) and got a tea au lait. I tried to chat with some of the other patrons, but unfortunately, none spoke Hebrew, and only one had so,e broken English (my spoken French remains quite poor, mais se devant meilleur).
Tonight, I'm going to try to find a Jewish-Tunisian restaurant near Grand Boulevards. My other dinners so far have been forgettable, so I have high hopes.