LEX STUCK to the grand boulevards and avenues: Bagtignolles, Courcelles, Wagram, Champs-Élysées, and the Place de la Concorde. With Linda accustomed to the low gabled houses, narrow streets and canals of Amsterdam, he wanted Paris’ grandeur to impress her. Like the day before, she looked around delightedly at the scenery.

“I’m overwhelmed, and I can’t believe how busy it is on a Sunday,” she said. 

“You’d better get used to it—Paris never sleeps,” Lex said, thinking it wasn’t entirely true, as there were times and places at night where the emptiness and the silence were equally overwhelming. 

Lex followed the road into the north side of Places des Vosges, where he to his surprise was offered the choice of several available parking spaces along the park’s tall iron fence. His uncle lived opposite, in a majestic building of red bricks over vaulted arcades. 

They exited the car, Lex with a bottle of wine in one hand and a Manila envelope in the other. Linda carried a container of Hollandse Drops brought from Amsterdam, which would come in in handy for the youngsters. 

“Please remind me—what are the names of your cousins?”

“Jean-Luc and Ami. He’s eighteen, and she’s thirteen.” They crossed the street, and Linda rotated 360 degrees.  

“Amazing, how all the facades are built to the same design,” she exclaimed. “I wonder what the style is called?” 

“I’m sure my uncle will happily tell you all about it.” They entered the arcade and headed for number 28. Lex pressed the buzzer, and the concierge let them in.

Monsieur-dame,” he said from behind a small counter. He looked like a student with a weekend job. 

“Jules Lévy on the third floor is expecting us.” He nodded, and his eyes gobbled up Linda as they headed for the broad marble staircase. Lex couldn’t blame him—she looked stunning in her tight, black bell-bottoms, black turtleneck, and ankle boots. 

As they reached the first floor, a door was opened higher up. 

The concierge must have announced their arrival. 

“Hold the drops for a second,” Linda said, “I need to adjust your tie.”

They climbed to the third floor—the right-hand door of the tall, brown, carved, wooden double doors was ajar. There was no nameplate to interfere with the beautiful Rococo design. Lex knocked.  

Entrée,” Jules shouted from somewhere inside, and Lex pushed the door open for Linda to enter. He followed right behind her, and Jules walked towards them across a hallway big enough to contain their whole living room at Montmartre. Before Lex could introduce Linda, Jules said, “I’m delighted, Mademoiselle.” He held her shoulders and stretched to kiss her cheeks. 

“Thank you for inviting me.”

“Nonsense,” Jules said in perfect English. “I should thank you for making time on only your second day in Paris. I’m sure you two love birds have plenty to catch up on,” he said, offering a titter.

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