I'm afraid as I left the church at Combray I failed to find a tea shop serving madeleines, so it was off directly to "Tante Leonie's house," the former home of Proust's great-aunt and the current home of the Societe Marcel Proust. I was completely in my element here - there were more books, photographs, and letters than you could shake a stick at. The entire town seemed small and, well, provincial - it was easy to imagine Tante Leonie peering out the window from her bed and gossiping with her cook about any strangers who walked by. I could so easily see how a fairly small house could take up so much space in a young child's memories; my grandma's house is the same, bigger on the inside (of my head) than the outside, a Tardis only somewhat expanded because of my being small. And I loved the kitchen, with its ancient stove; no wonder she who was its master felt herself superior to most.
I avoided the temptations of the book shop and turned from the door in search of the riverside walking path referred to as "The Guermantes Way." Iliers-Combray has a tiny remnant of buildings from the time of Joan of Arc clustered on a bit of open space that might belong still to a duke of some sort - a tower next to a pond (see yesterday's picture) and a, er, pointy building of some sort. The street passing by them led to the "Pre Catalan" walk, once over "the old bridge" - and there I was, walking on the riverside, on the Guermantes way! The very fish, the very lilypads, the very songbirds of which he wrote! I was distracted by the Jardin Marcel Proust and poked around inside its lovely grounds for a while, then caught up with the path, then - at last - headed for the station. (Swann's way is apparently a mile out of town at Tansonville, and I didn't think that was really in the cards for the day.)
Back to Paris and a completely uninspiring dinner at Perraudin (thirty euros, bah) that left me missing Italy. Now it's off to the Bois du Boulogne, where I'll see the island restaurants where Odette was seduced and the zoo where young Marcel ran into Gilberte ... and a toliet, which I need like nobody's business right now.