Magic in Paris
By day’s end, my feet were screaming. The “slow museum shuffle” is exhausting, more so than walking briskly for 5 miles. I had to get back to my room, unload the few things I carried and take a break.
The subway system, with two transfers, consumed 45 minutes, then I arrived at the Maubert-Mutualité stop. I started up the hill to the Hotel Moderne Saint Germain and paused outside the Magic Shop. I’ve been passing by every day this week, and this time, wondered if there might be something magical to take home with me. I went in.
I laughed and asked the man if he speaks English. “Yes”. (Quite well, really!) I told him that I wondered if there might be something special for me to take home.
“Yes. Of course. Let me show you this trick.” He showed me “magic” with 8 playing cards and I was bowled over. 13 Euros. I had to have it. A simple set that would make a great party amusement (once I learn it).
Then he took two inch-and-a-half, soft, foam balls. He gave one to me and had me squeeze it tight in my fist. The other one he held tight in his own palm. “One, two, three”. He opened his hand, and showed me the other as well. No ball in either. I was reluctant to open my hand and said I’d have to fall on the floor if there were two balls in my palm. …There were, of course! (But I didn’t fall down.) I couldn’t believe it. Of course I had been very attentive to everything while he did the trick, but apparently not to the right things. How did that second red ball end up in my hand?!
One last trick: a Chinese coin and an American 50 cent piece. I picked one, the 50 cents. He handed me the Chinese coin and it went into my hand which clenched tightly around it, fingers down. The 50 cent piece was set onto the back of the same hand that was holding the Chinese coin. He took a playing card, covered the 50 cent piece with it and tapped the card. When he removed the card, the CHINESE coin was sitting on top of my hand and the 50 cent piece was tight in my fist. How the coins traded place, I have no idea.
So I ended my time in Paris with a short magical evening. Even if I never learn the trick I bought, the 13 Euros bought me laughs, entertainment, amazement and conversation.
The shop, Mayette Magie Moderne, is (allegedgly) the oldest magic shop in the world at 201 years. My magician for the evening was Quoc Tien Tran, who was born and raised in Paris and has been “doing magic” since age 6 or 7. (His mom told him it’s a “gift from God”.)
As I was getting ready to leave the shop, a mother and her very young son came in. Quoc Tien stepped right up to do a disappearing ball trick for the little boy (who will probably grow up to be a magician because of that ball.)
THREE BASIC RULES OF MAGIC (As they were explained to me):
1 Never explain the trick.
2 Don’t perform the trick twice in the same instance or for the same person.
3 Perform it only when YOU’RE ready to perform it, and you know it very well.
What an enchanting and amusing way to end my time in Paris!
Mayette Magie Moderne
8 Rue des Carmes
TEL: 01 43 54 13 63