So you know when you Google your name for the first time?
The only other Monique Pantel on this planet is this eccentric film critic and journalist. Images of her sun bathing topless at the Cannes Film Festival and photographs of her interviewing celebrities (and even a chimpanzee) gave me insight that my Parisian twin has lived a wild and full life.
I've known about her for years now and I've always hoped one day we'd meet. She's 84. And she lives in Paris.
And today, because the universe is weird and awesome, I got to have lunch with my Parisian twin.
So, let's rewind about two weeks ago. I'll explain how this fell into my lap.
I was sitting at Café Postal in Winnipeg, writing in my journal and day dreaming about my upcoming trip to Paris when I got an email. "Would you like to meet the other Monique Pantel?" sent from Phillipe, Paris Monique's Web Master.
I couldn't believe it. But then I totally could because my life has been a series of weird, hard-to-believe, spooky, synchronistic happenings.
I screen shot the email and send to my dad immediately. "Holy shit. Imagine we're related?!".
So back to today.
As it turns out, Paris Monique and Canada Monique are not related.
But today, over a big ass plate of cheese and fries at her favourite brasserie (Café de la Place), Paris Monique shared some stories of her colourful career as a journalist and respected film critic.
She told me about the time she sat on Arnold Schwarzenegger's lap to interview him. Said she pinched his thighs to see how muscular they were. (VERY, if you were wondering). She also told me about interviewing the Prime Minister of France and Richard Gere.
Monique was known for giving interviews on the beach at the Cannes Film Festival in her bikini, laying down on a mattress. She explained her approach to interviews were spontaneous and unique. And cheeky, obviously.
She also told me about the time she interrupted Shirley MacLaine's meditation before a big event - Monique suggested to make love, rather than meditate. It would put her in a better state, she laughed hysterically.
Her eyes welled up with tears when she spoke of her dear friend François Truffaut who had passed away. (Truffaut was a french film director, screenwriter, producer, actor & film critic, as well as one of the founders of the French New Wave. He was also buddies with Alfred Hitchcock)
I'm so glad to have met my little Parisian twin today. I'm also so grateful that Phillipe reached out to me. If you're wondering how he figured out I was going to be in Paris, Phillipe saw a tweet of mine. He noticed my dad worked at Le Monde as a journalist for a short period of time in 1973. You can see the email below. It still makes me lol. Phillipe also joined us for lunch and when my French Canadian accent wouldn't translate, he was there to help our conversation along!
All I can say is this afternoon was such a funny, Twilight Zone afternoon. What a hoot.