I have earned a bit of time in bed with the Mac Air, up in my little Paris loft on the sixth floor on a sunny Saturday afternoon, stuffed with lunch of crusty bread, stinky cheese, avocado and vivid red tomatoes from the markets.
Let me just say that again, oh so casually – IN PARIS. On day four of my three week trip. I spent one day in Paris about 20 years ago, and that’s been my only visit, so I’m a newbie.
I’ve walked a million miles today and am tired and blistered and happy.
Jet lag has been not a problem – or so I thought, until not being able to go back to sleep at 4am (after getting into bed at midnight). Tossed and dozed for a while and then decided to have an early morning walk. So glad I did. The sun doesn’t get up till about 8am in Paris (don’t you like how they’ve organised their time zone? 12 hours of daylight arranged with long evenings and dark mornings, an excuse to sleep in). So when I headed out at 7am, dawn was still a long way off and no one was about except street sweepers. I reckon it may well be the best way to see Paris. Nothing is open of course, but who cares?
Wandered for miles along the Seine, saw the Louvre from the outside (phew, can cross that off now), meandered up the Champs Elysees, strolled from palace to palace to palace. Saw a million statues and a squillion gargoyles. There’s barely a spot on any building that hasn’t got some kind of face carved into it.
I found that bridge with all the locks on it. Looks like the whole thing will collapse under the weight and sink to the bottom of the river. It wasn’t till the way home that I saw the enterprising street vendors were selling the locks.
Got rather desperate looking for a public toilet – not easy to find in Paris, no wonder the place smells of piss. Not even in McDonalds. I almost had to resort to the street myself. By the time I got to the Eiffel Tower the crowds had come out, and I’m afraid nothing could induce me to join the queues, so I enjoyed looking up at the tower rather than down from it.
As I’ve mentioned on facebook (jump ahead those who’ve read it), there’s something about being in a new place that awakens all sorts of strange fashion desires, related to realising that the Kathmandu brand of jacket is not a fashion statement here. Everyone in Paris looks so elegant that I’m filled with the desire to buy some fabulous new thing, like a camel coloured trench coat. Fortunately I remembered in time that beige makes me look dead, and instead found a wonderful coat in an outdoor street market among the fish and cheese and vegetables. I hope the air of bohemian ‘I bought this in Paris’ glamour remains once I get home.
I’ve been very spoiled, in that my trip has coincided with my cousin Jemma’s last weekend in Paris before she heads back to Australia – having worked here at Shakespeare and Co for seven years. So it’s meant a bit of time hanging out with a local and soaking up some of the Paris literary scene, as there is a literary festival on this weekend called Festival America. Was great to hang out with Jemma there and meet some international authors and act like I understood French and wasn’t a girl from country NSW (which suddenly felt very small and far away). Also got to have a great night out for dinner with some Byron friends who happen to know both me and Jemma independently. The world is ridiculously small.
There’s more – more little winding streets and cobblestones, more funny shops and markets, more glamorous people, more palaces, more art, more religious icons. Only another day and half to enjoy it all and then off to London.
More soon. And a few more pics below. xxx