It’s been a big day. Started early listening to a Gregorian Mass in Notre Dame cathedral and finished many hours later watching a Lady GaGa drag show in Le Tango nightclub.
It’s been one of those days that make me realise what a great thing it is to travel. I followed my nose and had a day stuffed with Paris treats. Like heading to the Musee d’Orsay and finding that a busker had transported a piano to the plaza outside and was playing superbly (I ended up listening to him instead of queuing). Like wandering through the street market and nearly drowning in the sensations. Incredible smells – seafood, flowers, cheeses, fresh bread, spices, pizza, olives. Sounds of stall holders shouting their wares. Every stall was a visual feast too – the seafood stacked high on ice, the poultry still looking very bird-like, boxes and boxes of vivid fruit and vegetables.
Lunch was onion soup (I notice they don’t call it ‘French onion soup’ here) and terrine. Breakfast was croissant and coffee. Dinner was two Heinekins.
I wandered through a park and happened across a group doing graceful Tai Chi. Then, a little further away, a jazz band was playing in a rotunda and chairs were placed all around them under the trees. That was fantastic.
Then wandered up to Shakespeare and Co and sat upstairs in the little library reading and hoping I was absorbing the literary atmosphere simply by being there. After a while I noticed a few people gathering and an air of expectation and then a woman came bustling in with a tray and home made cake and tea – I didn’t know it, but the shop has an old tradition of Sunday afternoon tea, and discussion and poetry. It hasn’t been happening since the proprietor George died last year, but has just started up again recently. So I enjoyed two hours of chat and poetry and even some singing. (not me, I hasten to add – two people who really could sing).
Heading to the gay nightclub took all my courage. I arrived to find about 8 people there – I think four of them were staff – and nearly turned and walked straight out again. Forced myself to sit down with a beer and tried not to look and feel too nervous. Eventually a guy sat down and struck up a conversation – he was waiting for his friends who were late. The next thing they arrived and I was engulfed in a wave of beautiful young French gay boys who adopted me without question, thank God. We all sat on the floor to watch the drag show – there is something universal about them: apart from some of it being in French, I could have been in Sydney. Had a bit of a dance and headed home.
Now I’m packing up and getting ready to head to London in the morning. Paris has been a blast, more than I expected. I’ve fallen a bit in love with it.
Not a single museum, but many hours of wandering, day dreaming, watching, listening and eating. Museums next time, I reckon. Anyway, the whole of Paris is like a museum really.
Nighty night all