After a huge week last week, I woke up on Saturday morning and decided it was time for a blogging break and with that, I took a holiday. I sit here on my final Sunday night in Paris (for this trip at least), ready for a quick and punchy little burst before the beginning of a short and (sniff) final week here.
It’s now past midnight and as with every Sunday, the city started to sleep at about 7pm. Rushing to Carrefour (my local supermarket) for a simple lemon (sorry lemon, but it wasn’t a huge ask) and a pot of Greek yogurt (oh, and not forgetting loo paper), I was met with the doors shut and the lights off. Supermarkets in Paris seem to be the only things that ever close – this city is always alive and, in a similar fashion to my rushed arrival to the Musée Picasso last week, I nearly ran straight into the door.
One of the many things I love about this city is that no matter how many times I belt (quite literally – I maintain a cracking pace on foot each day) down the rues and the boulevards, I always seem to find something new, or walk down a street that I thought was my own, only to discover I’m in the next arrondissement and not anywhere near home, (or the florist, or the shop with the blue shirt in the window that I saw yesterday and needed so badly when I got back into my uniform this morning – uniform consisting of a très chic of blend jeans, walking shoes and about two skivvies underneath a jumper, all topped off with a puffer jacket bigger than the Eiffel Tower).
Some days when I stand up from the table after a nice lunch (usually spent staring at people and writing down funny things I’ve just heard them say), I take the table cloth with me, not by choice but because I’m like a moving mountain of clothing.
Getting lost in Paris is a joy, and yesterday the sky opened up properly for the first time since I’ve been here – the air was completely clear and suddenly the buildings appeared to have had a facelift overnight, they were bigger than ever and I could see for miles. Jet stream filled the sky, families filled the parks and my hands filled my pockets as I strode first to breakfast (ah, the ease of Saturday morning with no class to race to!) and secondly up to the Marais for a peek at Place de Vosges (how can a park make a person so happy- I adore that place), next to Chez Janou (packed for the second Saturday running ‘désolé Madame’), and then back along Rue Étienne Marcel, across Rue du Louvre and up Av. de l’Opera towards Galleries Lafayette.
The winter sales in Paris are are reason in themselves to come here, and once inside and as I navigated my way through the heaving bodies who all seemingly had the same idea as me, I only grunted about about seventy times as people meandered and stopped, and took selfies in front of the Rolex counter (I know, quite bizarre), before I looked up and was struck for the millionth time in my life by the beauty of the domed glass ceiling that is reason in itself to go to Lafayette – just. pure. magic.
Two giant pairs of shoes later (of course they had my size, I think I’m the only woman ever to set foot in Paris with size 42 feet), I headed for the metro.
Much as I love walking through Paris, I also love rattling around on the Metro because there is something so special about walking up the stairs from the platform and back onto the street, only to be met by a visual feast of trees, an open sky filled with birds, beautiful buildings and an abundance of light- I don’t think in my lifetime I could ever tire of that cocktail and I always stop at least three stops from home just to walk amongst it and drink it all in (and yes, sometimes I stop for a drink as well, and smile like a mad person).
Coming home through Tuileries Gardens and across Pont Neuf last night and again tonight, not only filled my camera with a trillion images but it emptied my head of as many thoughts. In my two day hiatus I’ve read plenty of news, much of it in complete disbelief, and more than ever I understand that those moments of peace, surrounded by complete beauty are not only a privilege, they’re incredibly special and they’re never to be taken for granted.