I could hear the dogs howling well before I could see them. At that point, it was Sunday and I was taking photos (like every other person), of ducks fighting seagulls for a slice of bread on a completely frozen pond in the Tuileries Gardens- the sun was in the final stages of sliding out of sight, the Eiffel Tower was ever striking in the distance and the huge Tuileries sculptures vied for highest position as they reached for an increasingly darkened sky.
After capturing pictures of ducks and seagulls dancing on the ice, I began walking up towards the Louvre like an Arctic penguin fighting the cold- I now walk like a penguin in these conditions after reading an article in the Guardian recently, where German scientists recommended it as a way of combating slipping in icy conditions.
I love the sound of dogs barking in the distance as much as I love sunsets and huge old buildings – and when the three are married together under a new moon in hectares of green space in a city that has stolen my heart, well- I’d be lucky if I didn’t penguin slide onto my face (it’s been known to happen).
I eventually found three beautiful Alsatians bounding across the Louvre courtyard towards teams of soldiers with rifles at the ready, and while that in itself was a reminder that there is not peace in the world – in that very moment, there was.
Yesterday I finished the day with a visit to the incredible Sainte Chapelle (I could make multiple visits – the history in itself is almost as magnificent as the stained glass), before treating myself to a quick peek of the beautiful old law courts on the way out, where les barristers (plural and masculine, much as they were predominantly women) strode the halls with complete purpose and vigour.
This morning I finally made it up to Parc des Buttes Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement and took a photo (at the top of this post) from the top of the Temple de la Sibylle (inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy). I could just see the Sacre Coeur in the distance making every effort to be visible through thick cloud and an all encompassing winter haze – and, while my hands were pink and my lips blue, it was magic.
On the way home tonight, I drew money out of the ATM and an old man who looks like a vision from I don’t know what (and who has taken prime position under the machine on a blanket and has done for as long as I can recall), barked at me under a sliver of moon. While he doesn’t have the same je n’est sais quoi as the real dogs under the moon while strolling home under the shadows of the Louvre after a long day of walking and soaking it all in, he gives us all a fright, he makes girls scream and if I’m not careful, he’ll have me penguin sliding all the way down the Rue.