Paris Diaries


There it goes (A false spring).
February 28, 2009, 12:00 am
Filed under: Food, Paris | Tags:

After a morning burger at an American diner (themed) restaurant right in the heart of Saint-Michel we went walking aimlessly toward somewhere and then toward the river.  In the shade, we could still sense the winter chill but as soon as we got to the Pont au Double Bridge, for the first time in a long time with a full contingent of rollerbladers and roller skaters flaunting their mad skills, we felt the sudden sun rays beating against our exposed faces.

“Spring?” we thought in unison, which was quickly followed by, “We should have brought our sunglasses.”

Sunlovers by the Pont des Arts.

Sunlovers by the Pont des Arts.

It must have something to do with the angle of the sunlight that caused the welcoming beams to mercilessly assault our unprotected eyes.  Where, in fact, were our summer shades?  Through our squinty gazes we saw the square in front of the Notre Dame packed, dare we say, tightly with visitors of all stripes.  Gone, it seemed, were the days of hurried steps across this wide expanse under the unrelenting wind and cold.  Today, we could not walk a few steps before running into someone taking or posing for a photograph.  We found a spot to sit and marveled at the scene.  To our right, a young couple bathed under the bright day, heads leaning into each other, eyes closed.

“There goes our very own private Paris,” Riot said.

“I know,” replied Nez.  “Where did all of these people come from?”

Sun-starved Parisians along the Seine.

Sun-starved Parisians along the Seine.

Along the river, flocks of sun worshippers, many paled from the months of half-baked daylight, flung themselves against the uneven cobblestone ground and rough limestone walls.  We went down to walk among them along the peaceful river.  We found a spot near the Pont des Arts and got reacquainted with the semi-forgotten art and joy of people watching.  There was a couple with an open bottle of wine, there was the father chasing his son, hoping to get to the boy before the boy got to the river, there was another pair of lovers squeezing in for a self-photo, there was an elderly gentleman with the morning newspaper neatly folded in the palm of his hand.

“It’s so warm now, I could even go to the river and write,” said Riot.

“Yes, you won’t even need to take the train anymore.  You could walk everywhere now.”

“I already walk everywhere.”  It was true.  This was the second month in a row that Riot had not renewed his monthly Navigo pass.  We only budgeted transportation for Nez, who could not be expected to walk to the suburb and back daily.

The bateaux mouches are getting full again.

The bateaux mouches are getting full again.

We continued our walk along the banks of the Seine, which on the north side allowed us to go all the way to the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor by the Musée d’Orsay.  Along the way, we caught sight of something that our brains took some time to register:  full sight-seeing boats gliding on the glistening water.  The tourists did what they do and waved wildly in the direction of the people on shore.  The latter seemed to have forgotten what to do in return.  Give it time and they too will wave back.  We knew we would, too, in due time.

“What will you miss most about this place?” asked Riot, who always felt a creeping sense of sadness to see the days ticking away toward spring and then summer and then the end to this chapter of our Paris.

“I’ll miss being able to walk everywhere,” Nez responded with a hint of melancholy even though it was abundantly clear that she could not wait until it was warm again.

Riot and Nez enjoying the first warm day of the year.

Riot and Nez enjoying the first warm day of the year.

We crossed the river and plowed deep into the 7ème all the way to the upscale food emporium at Le Bon Marché.  There, Nez’s small little pleasure awaited in the form of boxes of mac-and-cheese sitting patiently on neat rows of food “from home.”

“Take three,” Riot said.  “Knock yourself out.”

Nez engulfed three boxes of Mississippi Belle Macaroni and Cheese Dinner in the firm embrace of her arms and headed to the register with an insuppressible smile.  It was that kind of day where happiness lay everywhere we cared to look and so, too, was a few sprinkle of the seeds of sadness.

Nez treasures her mac-and-cheese in Paris.

Nez treasures her mac n' cheese in Paris.

 

[As always, be sure to check out the rest of our Parisdise afterward for much, much more!]

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Cold, cold, bright, bright morning.
February 4, 2009, 8:35 am
Filed under: Paris, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

When we first arrived in Paris the bright morning sun was our alarm clock.  It would be 5 or 6 a.m. and the sun was already up in the sky, and it stayed up for a long, long time.

Then, it got dark early and stayed dark late into the morning.  There were mornings when the alarm clock went off and both of us knew for certain that it must have malfunctioned.  Nez went off to work while the street lamps were still on and Riot would peck away madly at the keyboard in a race against time and the awakening giant star in the sky.  It always proved to be an exciting battle with an intense urgency; this was Paris and there was no time to lose.

Then, all the sudden, it got bright early again.  At 8 a.m. (that’s early for Paris) it now looks like 11.  But spring is yet to come and winter is still here and the creeping cold morning air arriving through the window cracks announces that outside it was still just -6C (or, 21F).

 

[As always, be sure to check out the rest of our Parisdise afterward for much, much more!]