Sitting here tonight in my little hotel, munching at a baguette and sipping the Provence Rosé. And nursing a cold, sniff. Been a while since I was here, chuffed that they gave me my favourite room, three windows high up, overlooking the Theatre and Brasserie across the road. Atmospheric. Should be writing a novel.
The trip always begins at St. Pancras and the Eurostar. Old day travelling (only today everyone seemed to have the same idea.) Two hours and twenty-eight minutes later and I am striding from the Gard du Nord, pack back only and ready to re-aquaint myself with my lady of love, Paris.
I am the eternal creature of habit. Walk begins with the lighting of candles for those I love at Madeline, followed by the compulsory stop for macarons. Cannot do Paris without these pastel babies – which is my favourite, ummm … need to get back to you, munch, munch. Today, rather than stride through the city at my normal pace, I needed to take it slow with the cold and sneezing, but I wanted to savour this place I love so much. So many memories. Armed with the candy, it was to the Tulleries gardens to pull up a chair next to the fountain, dip into the goodie box and just take it all in. Watching lovers, tourists, hagglers and the world doing just the same. Kind of went for the Citron flavour this time. Or the Fraise? The Speculoos? Pistachio ? Keep you posted. The weather was balmy but dappling, dipping sun and needed to move on. Towards the crepes. Must have crepes in Paris. Pre crepes, saw a vision of myself …
Oh my word! Perhaps not the crepe … oh what the hell, must have crepe en route to the Champs D’Èlyseé. If you know Paris, prices vary according to where the tourists flock, so searching for the perfect Crepe is something I know well. Ah, ’tis in hand and hungrily consumed. Rather than walk all the way up, took the right to Franklin Roosevelt, past these beauties: My favourite spring flowers, amongst others.
The flower shops here remind me of London and the sidewalk florist shops. Fitting with the magnificent architecture and golden highlights Paris is famous for. Would have loved to buy them, but to carry in the back pack, uh, uh. Hope to find some in London soon.
St-Philippe du-Roule is a favourite stop. Love the Cathedral, the typical Metro signs, Art Deco style: the news vendor in his little kiosk and of course, a Starbucks! Could spend a few hours in this square, but it was getting late and as per habit, I have to have a beer when I am in Paris. Trundled down towards St. Augustine, an old haunt and plonked myself at the sidewalk cafe. Time for the beer and people watching – those women in jeans and stilettos running for the bus. Chic couture, homeless people, immigrants, all happening on the pavement. South African couple beside me. Thinking I did not understand. The city winding down, or is it winding up? The offices empty, the pubs and brasseries fill up with jovial conversation. And I have my own thoughts …
People often ask me if I don’t get lonely coming to Paris on my own. I believe it is one of those destinations that women can travel to. And I am never lonely. Trying to pick up the French language and embarrassing myself trying to speak it. Browsing the shops, the churches, the riverside, the museums and Art Galleries and being infused with all this culture, how can I be lonely?
And having a beer on a sidewalk cafe? I am one of many on their own, just being left alone to to take it all in. Time to make notes, draw a little, plan another trip.
Had another beer outside my hotel, at my spot – with notebook and then it began to rain. Love the rain and thinking of Earnest Hemingway, Voltaire, Delacroix and all those who loved this city as much as I do. I have the best memories of Paris, she is my love … and tomorrow, a walk along the Left Bank before I head back to London.
Night all, from Paris.