………..of my January Paris trip, was the last day.
As my friend Sistereurope says, ” Paris seeped her way deeper into my skin, a fast track right to my soul.”
Because I had been unwell I didn’t feel as if I had given enough time to Paris, given her as much attention as she deserves. …. there again I never do. So this last day was my opportunity to get into the heart of Paris again, to make my peace with her to absorb her atmosphere .
So, feeling much recovered I left Lizzie behind and set off on the 96 bus, which takes you through the Marais and then past the Hotel de Ville over the bridge to the left bank and onward. I had no particular plan in mind. I just vaguely thought I would go in the direction of the Eiffel Tower and see what I discovered.
Spotting this photographic exhibition at the Hotel de Ville, I hopped off the bus and visited.
I recognised some of the photos, but could not find out who the artist and photographer was. A couple of years ago I was on a self guided walk through Belville (as you do!!) and I stumbled across an exhibition of his work. The paintings and photographs were all of urban scenes.
This is a huge mural of the metro entrance at Vincennes, with a TV and pictures of trams running on a loop. I am always amazed how mundane pictures can be made to look interesting by how they are presented.
Continuing my day I then hopped on metro line one to Place de la Concorde to visit another of my January “must do’s” The Waterlilles at the Orangerie.
Coming up from the metro at Concorde, I am always stunned by the view from the corner and the glimpse of the Eiffel tower in the background.
At the Orangerie, I sit and meditate for about 45 minutes in front of Monets Waterlillies.
I am even more in awe now I know he painted them whilst he was almost blind. People come and go. Some just wander through fast, obviously not that impressed, just ticking it off a list. Some sit and gaze, getting up to look closely in curiosity. A man with a beret sits besides me and I can tell from his sigh and his demeanour that he finds the paintings as spiritually uplifting as I do and we sit in silence for long while, letting the tranquillity of the installation wash over us.
I never view the rest of the exhibition. It would break the spell and I wander out to find Rodins Kiss outside, which I have never noticed before.
I walk along the riverside and it is freezing cold, so I hop on another bus, the 69 this time and ride around the left bank. (navigos are so useful!) but get off on Rue de Bac, when a car blocking the street causes the traffic to come to a stop, with the driver nowhere to be seen!. Typically Paris.
Again, the best way to continue my tour is by velib, so off I go through St Germain the 6th and 7th arrondissements towards the Eiffel tower taking in Invallides and rue Cler as I go.
By now it is really really cold and just beginning to snow and the problem with riding a bike is that although I have ski gloves on and another pair underneath my fingers are beginning to freeze.
So I stop on Rue St Dominique for a hot chocolate and a pastry ( what else!) I browse around the lovely shops there before hopping back on the velib and continue my journey home.
By this time it is SO cold, that to take my gloves off to consult my map immediately freezes my hands so I call in the church of St Germain des Pres just to look at my map!
I notice a man finding the east before he starts to pray, so I assume he is Muslim and I think is is so good that he feels he can pray in a Christian church. I wonder if he is praying for peace with the situation in Mali and Algeria today.
I catch the 96 bus from opposite the church and as I ride back to the apartment, it is snowing hard now and Paris looks beautiful with her white blanket, the bare trees pretty with their frosting.
I know I do not want to leave here and desperately want to come back alone soon!.