I can’t believe I’m leaving Paris already. Where did the time go?
I have walked and walked and walked some more. To the Marais, the right bank of the Seine, the Tuileries, the Jardin du Palais-Royal, the Cimetière Père Lachaise, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Parc Belleville, Montmartre and Sacré Coeur. I did not do anything indoors! I have been to pretty much all the galleries and my favourite museum (the Musée Carnavalet) is closed for renovations for 3 years – so very French. Three years!!!
The fact is, I love walking and being outdoors (and yes, taking the odd café crème or glass of wine in a café) and I tire of museums and galleries almost instantly. I had moments of thinking, but you should do something…and then I thought, why? I didn’t come to Paris to SEE things, I came to enjoy the aura of the city and to brush up my French. Also to see friends – and it’s been wonderful to spend time with Stratford friends Marcia and Roger, Sue K. and her daughters from Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Parisian friends from my childhood Berry and Claire Hayward.
I had never been to the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (pictured above), but it is lovely, very large, and has a promontory with a great view of Paris rooftops and the Sacré Coeur. It was a sunny day and the Parisians were out in flocks, sunning themselves.
I had, I am sure, been to the Père Lachaise cemetery before but like Buttes-Chaumont it is close to my flat, so I wandered through en route to meet Marcia and Roger. It is not like any cemetery in North America…more like a small city of monuments. I did the obligatory stop at Jim Morrison’s grave (bottom left above), now fenced off and not particularly impressive, but still a tourist destination.
And Parc Belleville is small but also lovely, and about 2 blocks from my flat.
The Tuileries remain magical and I took in a fabulous Paris Art and Design show there (above). The Seine and its bridges are gorgeous. The Parisian architecture, streets, light are all enchanting – so just walking was its own delight.
So far, I would say this experiment in solo travelling has been a success. Travelling alone is certainly not as enjoyable as travelling with someone else (and it is more stressful, as there is no one with whom to discuss options or to help figure out problems, like where the hell I am) but it is not bad. And travelling with someone new would have its own issues.
I have found myself missing Jay a lot. I’ve spent far more time in Paris without him than with him … but he loved Paris as much as I do, so there is a hole here, and I have had lonely moments.
But overall, much better to travel alone than not travel!
I ended my time here last night having dinner with Roger and Marcia at their new lovely apartment in the Balieue (suburbs). These suburbs bear no resemblance to North American suburbs, they are quaint quiet little towns a couple of centuries old. We sipped bubbly on their little patio and then had a 4 course feast, including truly spectacular cheeses and pastry. A perfect finale.
This afternoon I take a train to Narbonne and begin quite another leg of the journey, volunteering with a family in a maison de maître on the Canal du Midi. Who knows what that will be like!