Monday, July 24, 2006


I’m in love. I’m in love with Paris, with a weekend that despite the constant heat, the blisters and the aching legs, was filled with beauty and delight.

At first, with those tentative steps out of the Gard du Nord into the rows of restaurants and sex shops, I felt a little disappointed. I was tired, with two hours sleep and a snooze on the train, and I needed lunch. We walked along, heavy bags on our backs with the blazing sun beating down until we gave up, stopping at a small brasserie and ordering salad in pigin-french, words sticking and refusing to form.

The metro only confused me, I stood about wondering which direction, which line, and under ground was so much hotter. But then suddenly we were up above ground again, on the left bank and on the road we needed. A boulevard lined with trees and people, and suddenly behind me was the river, and the Louvre, and Notre Dame and then I felt it.

We spent the afternoon walking along the left bank, dog-tired but determined to make it from Notre Dame to the Jardin des Plantes. We drank water by the gallon and trudged through back streets and squares where people sat in the sun, or basked below the cool shade of trees. We had time to sleep before we headed out for dinner, at one of the only restaurants in the area that wasn’t Japanese. The food was simple but delicious and set us up for the succession of mohito’s we drank at a bar round the corner.

On Saturday morning I felt it again as we walked through the entrance to the Palais de Louvre and stood, necks craned to take it all in. It bowled me over, the size and the beauty; it struck me dumb. But on we went, through the Jardin des Tuileries and up the Champs Elysees to the Arc d’Triomphe. Then down towards the river again and the Eiffel Tower. The queues were too long to spend time in, and so we missed the journey to the top and views over Paris. Instead we walked on, along the Quai D’Orsay to take in the Musee D’Orsay before heading back to change for dinner.

As the sun began to sink on yet another beautiful day, we climbed aboard and sailed gently up and down the Seine, delighting in four courses and the cool breeze that rushed in on either side of the boat. The views were wonderful, from the rows of tents on the riverside to the Eiffel Tower, lit up in sparkling lights and bathing all with the searchlight. We left feeling tired but contented, to stroll along the streets of Saint-Germain in the cool darkness.

Now home again I feel a tug for Paris, a longing for all the things we didn’t get to see, but I know that it was a glorious weekend, and one I shall not forget.


charlotte said...

Oh, lucky, lucky you! What a treat.

sophystar said...

Thank you, it was! It was absolutely perfect!