Please come sit right here beside me in this café next to the Pont Alexandre on the Seine while I tell you about living for a while in the City of Light.
Paris is snobbish, hectic, brash, reserved, old, new, mean spirited, intolerant, irritating, accommodating, expensive, sophisticated, low-down, bone chilling cold, steaming hot or fragrantly perfect. It can be any or almost all of those things in the space of five minutes. But no matter what its particular mood or attitude, it is GORGEOUS. All the time. Every day. Irresistibly, drop-dead, gob-smacking beautiful.
But above all else, it’s that damned river that gets me every time. I can be on a bus, on foot, in a cab or a friend’s car on the way to lunch, to shop, to see a sight, and blam – suddenly it’s there! Suddenly some elegant, beautifully proportioned bridge appears and below it the river endlessly moving along its stone restraints reflects the old trees that line the boulevards beside it, and behind them the most heart-stopping (to my mind) buildings on earth stand shoulder to shoulder, marching together to win my complete adulation. Stairways take pedestrians down to wide riverside walkways where a parallel life goes on every day. Bicyclists, dogs, kids, exhausted tourists, barges where people live their lives in full view of everybody, the Bateau Mouches grinding up and down loaded with photo-snapping visitors. Notre Dame, the D’Orsay, the Tuileries, the Eiffel Tower, the Hôtel de Ville, the glass of the Grand Palais sparkling above the trees, all of them visible, available, up-close, personal. My delight in the visual feast is uncompromising and complete. I am hooked forever.
So are you with me here? Beginning to see why I’m a perfect fool for this place? I could stay for ever here, just “being.” As Tim says, “If I lived In Paris, I’d be snooty, too!” And I agree!
You know just how madly in love I am with Paris. A stroll down almost any street gives us a new insight into French life, or shows us a new bit of charm or beauty (oops, mind the dog poop), and each encounter with the French brings us new understanding. Wait ’til I tell you about our friend the manicurist! We are so crazy for it that I have too many photos and thoughts to share in a single entry, so I PROMISE that I will be sending several more in short order. They’ll be stories about food, shopping, the entertaining people we’ve met along the way and much more. Since Home Sweet Anywhere, which will be published by Sourcebooks, Inc., on April 1, is in its copyediting stage, I get to have fun with this blog again, and I hope you will, too.
Meantime, here are a few more of “my” river. Tell us about “your” rivers, please!