My Paris – My River!

2013-07-01 05.11.11
Here I am waiting for you to show up!

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.

bridge
This is the Pont Alexandre. Now, you tell me if you don’t think it’s the most outrageously stunning bridge you’ve ever seen. Baby blue! Can you believe such a marvelous sight?

 

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!

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  1. matthew

    In reading these blog posts, are we getting a glimpse of what will be in your book? If not, can you give us a little snippet? Consider it whetting our appetite.
    MW.

  2. Carolynnell

    One of my favorite travel memories is of an afternoon jog near the foot of the Arche de La Defense (that Parisians reportedly despise) and looking through it across Your River, Lynne, and all the way across the city to the Arche de Triomphe. It was exhilarating!

  3. Annie Nguyen

    Hi!
    I love reading your lovely stories! I would to do like what you are doing! Home free and travel around! Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventures with us! Please keep up a great work! And take care!,

  4. Lynne

    Hi Everyone,

    I just realized that I have failed to mention that the city of Paris has issued a booklet to its citizens which instructs them how to be polite to their visitors. It’s WONDERFUL. In it, the French are told that the Canadians always want to know how much it costs and the Americans, too. They have little guidelines for each nationality. It’s a real civic movement that’s being put forward to attract and keep their tourist base. I think there are a lot of cities in our country which could do with some lessons! Every time someone in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal or wherever, goes out of his/her way to be kind to us, I hope that someone in our country is being kind to foreigners!

    Rant over!

  5. Lillian

    Became home free this summer and happily planning our travels. Our current river is the Tennessee! We are using Chattanooga as a staging ground to prep for broader travels. Plenty of places to walk, things to do downtown, has a bus system (nothing like European cities but good practice) and the riverfront is a park with miles of trails to walk. There’s even a very well-traveled pedestrian bridge over the river. A great place to live for a short time while we work on forgetting we ever owned a car. Thanks for all your help and inspiration, Lynne.
    In reply to Holly, you have been very lucky in your conversations with Parisians. I think Lynne does us all a favor by painting a realistic picture so we can be ready for each city’s delights and dismays. Imagine thinking people would be lovely and every other one is rude. When we visited Paris no amount of politeness or French phrases made interactions with officials and servers pleasant. Finally got help from some native Parisians who told us people are rude because they don’t want to deal with tourists, even though that is the major economic driver of the city. At the time we lived in a tourist area and the traffic during the season was horrible, but being rude to tourists would have put us out of work, so what’s the point? However, we also had lovely interactions with people on the street who couldn’t have been pleasanter, even when we couldn’t understand each others’ sentences. That is the thrill and the chill of traveling and I can’t wait to do some more.

  6. Lynne

    Hello All,

    I’m delighted that you find this so enjoyable. Ellen, you are going to have a perfect time. The language thing is no biggie. I just discovered a new app called “Point It”, which contains 13,000 photos of everything you can
    imagine that you might need. The idea is you bring the app up, find the item, (very well catalogued), and point to it when you have no common language. It WORKS! $2.99 through ITunes. If you don’t have a smart phone, you can buy the little paperback through Amazon.
    Bon Chance and keep in touch!!!!

  7. Christine

    Hold that seat! I would love to join you and hope to make the trip in the VERY near future. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful sites and stories with us.

  8. Therese

    Oh how we loved the Velib bikes in Paris this last August.
    Fabulous way to see lots of the city and the river.
    The traffic is kind to bikes.
    Go for it. Beats the bus and the metro.

  9. Holly

    Am thoroughly enjoying seeing my favorite city thru your eyes! For me, the Tour Eiffel is what catches my eye every time, no matter where I am in Paris. Walk along, turn a corner and – BAM! – there it is, closeby or in the distance. But I have to disagree with some of your descriptive words for Parisians. I agree with all the positive ones but almost none of the negative ones. I’ve found Parisians and the French in general to be very friendly, as long as I’m very polite and start out my comment/question with one of the few French words/phrases that I know (just the very basics – hello, goodbye, please, thank you, where’s the toilet, what does it cost, pardon me do you speak English, etc.). I want everyone to love Paris as much as I (and you!) do and not be scared off by negative ideas. Keep travelling (and writing!)

  10. Annita

    Hi , Lynne. You know the inspiration you and Tim have been for our three month stay in the City of Light. As our time here winds down, I am so sad! Can’t believe our big adventure is almost over. The big surprise to us was how close we were to the river Seine for 3 whole weeks before we realized our apartment was only 1/2 block away! We always turned right out of the apt for the Metro but the night of the fireworks on the river flabbergasted us as we turned left for the first time and made our discovery!

  11. Dru Pearson

    Ellen,

    Congratulations on taking the plunge and renting an apartment in Paris! I don’t think you’ll regret the choice because having a place to call home means you can enjoy breakfast in your pajamas and kick your shoes off while you drink a glass of wine and watch the sun set before supper. And since you’re taking your paints, you’ll find beauty everywhere to inspire you.

    If you want to know what to expect from temporary apartment living, you might want to take a look at my book, Europe on a Dime: Five-Star Travel on a One-Star Budget, which is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any other bookstore. If you haven’t yet made final rental arrangements my book holds your hand through that process, telling you what to look for, how to avoid rip-offs, and the best way to secure a frugal yet commodious place to call your own. Once you rent, I don’t think you’ll ever go back to a hotel.

    Wishing you the best in your travels,

    Dru

  12. Ellen LaVaccare

    I have read all about your selling your home and your travels. We were so inspired by your travels that we decided to book our first trip from our home in Rio Vista, California to Paris for June 2014. We got brave and rented an apartment across from the Invalides for 9 days. No tours for us! It was a scary move since we do not speak French. I am going to bring my paints and plan to do some art there. I cannot wait for your book to come out and love reading your blogs.

  13. Kelly @Try New Things

    I am so excited to hear about your experiences in Paris. It is one of the places that calls me.

    When I was a flight attendant in my younger years, I did the Paris route all the time. Monday to Paris and Friday worked my way back home. 5 glorious days to explore every week.

    Through the years, I have returned several times, including trips with my family as they grew. And now that I am retired, my plan is to spend 1 month a year there starting next spring. So I just cannot wait to hear about your time there! I will live vicariously through you, until the spring!

  14. Babs

    The beauty of the bridges brought me to tears on my first trip to Paris! I was so overwhelmed with emotion at the beauty. One of the few places on earth I’ve returned to over and over. Paris!