The rain has stopped…
When I rented the apartment, five flights of stairs didn’t sound too terrible…I am fit, after all. It would be good exercise. Unless that is, you want your bags with you, then you must carry each up individually. Standing before my door, key in hand, catching my breath, I make a mental note to either really make an effort to pack lighter, or at the very least, rent a lower floor apartment next time. I am guessing it will be a lower floor apartment.
Apartment explored (I love it enough to perhaps learn to pack lighter), bags mostly unpacked, I head down those stairs, trying not to think about going back up them. I have errands to run.
First things first. I wind through narrow streets on my way to the Seine, breathing in the fascinating olfactory cocktail that is Paris air. Pulling my scarf tighter around my neck against the crisp breeze, I stop and lean against the river wall to take in the beauty of Notre Dame, and be grateful that I am once again fortunate enough to be here, in Paris. The bells of Notre Dame begin to ring and I feel welcomed. What a lovely gift, merci.
I stop at the first cafe I come to. Not that I don’t have my favorites, but I’ve never been such a creature of habit that I must return to the same places over and over. I think there is disappointment to be had when trying to replicate experiences. It is much more fun making new discoveries, non? That being said, this game of cafe roulette sometimes results in a disappointing coffee, but in my quest for the perfect café crème, I keep playing.
I toss a bonjour at the waiter as I unwind my scarf and begin to unbutton my coat. He gestures with a bread basket and rattles off something in French I do not get as he breezes by. I take it to mean “Sit where you like. I’ll get around to you.” I long ago realized French waiters take their time visiting your table and they prefer that you know exactly what you want when they do. No, ‘May I get you a drink’, then returning to take your order.
Sipping the first of what will be many café crèmes in the coming days, I pause to stare out the window, observing Parisians going about the start of their day. Smartly dressed young men with cell phones pressed to their ears hurry by. An old woman with frizzy hair wearing a bright green coat slowly walks her tiny dog who stops to sniff every stone. Buses, taxis, bicycles, scooters, they all dance together in the street. I marvel at the women wearing skirts on this chilly morning, clicking along the treacherous cobblestones in their high heels. I’d have broken an ankle by now.
The rain has stopped and brilliant morning sunlight graces the tops of the buildings. I sigh, content, and pull out my journal to make a few notes. I notice the rain pattern drying on the pavement of the worn sidewalk and use my phone to snap it for future design reference. This is why I come here ~ inspiration to fill my well is at every turn.
*While the Boutique here at The Armchair Parisian is very real indeed, the stories and characters are a product of imagination. Please enjoy them in the adventurous spirit in which they were intended.