Morning, Paris



This morning (or is it still night?), I awoke in Paris, in an apartment in the 5th, where we've come to visit friends, eat, and "get lost"—hard to do with Le Duc, who has known its corners for decades. In the cobalt half-dark, with no more sleep possible, the first caws of ravens blend with the buzz of a few mobilettes; I have a several hours' wait to buy a baguette.

I will not post regularly for the next few weeks; we're here so infrequently that I'd rather walk than write.

I'm in my late sixties now, so that walking is punctuated with more pauses in a park or café. Nor do I pack to go anywhere that requires dress-up: black, scarves for colour.  Gone too are the days when Le Duc and I would march all day, then go out at 9 p.m. for a four-course dinner. Our endurance, our preferences and even our appetites have changed: The City of Light becomes the City of Lite.


I am still enthralled by the first glimpse of mansard rooflines and bridges spanning the Seine, a tease of shop windows' temptations, the pungent assault of diesel fuel. I'm happier than ever to be here, as our ability to travel with relatively carefree mobility is ever more precious.


In these first few hours I realize how life flows, wherever we are. All over the world, women buy groceries, walk the dog, hurry to work. Shortly, I'll slip out for a stroll in the Jardin du Luxembourg, trailing others around my age who are not, for whatever reason, synched to to the business day.

Soon, we have a rendezvous with friends; soon, Le Duc shall trace his old map of his rambles, choosing places he wants to see again and new additions. As the sun rises I shall be seduced by this city of deliberate magnificence, and I'll try to sidestep being just another tourist... yet I am.

 






15 comments

Margie from Toronto said...

Have a wonderful time! I love to hear you speak about the realities of travel as we get older - and even though we have to slow down (and take those small breaks from walking) - in a way I think it enriches the experience - that we actually see more - be it the changes since our last trip - the beautiful shop windows, or just all those people walking by.

Enjoy both the walks - and the rests.

Madame Là-bas said...

I hope that you and Le Duc enjoy your "nostalgie". Now is a time for slowing down a bit and for savouring all that Paris has to offer.
I have not visited Paris in the autumn but I'm sure that the Luxembourg is beautiful in the golden days. Enjoy your days as une flâneuse and I look forward to hearing your new observations.

LauraH said...

Your beautifully written post makes me want to jump on a plane and head over. Someday soon I hope.

I can't help but compare your approach to life changes to that of some other friends. They seem to have decided if they can't travel in the way they have always done, they won't do it at all. Such a shame. An unexpected physical challenge has forced me to think about travel in a different way. I hope to be flexible and enjoy what I can do rather than bemoan what I can't do. You are a great example of accepting change and getting the best out of life. Thank you and enjoy your trip.

Patricia said...

Have a wonderful time Duchesse! Even if you are not writing, I hope that you store up some impressions and thoughts and share them with us afterwards - that never gets old!

Wendelah said...

You write beautifully.

I haven't been able to walk long distances for many years now. I worried that it would affect the way I feel about travelling but, so far, it hasn't. I still love seeing new places--I just have to explore them at my own pace. There are destinations that I had always wanted to visit--Antarctica, for example--which I know I'd be unable to tolerate now. Still, there are more places to see on this beautiful planet than I will ever get around to visiting.

I hope you and your husband have a wonderful stay. We spent a glorious month in Paris in 2013 to celebrate my husband's retirement from teaching. What an amazing city it is!

materfamilias said...

You always write beautifully, but Paris and dawn and jetlag have conspired to yield a post that I find just wonderful. You capture so much of what my Paris encompasses -- and Paul's as well, I think. And that doesn't require getting to the latest cool areas or the best new restaurants or loading my case with new goodies -- not that I'm averse to any of those treats. But there's something that goes beyond the material in this perhaps most material of cities, and you've put your finger on it so effectively. Enjoy your time here, at yours and Le Duc's perfect pace. And perhaps wave in my direction (and should you get bored with Paris and want a quick jaunt to Bordeaux . . . ;-)

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Oh Paris!
How utterly delightful for you and Le Duc to find yourselves in the city of light in autumn. The fountain at Luxembourg Gardens looks so beautiful.
You have captured the essence of Paris with this post....wandering along the boulevards and stopping at a cafe to rest and perhaps indulge in a little bit of people watching while sipping a beverage....ah!
Enjoy and please share more when you return.

lagatta à montréal said...

Oh, I'm so pleased that you were able to get to Paris. Actually, boulangeries are open very early, but I can understand not wanting to go out when it is still quite dark.

And I'm sure you'll find some charming spots with less formidable bills of fare.

Leslie Milligan said...

You may be a tourist, but one who now speaks French. That must count for something, no? Looking forward to your return posts.

Beth said...

So glad to hear you've arrived and awoken in this favorite place; don't worry about your readers, we will all be here when you resurface, but for now, just immerse yourselves in that beautiful city.

Francie Newcomb said...

Oh carry me away! Thanks for this beautiful post. Enjoy!

Dulce Young said...

So glad to hear from you from time to time. You do write beautifully. Enjoy your stay

Kristien62 said...

Traveling as a senior has its challenges. Yet, my trips abroad, albeit at a slower pace, were the most memorable of my life. I appreciated my surroundings so much more and didn't have the compulsion to pack in every experience possible in the time available. I don't like to think about the lack of years ahead, but I do know that I will continue to travel as long as it is possible. Enjoy every minute of your trip and may you have the best experience ever.

Frugal Scholar said...

exquisite

Janice Riggs said...

You write so beautifully; it's such a treat, and such a gift to us all...
hugs,
Janice