Paris is not a place…

…it’s a way of life and different for everyone who visits, works or lives here. Some know Paris by night. We know Paris by day.

 July 29: We’ve been in Paris for a week now having driven Stewball to Amsterdam for shipping on Monday. We know Paris, we lived here in the ’90s and are long past the awe of the monuments, boulevards, museums and all that attracts tourists from around the world to Paris. Not that these things aren’t important in Paris, they are, but our Paris is much more personal.

Our Paris is the 7th arrondissement and fortunately for us, our hotel, The Pullman, which was selected for the end of our world car adventure, is on Av. Suffren, which divides the 7th and the 15th. We are on the 15th side of the street. Our room- which we changed mid-week because of the noisy, dirty, smelly work being done in the hallway (they are sanding, patching and painting) and the leaking water pipes in the wall that have saturated the carpet-looks out over the green space and the apartment building on the 7th side of the street. We are on the left bank and one block south of Quai Branly where we rented our last apartment.

Paris is a different place for everyone who visits. For us, it’s is easy to do nothing here. Our Paris is walking and eating. Since eating is a French activity, three meals out (which we must do since we are in a hotel) consumes much of our day and evening. And then there is the afternoon coffee in a cafe to people watch.

Cafes, restaurants, bistros are everywhere and it is possible to enjoy excellent food at reasonable prices once you know where to go.

 Our day starts with a walk to “our” cafe. Yes, breakfast is included with our room, but American coffee and a hotel breakfast is not our Paris. We walk to La Terrase, the cafe we have frequented since the days we lived here. Everyone who lives here will eventually find their own cafe. Even now, we know some of the waiters from earlier days.

We stroll past the kiosk where we buy the International Tribune, past markets with their fresh produce, a metro stop and through the Champs de Mars at the Eiffel Tower. It’s all part of a normal day in Paris.

Afternoon walks can take any direction but usually include at least one garden and always people watching. Like any large city, Paris is full of the unusual and the usual. I  just wish I had photos of some of the more unusual, you’ll just have to take my word on that. Lets just say, this week alone, we have seen two people dressed as gorillas, one angel, two brides, a man with an Eiffel Tower on his head and others in clothing I can’t begin to describe. Thank heaven there are children-and pigeons. The normal things.

When we return, friends will ask: “And what did you do in Paris once the race was over?” Our answer will be: “As little as possible.”


About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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2 Responses to Paris is not a place…

  1. TBC says:

    Ah yes, La Terrase! The first time I took my kids to Paris back in the early 80s, we walked along la Rive Gauche, looking at the bookstalls and of course, the animal area and the Belgian lop-earred bun-rabs, it was hot and time to take a break. Guess where we ended up at La Terrase.

    We’ll be there next year in June for our workshop. Yes, we’re doing a workshop in Paris after the one in Provence.

    We miss you two. Sip some wine for us.


    TBC and Arnie

  2. Catherine says:

    Glad you are finally unwinding and doing what you want to do in your favorite city. Sounds wonderful! Love from all of us.

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