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.
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.”