I am not complaining but this morning it was raining so hard that I couldn't sit outside to drink my café crème. I woke up to a dark sky, rolling thunder, flashes of lightening and a Twitter feed full of "C'est l'apocalypse!" Tweets. My dream of spending my days writing in the Luxembourg Gardens is fading; you are more likely to find me on the third floor of Galeries Lafayette buried under a pile of pre-fall cashmere sweaters.
I stuck with my plan to visit the new Place de la République (Guardian news article, June 16, 2013) which was also my métro stop when I first visited Paris in 2003. I stayed at auberge de jeunesse Paris Jules Ferry, about a block away. I think it was around 15 euros a night for a shared room, i.e.a bunk bed, and breakfast of coffee, yoghurt and tartine with apricot jam.
|Memory lane at Jules Ferry|
|Canal St. Martin|
The same businesses - Club Med gym, Go Sport Paris, Habitat - line one side of Place de la République and it felt more familiar than I expected, only I was carrying a Longchamp tote instead of a Jack Wolfskin backpack. To wait out another storm, I drank a coffee at the bar of a brasserie I remember for having a massive black German Shepherd. I remember how sophisticated I felt leaving the safety of Jules Ferry to drink tiny, dark cups of coffee amongst the locals. My first trip was in February and I was running all over the city in a fuzzy, black wool Blossom-style hat and an ankle length black down coat. I must have looked like a puffy undertaker.
When I left Paris in 2003, I wished to make it back to celebrate my fortieth birthday. Dreams change and dreams do come true.
Saddest sight in Paris right now...
Tourists wearing orange Eiffel Tower patterned rain ponchos. You know the 10 euros ones that you have to buy because you didn't expect a deluge in June. They look so miserable and so uncomfortable, trying to cram Paris into a soggy 24 hours. All the Parisians are slouching around, shrugging their shoulders and blowing our their lips saying, "C'est pas normal!"
Countess is French for victory...
One of the first things I did when I arrived in Paris was go to Decathlon and order Countess a saddle pad embroidered with her name. I wasn't optimistic: the whole transaction took place in French, I don't have a cell phone here, I had to print her name twice on different pieces of paper. they wrote the order up for "Monsieur Erin Hallett", and I returned to the store three different times as it was never quite ready. I imagined I would be picking up a pony sized tie-dye saddle pad bearing the name "Crusty". Mais non! Voilà!