Saturday, December 17, 2016

the Saturday before Christmas, in Paris, without camera

There are many beautiful and notable things about this day. The sunshine! Oh, the sunshine (and continued winter warmth)! The hustle of Parisians as they strive to prepare for themselves, for their families the perfect Christmas on this last Saturday before the holiday (going to the food halls is an experience I wont quickly forget). And my own gallant attempt to do right by the holiday by filling lists and checking them three times (just twice didn't add up).

And then there is the issue of the camera. As dead as a doornail. (Still on warranty, but it is out for the rest of this year for sure.)

I do have my iPhone, but I am not used to using it for photography (I only take pics of Snowdrop, to send them to her mom when I'm babysitting) and oddly enough it's more conspicuous than a camera which I move around quickly so that no one really knows what's going on and it does not interrupt the flow of human traffic.

Oh, I do take out the phone now and then, but of course then I have to move all those photos to my computer, fix them and move them again to flickr. And the sizing! Why are some maxed out in their small state? Why are others not? Do I want to learn? Not today, not on this trip, possibly never.

So do follow along, but it will be a short journey if you measure it by the number of pictures posted.

First, breakfast. A late one again. (Late to bed, late to rise.) It would be terribly boring to launch into yet another analysis of why this time I eat at the hotel and with what bread product, so I'll just leave you with a photo.


After, I know I would like to touch on some stores, but I resist the urge to take the shortcut and get it all out of the way from the minute I step outside. I want to feel some of the Paris that is without its beautiful window displays. Endless store gazing can do damage to the soul. Too much lust and admiration. And so I head for the river.

(Passing lovely, colorful cafes...)


I never quite cross the river, making this one of those trips where I remain wedded to the Left Bank. But I do step out on the pedestrian bridge that always gives the best view of the tip of the island... And oh, that sky!


In winter, the bare trees reveal peaks at Parisian scenes that are uniquely enchanting.


And of course, everywhere, there are the flowers. I'm a real nut about having winter flowers inside the house and I marvel at the selection here.


Passing perfect pastry shops with very perfect looking pastries. If Snowdrop were here, we'd share this snowman for afternoon snack!


I pass the Cafe la Varenne -- perhaps my favorite lunch place in the city, and it is so lively, spilling out onto outdoor tables that are just perfectly touched by the sun! I am very tempted to plunge into that scene and order a good lunch, but honestly, I'd recently had breakfast and the meal here would not be cheap and so I walk on, enjoying just glancing at the happy eating of others.


From there it is just a hop and a skip to the food halls of the Bon Marche. It is, of course, chaotic today, but that makes it rather fun for me. I don't have much to buy here and I move around from one free sample (huge chocolates, cups of tea, dabs of honey, cakes, and perhaps perniciously -- sips of wines and aperitifs, so that you walk as if in a fog of delights, wondering what else to put into your basket, juts because). It really is a quite delicious hour of weaving from one beautiful food display to the next.

I've popped into stores here and there (Snowdrop always benefits from this, as do, I hope, other family members who'll find themselves with oddly colorful and perhaps not quite staid enough presents under the tree) and now I feel I can spend no more and carry no more and so I head for the park.

In that last warm glow of the late afternoon sun, it is all that I love about it.


People strolling, people chasing children, people warming themselves against the Orangerie wall to catch that last ray of sunlight...


Last night I posted far too late. I remember dozing in between sentences. Today I'll post now, early -- before the day is fully done. I'll write about my last evening tomorrow, en route home.

I'm sending the warmest of warm glows your way. Dazzling and gold, peaceful, beautiful, calm.