Tuesday, May 30, 2017

leaving Paris

It is our last morning in Paris. Our flight leaves blissfully late -- in the afternoon, so there is no rush. I'm up a few minutes earlier than usual, but that's because I want to walk at a slow pace. Oh, it's not much of a walk, that morning stroll for the croissants, but I want to savor it. Not because I'm going to miss Paris, but because I'm going to miss Paris with my family.

It's not a simple wake up for the neighborhood. I smell the smoke. There's a fire in one of those old buildings and the streets are shut off to traffic while the firemen with their firetruck (so much smaller than ours back home!) do their work.


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I watch for a minute. It's all so quiet, really. It mustn't be a threatening fire. A handful of neighborhood people watch, but most go about their business. Like these guys -- one munching on a pain au chocolat from Paul's, the others just keeping him company. That's a phrase that should forever be attached to France: people keep each other's company.


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For the visitors and cafe habitues -- it's too early. Just before 8, the tables are set, but no one is sitting down just yet. (Here's a cafe with a somewhat different sidewalk decor.)


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Alright. Time to head back, croissants and pains au chocolat in their little paper sack, still warm, always delicious.

One last view down the street that I've followed to the bakery... It's a pretty set of blocks.


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Inside our apartment, no one is stirring yet. But Paris isn't sleeping anymore. There is that morning hum. People attending to their daily stuff. Kids, escorted to school... (I have to believe this mom or, horrors, grandma?? -- is on her way to work after the drop off. You do not dress this well for school drop off! Do you??)


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And now the young family is up. Snowdrop is so excited for breakfast and I just smile and smile at her love of this routine which, of course, is such a grand routine in my book!


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The parents finish packing. Snowdrop knows we're leaving. She keeps herself busy, but her talk is all about the airplane, the airport, the whole travel shebang. (But when asked at the airport -- are you excited to be going home? She blurts out -- I want to stay here!)

Finally. Suitcases out, we leave the keys on the counter and shut the door behind us. The little one does her last walk down the spiral staircase...


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... and we begin our rather long walk to the Luxembourg train stop. (Ah, here I am again, photographing my goodbye to the gardens which, heretofore, will always be in my mind Snowdrop's Luxembourg Gardens. I note the chestnuts that bordered the statue have been cut down. They weren't thriving. I suppose it was a necessary step.)


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From here, we'll catch the commuter train to the airport.

I so applaud the decision to take the train! It's nearly a half hour walk to the train station and we have way too much luggage, as happens when traveling with a young one, but the train is always my way in and out of Paris -- both for its cheapness and for the speed. Oh, it brings up the usual Paris nuisances: we have to navigate lots of stairs with suitcases and a stroller. But we're game! And once we're on the train, slowly, the cars empty out and we sit comfortably for the 35 minute ride to the airport. And Snowdrop is so excited to be whizzing along on the railway tracks!


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The airport is for once really tame. I do not know why. I've caught this flight before and there would be tumultuous crowds. Not today. We zip through passport controls, zip through security and I think by the time we're by the gates, everyone wonders why we're here so early (a whole hour before boarding). Because you can't assume it'll always this easy, of course!

(Walking to the gate...)


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And now the boarding begins. Snowdrop just loves to look out and admire the airplanes. And I admire her. Last year, she was grand for a while, but by the time we were done with the check in procedures, she dissolved into a mess of tears. Not this year. No, not this year.


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The flights are the best kind: uneventful. I volunteer to sit with the little girl after the first hour, thinking she surely will sleep, as it overlaps so much with her bedtime. But after a brief nap, she remains awake, at times half watching the movie Frozen, at other times munching snacks  and chatting up gaga. Isn't that we all do when we travel with family? A little of this, a little of that and before you know it the eight or nine hour flight is behind us and we're killing time at the next aiport and then finally you're home.

I am convinced Snowdrop has the travel gene. Her dad has it, her gaga has it. Her excitement is, of course my excitement. And so Paris now has her mark all over it. My best buddy made sure of that.


1 comment:

  1. So lovely. Now sleep for a week. Doze. Reminisce. Set every detail in mind. Scroll through more pics. Sit, SIT, in your garden.

    Oh, not you. I know. You'll probably have garden tools in your hands tomorrow. also a croissant.


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