Sunday, October 08, 2017

the colors of Paris

Abruptly, everything around me changes. The Pyrenees in early Fall are a world apart from Paris. Let me put us in a more urban mood: I alight at the Gare de Lyons (the station where the trains from the south come in) and I begin the walk to my hotel. I don't want to tug my suitcase the whole way, but if I cross the river and do a little stroll, I can get to a good metro stop.  I want that walk. I've been sitting too long.

So I cross the river...


... and keep on going, through the gates of the Jardins des Plantes -- these are the gardens to the east of Paris -- and now the going gets tough because suitcase wheels don't do well on dirt alleys. Still, I am glad I'm here.


The last time I'd been in this park was with Snowdrop, but I did not know then that there was a merry-go-round! Sorry, little one! You would have liked it -- it's animal themed...


These two little girls, barely older than Snowdrop are hurrying to where I did take my little one: to the Zoo.


You'll notice that it is considerably cooler here -- low 60sF (16C).

I keep on walking, thinking back to Sorede, to my trip thus far. So many people are anxious about air travel, about the dangers lurking in European capitals, but on this trip, my scariest moment came this morning, as I was speeding along to Montpellier. I had to change lanes to get to a gas station. Good thing I did, because right in the lane I had left, a bicycle had tumbled off a car rack. Cars swerved, barely avoiding collisions. Highway driving is far more dangerous than taking a flight to Europe, that's for sure.

I catch the metro to my usual neighborhood.

I'm not staying at my favorite hotel though, which is unfortunate, because that place feels like home, even though it isn't really home. But for this trip, I picked the lesser hotel -- the Design Sorbonne. I stay here when I'm really trying to save money. For one night, I can put up with the extraordinarily tiny rooms and the rather traditional (meaning old) styling of the interiors. It's immediately across the street from the University and there definitely is a youthful brainy vibe to the cafe life here.


But the room is what it is. If I open the window, I can pretend it's larger than a box with red walls.


And since it is just mid afternoon, I go for a walk.

(Students are so innovative in their choice of seating! These guys are on bike stands...)


I'm passing my favorite pastry shop  (Gerard Mulot) and I see that there is an event taking place in it: the Gerard Mulot is doing a meet and greet with customers. I am, as always, in awe of the talent and imagination of food giants. I want to go up to him and say something spectacular, but I cannot think what that may be...


... so I just gawk at the exquisite cakes and pastries. This one is a simple peach tart, but oh how beautifully it glistens!


I move on.

There is an art exhibition that I would like to see, but somehow my feet aren't moving me in that direction. In Paris, I go where my feet go.

My eyes are drawn to kids -- colorfully clad kids! Somehow Paris colors are always so appropriate! I have no better word for it.


See if you don't agree: I am at the department store and it is very crowded today. Lots of shoppers. Perhaps it's France's national shopping day. I mean, it's never crowded here! And again, all the colors are just right. Everyone seems to match.


Coincidence? Perhaps. But you just have to admire how people pay attention to this stuff here. Starting at a young age.


Toward evening I am at the Jardin Luxembourg. My favorite spot, to be sure, but I haven't much time for it as I note that it closes at 6:45  -- just a few minutes from when I enter.

No matter. I don't want to pause. I'm feeling the October nip in Paris. Walk briskly, wrap that scarf around your neck. Admire the trees...


... and the Fall colors.


Ponies! Snowdrop thoughts again... Could it be that I am anxious to get home?


One more photo from the gardens. This one. You've seen him before, I know that. But each season is different. Each moment is unique.


Cream toned buildings, narrow streets -- not the colors of Sorede, that's for sure. Sorede is Sorede, Paris is Paris.


A boy kicks around a soccer ball by the St Sulplice fountain. Saturday playfulness.


But I'm hungry. I had popped into the Breizh Cafe to see if I could get a place for dinner. You'll remember it perhaps -- it serves savory buckwheat crepes and I was thrilled to see it open in my neighborhood. I wouldn't necessarily expect to get a table on a Saturday evening, but the people who work there are immensely agreeable and they squeeze me in. I have a wonderful plate of Brittany oysters and langoustine crepes (langoustines are like crayfish only you'll find them in the salty waters of the North Atlantic), along with cider. Sorede, Paris, Brittany. If I had to list three things I especially like about France, those would be it.


By my hotel again. I spot a cat. So odd: that's more Sorede and Brittany than it is Paris. Hi cat!


And I do nothing more on this day but crawl into bed and fall asleep.

Morning. A bit of a drizzle outside, then not, then yes, more drizzle, finally not.

Sunday mornings streets here are always empty. The exception will be the guy who is sent out to pick up the baguette...


I am back at Les Editeurs cafe. Because I always like breakfast there. Croissant, cafe creme...


... and a selfie in one of their numerous mirrors.


A walk back to the hotel. It's all about the familiar on this trip, isn't it? I pass this shop: on Snowdrop's first visit here, I picked up just a couple of these espresso cups and she now asks for them: can I please have a Paris cup with milk?


A few more steps to the hotel... Auguste Comte and a waiter with a cigarette and cell phone...


And now I am out, dragging my case to the commuter rail station which (perhaps you'll remember?) is right by the Luxembourg Gardens.

One last glance...


It's Sunday... the park will surely grow more crowded...


But me -- I'm heading home.