Going on a Trip

I am leaving Paris for two weeks.  I’m going to California where I lived for most of my adult life.  It is a beautiful day today.  The sky is blue, the Seine is peaceful, sparkling and the Bateaux Mouches have begun their daily trips up and down the river showing tourists the sights along the banks.

 

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I have been grumbling about the weather most of the Fall.  It seemed that we went from summer to winter without passing Autumn.  In fact, we have had a couple of beautiful Indian Summer days and this seems to be turning into one of them.  I’ve turned the heat off in the apartment and I’m looking forward to a walk.  My iPhone says that the next week will be sunny and much much warmer than it has been.

 

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However, I’m leaving for Charles de Gaulle airport before the sun comes up tomorrow morning.  And like most of my “last days before the trip” Paris seems lovelier.  I seem to see it all much more clearly.  I look around my apartment as if I will never see it again.  I held Bijou, the cat, so close trying to make a physical memory of her furriness, her sweetness, the way she will suddenly look up at me with loving eyes that completely melt my heart.  I don’t feel this way about going anywhere else in Europe.  But California and another life seems worlds away from Paris and this life.

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Last January, when I took my trip to California, terrorists had just bombed the Brussels airport.  We had heard, though it hadn’t been confirmed, that the Brussels airport was second choice to Paris.  I had no idea what to expect.  I felt very matter of fact about it.  I called my lawyer and asked if I wrote out a makeshift will in pencil about all my belongings in Paris, would it be considered legal.  He said yes then added to please not worry, nothing was going to happen to me.  He couldn’t possibly know. The truth is, a place where terrorists have just hit is probably one of the safest places in the world.

I’m not worrying about terrorists.  I look forward to these long flights to California (but not to the jet lag). Once I get to the airport, get my bags checked, get through border control, I’m in No Man’s Land.  Soon my phone won’t ring at all, I won’t be able to receive any texts.  No one can bother me or demand anything of me.  I can watch five movies in a row and not feel guilty or lazy. I can daydream or read a book or write.

But that’s tomorrow.  Today, I’m walking around looking at everything as if it’s the first time and the last time.  I don’t feel anxious.  I don’t have a word for it.  It’s a feeling I’m sure everyone gets at some time or another.  Of wanting to imprint something in my memory that is stronger than just a memory.  I want to be able to touch it, feel it, take it with me.  When I’m sitting in my living room in Oakland, I don’t want Paris to feel so incredibly far away.  The memory I always default to is sitting in my armchair that I have facing the window.  The window that looks out on Quai des Grands Augustins, the Pont Neuf and the river Seine.  It’s an amazing view of one of the most beautiful parts of Paris that I look at every day.

 

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A bientôt,

Sara

Welcome to my blog

My dining room table sits at one of the four windows in my living room.  I have positioned myself so that I see the Pont Neuf and the river Seine whenever I sit to eat, to work on my computer or to read.  My view out my window reminds me daily of the extraordinary path I’ve taken to be sitting here, how very lucky I am and how much I appreciate it.

I see both daily life and tourist life out my window.  The bouquinistas line the Quai along the Seine and both tourists and Parisians alike stop to have a look.  They are full of old books, sometimes first print books, old posters as well as magnets, various sizes of the Eiffel Tower and paris postcards.  Everyone looks though not everyone stops.  The bouquinistas are Paris as much as Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower are Paris.

The buses 27 and 24 on their way to Gare St. Lazare pass under my window.  Parisians going to work, getting to the trains to go the suburbs or just going one or two stops because of fatigue.  Along side the buses are the Hop On Hop Off buses, the upper level full of tourists getting the complete tour of this beautiful city before deciding where to get off and spend some time.

The river hardly has a ripple today.  The Bateaux Mouches come through one of the arches of the Pont Neuf carrying hundreds of tourists who want their first look of Paris to be from the water.  The river Pompiers are just up the river and some mornings, one can see their inflatable boats come by slowly while a couple of the men will be swimming the river in wet suits looking for debris, god forbid people, anything that shouldn’t be in the river but is.  Across the river from me is the famous 36 Quai d’Orfeveres, the homicide unit of the French police.  A movie by that name has made it into one of the better French Film Noir movies of that era.

So now you know where I live.  This is a blog about daily life; books that I’ve read, writers that come through Paris often stopping to give a talk at the American Library; movies that I’ve seen and recomment, events big and small that happen here in Paris. This is not a blog about wine or food.  There are plenty of those and much better than I could ever do.  But I might mention a fairly inexpensive restaurant and why I like it.

I hope you enjoy!