Thursday afternoon, 18th June, at the airport, my first big sigh. Phew, we did it. Nothing I can possibly do with the list that still rampages through my head of things that must be done before departure. Will our adorable Saska be all right? Yes, a lovely wonderful couple are staying in our home to continue the pampering. So tick to that on my list. Is the house clean and welcoming? I think so, thanks to the ministrations of Gemma, wow, a cleaner par excellence. Was our home really that dirty? Anyway, tick.
What about all our gorgeous friends, without their kindness and company for three months? Well that's what FaceBook, blogging, Instagram, Viber, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Messenger, text, email....is for. Staying connected and avoiding the stamp queues in post offices. And that's what makes returning delightful. Planning the catch up, preparing the CD-R photos highlight package, and cooking special meals to celebrate countries visited. So another tick. Just get on the plane Thurgood.
Day 1 à Paris melts all those anxious thoughts. We needed to hang cool until after 1pm before moving into the Airbnb apartment in the 10th arrondissement, having arrived about 7am. But it's not a hard thing to do really. The Canal Saint-Martin was an easy place to meander, take in the tranquility of the warm air, the plane trees, reflections of a city scape in the water, and the barges gracing the waterways.
Looking up at the buildings and landmarks that are celebrated in song and memory, we walk and watch Parisiennes and visitors to the beautiful Parc des Buttes Chaumont. An easy way to rest and recover.
Then on to our apartment on rue de Lancry. Compact, clean, bright, airy, quiet, well located. Lots of ticks to our first stay. It's a lovely neighbourhood with some good local shops. Patricia Wells, the chef and cookbook writer which includes the great app, "Food Lover's Guide to Paris", says If I thought about relocating in Paris I would definitely consider living around the corner from Christophe Vasseur's boutique (Du Pain et Des Idées), where his pain des Amis is pure perfection - moist, crusty, golden, delicious. And we live for the moment just around the corner! And the coissants for our first breakfast were a bit of perfection too.
Lots of nice looking restaurants and cafés, including our Thai dinner on the first night, my lunch today, Sunday, as Roger whizzes across to London, and lots of street activity.
Our first full day in Paris, Saturday 20 June focussed on "returns": to the restored stained-glass windows of the Sainte Chapelle, to sitting up close to the next table at a French bistro, the Conciergerie (the prison during the reign of terror), Roger's one of many CD shops on the Boulevard St-Michel, and to the café in the Place de la Sorbonne next to the first hôtel in Paris I stayed in, with Janine, some decades ago. The hôtel is greatly renovated, looks like part of a chain, but still brings back memories, particularly of Janine insisting I put my smelly shoes out on the window ledge at night. Good call, Janine.
A bientôt, Pat.