One day in Paris and the colours of Spring.

Elle Paris Wisteria

Elle Paris Wisteria

There is no special time to visit Paris.  Every time is special – in Spring, Summer, Autumn and I have a particular love for Paris in the winter. Times I go for a few days, and times, such as last week, for the day.  My devotion to Paris is fixéd and unwavering.

And I do love the Eurostar.  Love the gentle, elegant way of travel under the sea.  So, it was up and ready for the taxi at 4.30 am to St. Pancras.  London, still dark, so lovely in the quiet drive, the view from Waterloo Bridge, already magical and they day had barely begun.

IMG_4355

In Spring, there are some cherry trees beside the Notre Dame that I head for first, for they never fail to take my breath away.  Children play in the sandpit, oblivious to the sight through the flowers, the history, the Gargolyes looming towards the Seine.  It is a cloudless sky, the wind is crisp and the blossoms tutu pink and dancing.

I am not a tourist anymore, having been here so many times, so rather than the million photo opportunities of the cathedral and waiting in line to enter, I simply sit for a while and watch the blossoms here.  Today was no different.

When one only has a few hours in Paris, like I did, choosing your route is important.  Walking is the way to go, for it is too lovely to spend time underground.  I chose to meander along the lesser known streets to make my way to the Le Jardin du Luxembourg, a favourite part of my Paris.  Through the streets surrounding the Sorbonne, past Shakespeare and Company, and up into the park, where the tulips were hanging onto their last petals in the breeze. If the cherry blossoms were delicate shades of pink, the tulips were vivid hues of cerise, peach and coral, dark burgundy and deep, velvet reds.

IMG_4357 If time allowed, another visit to the museum, but it was onward, to church.  The churches in Paris know me well:  I breathe in their majesty and love the silence, the reverence of walking about, tippy toe, for the echoes are strong.  There are a few favourites, and today it was to Saint-Sulpice to light my candles.  Found another on the way, so those I love were burning brightly in my heart on my beautiful walk.

IMG_4326IMG_4327

IMG_4331IMG_4340

Love the way the light filters through the cracks onto the chairs, the same chairs in all the churches – little havens from the world outside.  Faith still lives there, and in particular during Easter.  Another reason I love Saint-Sulpice so much is Eugene Delacroix – his murals, painted between 1855 and 1862 in The Chapel of the Angels, are exquisite.  Who can but not be in awe of ‘Jacob wrestling with the Angel’ when one can feel the torment and anguish of man’s struggle with God.  Art is meant to be evocative, to stir response. ‘ “In truth, painting taunts and torments me in a thousand ways, like the most demanding of mistresses,” as he confided in his journal on January 1, 1861.

 

IMG_4336 Another favourite is Delacroix’s ‘Liberty leading the people.’

Just outside the Saint-Sulpice, is a great little bistro/café where I choose to sit and watch the fountain, the church and all the passers-by. Don’t look for super food salads or main meals of the day here, it’s baguettes or sandwiches with the famous Poilané bread. Just Monsieur Croque and me.  Heavenly.

Time to go.  I know a little Ladurée shop few tourists know along the way.  There are a few items I would rather buy in Paris, for they are Paris, and pure delight in choosing my six flavours, which include Pistachio, Noisette, Citron, Rose, Morello cherry and Pistachio again. Also stop at Caudalie to stock up before a quick stop to the shops below the Louvre.  The Louvre is not somewhere you want to be over Easter, with hoards of school children and throngs of tourists, so I veer to the right to say ‘hello’ to the girls looking down on the scene. The Louvre is best seen in the Winter, as she opens.

IMG_4352

They may be a little tattered, like me in Silver Street, but I love them.  Earned my respect.

Once final browse through Delfonics to drool over the stationery and it’s back to the Gare Du Nord for my trip back to London. It has been a day of beauty, of culture, a day of dreaming and feeling romantic, in great company and I cannot wait to do it again.

À bientôt xxx

Image of Wisteria, Elle.

 

Silver Train Glamour under the sea.

images-4

images-4

Guilty of ritual governance in my life.  Never been on the Orient Express or Rovos  (oh please one day!), mais have indulged in my halcyon imaginings on the Eurostar that takes me from London to Paris.   Repeat, London to Paris … 

Not going to muddy the fantasy with past tales of stuck the the tunnel.  Not going there.  It is a gorgeous experience, now upgraded and wi-fi, movie and music options.  Indulging time.

IMG_1681 Sleek.  Why the love dream with the Eurostar?   First, the leaving from St. Pancras.  Architectural stage set, one already feels special when you step into this building.  They should give five minute tours on the history of St. Pancras.  Confession that for years before corrected, I did call it St. Pancreas. Then there is the, for me, the tradition of always meeting up with my travelling companions at Le Pain …..  LPQ if one wants less flowery mispronunciation.  To get into the French way of doing, going to Paris, France you understand.  Seduced by Croissants and bread we should not eat, cups without handles and ze french accent in the air.

Secondly, there are these two magnificent cities – Eurostar is the Fixer, bringing the two together without the humdrum and dishevelling of airport security and stress, stress, stress.  Things move rather rapidly depending on the choice of bank holiday, group tour, time of train option you carefully avoid.

Thirdly, you are sitting in a decent seat.  The ‘not plaiting your knees into your hair’ sort of seat – morph seat.  All you need then, is diary, music, coffee (or wine), the dreamy expression and let the Silver Tube take you under.

IMG_1682

The upgraded Silver Eurofish has a few other plus points.  Let’s talk toilets with simple how to for idiots like me who fears the touching of anything in toilets on public transport – take easier reading of coach numbers (I was the one you saw with her nose against the side of the train unable to read the coach number and the same goes for inside) – take more luggage space for those who make a weekend in Paris a removal of their house excursion (hate, hate those coffin carriers) and a few other simple things I forget but enjoyed at the time.

Not so good yet?  One attendant for the dining (spot the ‘dining’) carriage and a snake of people who just look silly.  We lined up against the wall, then had to sort of decide where to stand next and ended up like a group of toddlers hanging onto an imaginary rope reading for an outing.  Not good.

The Internet is unpredictable but she is a novice in this exercise and I am a patient person, for now anyway.

Hell I love that bursting upon French soil with light affirmity.

outsideinpallant

Silver Style.  Silver Star – now to wish an upgrade at Gare du Nord please.  Then all is Silver lining.

Images:

outsidepallent

Early Sunday morning in Paris

IMG_1689

IMG_1689 Early right?  Chances of getting her on her own like this again is slim.  Waiting for Starbucks to open it’s me and the odd, horizontal with the pavement avec last night.  I have become immune to this side of Paris, step over and take my first picture, the light is breathing life – into me if not horizontal person.

My first trip back as an orphan.  The past week has been controversial with expectations for me to fly back and deal.  They do not know my conversations with my mum –  now in spirit with me in her second favourite city.  Amsterdam is first, being Dutch, but Paris is the place she introduced two young teenagers to all those years ago, with so much passion and it was this passion ardante transfusion that has lasted, and transfused into my daughters.  When mum was ready to slip away, and knew I had booked for a weekend in Paris, it was her wish we keep to the plan.  Spirit Nita, eternal Edith, I am here. We are here.  And happy to believe you are too, free of body, free of pain – ethereal – and I do believe we are headed for Mont St. Micheal soon …

While children sleep, I am walking the empty streets of Paris.  After the rain … (yes this is why I love Laura Mercer’s ‘After the Rain’ collection of eye colours) with blue open sky, stone and the briefest of spring leaves on the London Planes.

IMG_1693

There was been too much sadness of late.  This light is energising and I am happy to walk alone (as I mentioned the others are not exactly walking.)  Shops are dead, as the cigarette stubs in washed out corners of the shade, but up, and up, there is nothing but promise. Love her or hate her Madame Eiffel is a setting point for me – she has seen life I will never and be here long after me.

IMG_1696 (1) The beauty of design, for me to see, in the quiet. No-one about this time of the morning and I love it. There are closed restaurant I have eating in, walks at midnight, flowers on display in the foyers of the greatest hotels … I have seen Paris in all her splendour … and now, when she is quiet and fresh again.

IMG_1697  Before the day begins.  I have time to think and remember .. and all is good .. to a new day.