Monday, August 21, 2017

Snapshots From Paris

Saturday evening: rain. Correction: foreboding clouds that gave way to a downpour. But we didn't care. Au Bourguignon du Marais was a mere 2-minute walk from our hotel's reception, and with heated lamps overhead, we chose a table outside, overlooking the street in true Parisian style.

One order of fresh green beans, supreme de poulet jaune and boeuf bourguignon later, we were truly under the spell of Paris: that heady, giggly feeling akin to sipping a glass of wine too quickly, even though neither of us had touched a drop.

A pair of profiteroles melting in a sea of hot chocolate sauce sent us into a dizzying spiral of foodie bliss, and, after paying the bill, we ended up strolling to Pont Louis Philippe for a night-time view of the Seine, spotting the teasing twinkle of the Eiffel Tower's searchlight in the distance.

Too excited to sleep that night, we drifted off around midnight ... dreaming of the day ahead.

On Sunday, we woke early, and I flung open the balcony doors before pulling the covers back up under my chin. I called down to reception to have our breakfast brought up to our room (fancy!) and we nibbled on a feast of jams, butter, fresh pain, pain au chocolat, and croissants, along with eggs, fresh juice, fruit, and more ... before taking our time to get ready for exploring Le Marais.

We peered into shops and snapped photos in front of storefronts and boulangeries. It was magnificently quiet. Except for a group of German tourists that suddendly descended on the street we were standing on, few people were up sipping coffee al fresco at that time of the morning.

I paused to take in the beautiful light; the shade from a pink-blossomed tree; a former hammam-turned-COS-store.

We meandered towards the Place des Vosges, a beautiful green square lined with park benches and four burbling fountains. We sat down to take it all in - and to wonder aloud about our trajectory from meeting at a small college in rural Massachusetts, to living in London and travelling to Paris together.

Stopping into a jewellery store that had just opened, we ogled sparkly rings and chandelier earrings before jumping on the Metro to the Tuileries, where we breezily waltzed into Angelina and ordered the house speciality: thick, molten hot chocolate.

We shared probably the most delicious club sandwich I've ever had, and went for a stroll in the now-humming Tuileries Garden ... choosing the quieter path between trees.

Feeling strangely sluggish and exhausted, we headed back to the darling Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais for ... a nap. And woke an hour later, famished for crepes.

We tucked into the Nutella and banana-stuffed pancakes before exclaiming, "What's that amazing smell?" and ducking into Estaban, before each carefully selecting a candle to take home.

After a so-so dinner at Chez Julien, we wandered to the bridge we'd visited the night before ... and somehow ended up wandering to the Notre Dame.

The setting sun had cast a beautiful wash of egg-yolk orange over the riverbank, the Seine, and all the pretty buildings lining the river. Spanish guitarists strummed melodies under bridges and trees ... another duo had attracted quite a crowd with Simon and Garfunkel's 'The Sound of Silence'. As the sun began to fade into the distance, Udita turned to me and asked, "Should we just go? To the bridge? Should we get an Uber and just go?" She meant Pont de Bir-Hakeim, where we'd planned to visit earlier in the day but had opted for a nap instead.

"Yes," I said decisively, and we marched over to await our Mercedes chariot outside a Subway.

"Are you going on a boat?" the driver asked, helpfully, en route.

"No, just the bridge!" we replied, giggling.

Because it was the view from the bridge that we'd gotten into the car for:

Watching dusk turn into night, we turned away from the tower, before glancing back and noticing that it was now illuminated. We ran to our positions again to snap photo after photo - with only five or so other people doing the same.

That night, we packed our bags and set our alarms, not wanting dawn to arrive. But it did - within what felt like a few minutes of closing our eyes - and we blearily trudged downstairs to await a cab to Gare du Nord, leaving our Parisian weekend trailing behind us like dream we never fully woke from.

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