Despite flight delays, temporarily misplaced baggage, sore feet and too little time, I had a great visit in Paris. It comes as no surprise that Paris was beautiful to the point of intimidation. I was overwhelmed upon my arrival to bustling, artistic Montmartre, a hilly part of Paris complete with cobblestones and outdoor cafes at every turn. The stark difference in atmosphere between sleepy Bergen and Paris was remarkable. The sidewalk cafes were full of people smoking, laughing and talking; enjoying life and looking effortlessly beautiful. An energy so extroverted and alive it was palpable.
After the retrieval of my lost suitcase, I saw the main tourist spots like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, Versailles, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame.These places of course you must see once despite the crowds and the cliches. But the best experiences were walking around the quaint streets, stumbling upon fantastic bookstores, seeing street musicians and unicyclist clowns. My friend John took me to a violin shop to test some new instruments. While he attempted to converse in french with the shop owner, I found myself catching a scene of real life as three individuals slowly whittled away at delicate wood, surrounded by cellos backs, silently listening to french music. One of the workers was a young woman that vaguely resembled me. We caught each other sneaking glimpses of the other like in a picture window on the street, surprised and fascinated to see someone so familiar.
Yves Montand, Juliet Greco, Maurice Chevalier, and Edith Piaf accompanied my mornings when I awoke in the bright, sunny apartment. It was utterly cheesy and felt perfect. After making the most of the day, John and I drank port and played backgammon in the evenings while we rested our battered and bruised feet, exhausted. If I go back, and I hope I do, I would spend a day walking very slowly through the gardens or take a whole afternoon staring at one room of paintings. I would allow myself to be enraptured by the scenery.
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