I’ve been making more of a point to spend quality time with Paris, and I don’t think I’m alone. You get the feeling everyone’s looking for reminders that the capital’s magic is still intact. With every tarte au citron at a favorite bakery, espresso with a friend, or blues show in a bar basement, it seems we’re trying to re-galvanize our pre-November perception of the city by connecting to what makes it beautiful.
We’re all, in a way, in the process of rewriting our love letters to Paris.
For me that letter begins and ends with the solo strolls I’ve enjoyed so often over the years, which is what brought me to the island of Île Saint-Louis for a winter’s walk. The sky was a hopeful blue, the temperature mild enough for shutter fingers, and I needed to be reminded of how lovely life can be as a flaneur.
So I did some flaneur…ing.
Just as I’d hoped, small acts of local life playing out along the quays were an affirmation that Paris was still Paris. The following scene was early on in my walk and couldn’t have been more perfect. You wonder which party was enjoying the exchange more!
Just a few steps later I stood stealthily behind a tree as I pondered what these gents might be training for. I suppose I could’ve asked, but the trick to being a flaneur is that you’re a passionate observer. One doesn’t disturb the players in a play, after all. You just enjoy the show.
This guy impressively managed to doze off in the sun while maintaining the utmost patriotism. Perhaps he wanted to ensure that should another major event transpire, there’d be no question of which side he was on. Vive le nap, my compatriot!
And when the breeze and the sun hits the leaves and the mood is right, the architecture seems to speak comforting words about solidity the permanence of the world. The activity of these streets varies day to day but their stones remain unchanged through it all. There’s some sort of reassuring metaphor in that.
Small interactions like a fils catching up with his papa, or a selfie snapped among love locks is a sign that life doesn’t just go on; it becomes even more meaningful…
…sort of like a city I know.
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