Sitting in the window of my hotel, tiny hotel, tiny room, noisy street below, but it’s one of my fave places in all Paris. They know me, I’ve stayed here briefly 4 times, and it’s my ‘hood, the 5th, the Latin Quarter. I’m so woozy I can’t think straight, but my face is in the sun as I sit at the window and type, and that’s what matters. After a hideous night of no sleep, I have to keep myself awake till about 7 Paris time; then I take a sleeping pill and will be on the road to recovery the next day.
God I love this city, the elegance, the vast array of riches on display – fruit, cheese, wine, chocolate, all my favourite things. Elegant people and shops. Also dog shit everywhere, still!, homeless people camping on the street, beggars. It’s spring – cherry blossoms and daffodils, the trees in bud or green already.
The flight was, in a word, horrible – on time, efficient staff, but ye gods, it’s unpleasant in Air Canada economy. I was hoping for an empty seat next to me, but there wasn’t an empty seat anywhere on the plane, the seats are small and hardly recline, it’s a kind of torture for seven long hours, no sleep, sitting squashed and upright. But that’s the price we pay for Europe.
At the airport, a small victory for moi. The Parisians like to torment their newly-arrived guests; when people go to the station at the airport to get the metro into Paris, the best and quickest way to get to the city, there are machines to buy your train tickets, and thousands of confused tourists lined up in front of them, taking forever because they don’t understand. Is there anyone around to help? Of course not. But the last time I was here, two years ago, I got a round trip ticket when I went to the airport to go home, so I walked by the giant lineup, fished out my ticket and got on the train. Oh boy did I feel savvy.
I got to the hotel and went out again for a bite to eat on the rue Mouffetard – sat outside with a coffee and a quiche, then went to my bakery for a pain au chocolat, the taste of my childhood time in Paris. Wandered, seeing which stores are still there and which are not. But I can’t write more now, my brain is a fuzzball; I am literally dizzy with fatigue. I’m going out again, over to the Boulevard St. Michel and the Jardins du Luxembourg, just keep myself walking until I collapse.