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nighttime in Paris, et tout va bien

A quick note to let you know – yes, I made it and am as happy as can be. Yes yes yes! How I love this city! How lucky I am to be here. All the misery of packing and preparing to leave is forgotten. Right now, I’m in a tiny hotel room in my old neighbourhood, the 5th arrondissement, le Quartier Latin, swooning with jet-lag after the long sleepless flight, so will mostly post pictures today. And sorry – the paragraphing is weird again, for some reason.

We landed half an hour late, at 10. A long line up to get my Navigo card and the metro into the city – we stopped for 20 minutes for a medical emergency but then were off, and I walked down the Boul. Port Royal to the hotel just as it started to drizzle, was in my room by 2. It was the strangest day here – chilly rain and hot sun alternating for five minutes at a time. First I had a delicious croque monsieur and café crème sitting outside on the Rue Mouffetard, one of my favourite streets in all Paris, and then went, on a sunny break, to visit the nearby Jardin des Plantes, a botanical masterpiece of a park with Paris’s natural history museum and a magnificent cherry tree. I scattered some of my father’s ashes beneath this tree years ago, so when I come to Paris, I visit him and thank him again for making sure I speak French and so feel comfortable in this glorious city. Anna who works with Indigenous elders approved of this, my first stop in Paris. “Paying your respects first is the preferred way to honour one’s ancestors,” she texted. Though it’s hard to imagine my vibrant father as an ancestor.

And then I went to the river to check – yes, there she is in the distance, Our Lady, with a new spire. I’ll visit her soon. I was here when she burned, went next morning to bear witness and mourn with the crowds. I wept twice on my first walk today, once for Dad, and once for Notre Dame.
Wandered back, poking about, and was so woozy, I had to lie down for a bit. But it was lovely out, so I walked up the rue Claude Bernard, where I used to rent a friend’s little pied à terre when I visited, to the magnificent Panthéon and then to the Jardins du Luxembourg, packed with people, especially children, on this holiday Monday. And then got the #21 bus back, stopped to get some take-out Vietnamese soup to eat in my room, and got myself organized. And now to bed.
Photos: plane trees for Ruth! Dad’s cherry tree. Notre Dame in the distance from the Pont d’Austerlitz. Every tree in the city has a little garden planted around it; the greenery everywhere is extraordinary. A very small, ordinary grocery store and its liquor for sale, including Veuve Clicquot. How they honour their national heroes in this country, with a humble little monument – the Panthéon. The Rue Soufflot with the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Luxembourg – these people know how to do parks; thousands strolling and sitting in the sun. Loved the little boy – surrounded by beauty, he played for 20 minutes dropping pebbles down the drain. As my grandboys loved to do.
Bonne nuit!

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2 Responses to “nighttime in Paris, et tout va bien”

  1. Kathy O'Brien says:

    enjoying travelling vicariously with you again, Beth … the joys of the world, the joys of travel

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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