Today is Thanksgiving, back in the States.
I have been fortunate to live 40-some wonderful years, full of travel and love and rich experiences. And although I give thanks for my life every day, today I am extremely privileged to be doing so in Paris.
Esteban and I started our morning as we have for almost a week now, with a three-block walk to the Bastille métro station. He very much wanted to visit the Louvre today, but I’d already had my fill back in March. We kissed goodbye for the day and parted ways.
I took off on foot with no particular destination. To me, this is the best way to experience Paris: Getting hopelessly lost often leads to the most wonderful discoveries, like this ancient sign for a street that has since been renamed.
Walking in Paris sometimes also affords you a glimpse into the hidden world that exists behind the massive doors that line almost every street. Most apartment buildings in Paris have at least one courtyard, which you can (usually) only access if you know the door code. But today I found many of these doors open, much to the delight of my inner voyeur.
I also spotted a few more “art vans”—and some very fancy, very expensive floor tiles by Invader.
I suddenly found my bearings when I recognized the entrance to the Musée Carnavalet. Housed in a gorgeous former mansion, this museum focuses on Paris’ history. I’ve visited many times and never tire of its enormous, diverse collection.
My favorite eye-catchers today were a droll ivory carving of Liszt at his piano, a weird little diorama about some revolution or other, and the bedroom of author Marcel Proust. I loved imagining him sitting at that desk, scribbling down his Very Deep Thoughts.
Esteban and I reconvened at the apartment at about 5 and then headed right back out. My dear friend Chris and his wife Silke had invited us over for a Thanksgiving dinner, but on the way we wanted to climb the Arc de Triomphe and see the Champs-Elysées. The Champs-Elysées’ Christmas decorations didn’t impress us much at eye level …
… but they looked beautiful from the top of the Arc de Triomphe — as did a portion of the Eiffel Tower.
My favorite thing about the Arc de Triomphe, though, was the nautilus-shell-like stairs. I couldn’t believe that none of the other camera-toting tourists were photographing this.
We did a bit more climbing to reach Chris’ and Silke’s seventh-floor apartment a few blocks away, but it was well worth the effort: They treated us to a delicious feast of roast chicken, potatoes, cheese and wine and bread, a partially mushed (but tasty) pie, and enough laughter to tide us over ‘til Christmas.
We all agreed it was the best Thanksgiving EVER.
Thank you, Chris and Silke.