‘Til Amsterdam do us part

Esteban got up uncharacteristically early this morning: His train to Amsterdam was leaving at 11, and he hadn’t yet packed.

“Why are we doing this?” I asked as he finished packing. It seemed like a good idea at the time, when I’d proposed we spend a week doing our own thing …

After he left, I faced the daunting task of cleaning up our rented apartment on the rue des Tournelles, packing, and moving across town to our hotel in Vincennes. So I procrastinated by taking a walk.

The Place des Vosges was pretty quiet on this gray day, so I strolled slowly and savored the architectural details. Somehow I hadn’t noticed until today that the doorknockers are all different.

Then I visited the Village St Paul. Its narrow passageways connect several cobbled courtyards, each one full of charming little shops and restaurants. I loved getting lost in this peaceful, picturesque maze.

As I continued my stroll, I finally remembered to look for the cannonball that’s lodged in the wall at the Hôtel de Sens. “28 Juillet 1830,” reads the inscription. Talk about a monument to bad aim.

I also spotted some wonderful street art. I wasn’t crazy about the creepy paint job someone had given this little cherub, but I loved the visual pun on “souris à la vie:” Souris means both “smile” and “mouse,” which explains the little mouse in the corner, running off with the can of spray paint.

I saw lots of other wonderful things along the way …

… but I quickly ran out of time. At 5 p.m., the apartment would no longer be mine. I will miss its lovely courtyard—and especially the gardienne’s funny little dog.

À bientôt, rue des Tournelles. À très bientôt, j’espère.


  1. I’m blown away by the photos of the “wonderful things along the way”. The lamps, the flowers, the apartment doorway with the mailboxes and planters…these are all gorgeous.

    Now, chin up. Esteban is only away for a short time, and you have a lot more walking to do! 🙂

  2. What a joy to wander around Paris with you! I am so enjoying these posts. Here I especially enjoyed the archetypally Parisian dog. I’m learning a lot too: the doorknobs, and the canonball, and other quirky details of a city you know far better than me. Thanks for sharing it with us, and good luck with the next chapter of your vacation.

    • Your kind words mean the world to me, Dancingbeastie — and all the more because I often write with you in mind as my sort of archetypical reader. And as much as I may be proud of myself for knowing about a few hidden treasures (like the cannonball), I discovered tonight that I don’t hold a candle to our favorite French Frye. Corey is *amazing.* I wish I’d taped the guided tour he gave me …

      More to come! 🙂

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