A sad story along the Seine

I woke up at 4:30 this morning after only three hours’ sleep. It’s weird: Almost every time I come to Paris, I eventually get so exhausted that I actually become a bit hyper.

This morning I channeled my extra energy into a long pre-dawn walk. The very first thing I saw was a discarded cigarette pack. “Smoking kills.” Somehow this dire warning doesn’t much deter the French.

Then, I walked past the friendly Algerian’s bakery. For how long had he been up to already have these succulent treats on display?

I decided to take my favorite Sunday-morning route along the Seine. It was a cloudy, sputtery start, so the light wasn’t great — but I snapped a few shots anyway.

I also grabbed a quick historical-marker pic for my friend Corey (salut, mon pote!) …

… and another of an angry note — complete with address and phone number — presumably left by a jilted lover. Ah, c’est beau, l’amour!

As I was photographing under the Pont Neuf, a young man with a guitar walked past me. A quick exchange of pleasantries turned into a long talk as we ambled along the river. I’d like to think there is some purpose in my hearing his heartbreaking story, but all I can do is write it down.

At about 2 p.m. my energy was finally fading so I headed back to the hotel. Staying in Vincennes — on the eastern edge of the city — is both a blessing and a curse: it’s much quieter than the central city, but it’s also a much longer commute. By the time I reached the apartment I was dog-tired.

I fell asleep in my street clothes, and woke up clutching my phone in one hand and a sock in the other. I’m afraid to find out whom I sleep-dialed while baring my naked left foot.

It’s now 6 p.m., and it’s time to head back into town. I’m meeting one of my Irish pub friends for a Guinness and (hopefully) some good live music. With any luck I’ll be back home before the beer takes full effect.

And if you’re starting to get a bit sick of Paris, please check back on Tuesday. Tomorrow I’m taking a quick trip to Germany to catch up with a dear friend.

Brace yourself, Freiburg: Hurricane H is on approach!

20 comments

    • AAAAAGGGHHHH – I miss you so much!! I am in love with your posts and breath-taking photos. You were meant to do this love. Thank you for sharing, it’s like having a cafe creme with you, and helps me not miss you too much 🙂
      xoxo, Lauricita

      • Schnuggi! So, so wonderful to hear from you!! I wish you really WERE sitting with me in a cafe right now, but I’m very much looking forward to catching up over une petite tasse when I get home. In the meantime, there’s a big box full of tuna and Ariel on its way to Minneapolis. 🙂

        Kitten licks,
        h

  1. What lovely quiet shots of early morning Paris. I do hope you get some sleep tonight before your journey to Freiburg! Perhaps the Guinness will help that. 😉

    • I hope I get some sleep, too, DB — otherwise, I’m liable to sleep past my stop and end up in Latvia. So far the Guinnesses have had no effect, but I’m hopeful that any second they’ll kick in and I’ll wake up holding the other sock. Ha.

  2. “Et un fils des putes” Poor thing. Reminds me of a note I saw on a NYC street sign to a girl who had supposedly ‘stolen’ another girl’s boyfriend. I always feel sad for the person who feels their only option is to humiliate the other person so publicly.
    Anyway, back to your Paris reporting. You make me nostalgic for Paris and at the same time, reading your post and looking at your photos make me feel like I’m peeking over your shoulder, seeing it with your eyes.
    Your shots are beautifully evocative. They capture the living, breathing Paris with much tenderness, like a lover caressing her beloved.
    Hope one day you put these in a book (if you haven’t already). Someone I know used blurb.com and raves about them. I’d buy a copy!

  3. About the message on the cigarette pack: at least the French tell it like it is. In Spain as well: Fumar mata. In Germany, where the cigarette and advertising lobby form an unholy alliance, they merely remind you that smoking perhaps might not be that great an idea.

    • What a funny — and well-timed — observation, Ian. I just spent a couple of days in Freiburg and noticed that the packs there say “Rauchen kann tödlich sein.” It struck me as strangely soft language, but thanks to your comment now I know why. Vielen Dank !

  4. Amazing pictures!! I couldn’t stop surfing through your last posts!! Now I have this terrible desire to go to France right away!! Thank you so much for sharing your chronicles!!

  5. Thanks for the Louis XIII snapshot! I’ve seen it once before, in fact thanks to some favorable timing the elderly lady who owns the building noticed I was eyeing it as she passed by and starting elaborating on the story in rapid-fire French. Unfortunately I could do little more at the time than nod politely and be content with the 30% I could understand…some day I guess I’ll pop in for a recap and see if I can absorb more of it!

    • Thanks so much, John. I’m very fortunate to have been to Paris enough times to be able to dig a little deeper. Still, it’s a bit sad to realize that even a lifetime in that city would not be enough for me. *sigh.* 🙂

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