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Parisian autumn sweetness

FRANCE | Sunday, 4 October 2015 | Views [209]

It was a beautiful and refreshing autumn morning. We left our tiny rented apartment at Quartier Latin and walked to Jardin du Luxembourg, jackets off. The three of us had to do our best to resist the fabulous smells coming from the plenty cafés and crêperies on the neighbourhood – some of which had one day been creative refuges to all those talented, young and drunk American writers, as I came to understand better after reading Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” a year later.

Funny thing about Paris is it seems to have stayed the same as decades passed. You can easily shoot a film there set in the 1920’s or 40’s and have no trouble changing things on location or in post-production. No wonder Tour Montparnasse is hated by every single one of the Parisians. A skyscraper in a city that tries to resist time sounds rather unfit, right?

The grass was green, the flowers were turning from pink to orange and the leaves were falling off the trees in the most dream-like October scenery. We sat on a white bench facing the Palais and took some time writing a group note to a couple of friends who would be there in a few days. Carol hid it by a green wooden structure that held a small unimpressive tree. It seemed like a safe place no one would bother messing with. I picked a particularly cute orange leaf from the ground that I still use nowadays to mark one of my journals. It makes me think of Paris every day, involuntarily as it is.

We walked from corner to corner, taking pictures, admiring the statues and making plans for the day. At some point, we spotted the best tree ever to sit on. I can hardly see it being topped by any other tree on that merit, seriously. The only reason why we left that spot was we had only three days in Paris and it seemed like a stupid way to waste them. On our way back to the tiny apartment for a quick lunch, we passed by a gorgeous church façade. I will even risk my very little respected opinion by saying it was prettier than the Sacré Couer’s. It was called Saint-Sulpice and I took several photos on its white steps, because I really don’t care what other people think when I’m travelling and God would never punish me for my vanity when it was a church-related business, right?

So anyway, we stopped by a couple of stores before we reached the tiny apartment. Carol was blown away by a pair of socks exposed in a high fashion shop window and, once we were inside, she fell in love with ten other pairs, so it took some time before she was able to choose one and leave the shop with tears in her eyes for being too sane and not taking the whole stock with her. Lew spotted a pair of glasses in another shop window and we went inside to take a closer look. It was quite a traditional place and the very old owner had the most friendly dog at the doorstep, but the glasses were far too expensive, so we smiled our penniless student faces out with a Frenglish excuse.

There were two other stops. First, a pharmacy that won first place on my personal contest for Worldwide Worst Armpit Smell Ever, with two extra prizes for being able to extent the smell to the entire facility and for being a health-related place on top of everything. That was probably half the reason why we let ourselves be seduced by the smell of fresh muffins coming from a bagel shop near the Sorbonne. Man, was that muffin exquisite! Every country I visited, I tried a raspberry white chocolate muffin. Paris’ lost only to Stockholm’s.

After lunch, Carol, Lew and I took the tube to Montmartre. We took off at Abbesses station and were too impatient to wait for the lift, so we decided to take the stairs. Why on Earth none of us knew it was the lowest situated station in Paris I’ll never understand. The fact is we were thirty-six metres underground and had two hundred steps to take before we reached the surface. It was a cute walk and the walls were filled with lovely art, but we had very little time to enjoy the city, so it was a little tiresome, and it hadn’t been a sensible decision made upon the knowledge that those particular stairs were a beautiful artistic ride, so it felt kind of pathetic, as you can see.

I had been unimpressed about Paris my entire life, but Montmartre was too amazing not to fall in love with. The streets were gorgeous, the shops were cute, the architecture was quaint and the view from whatever high point you stood was unbelievable. Plus, it got this inexplicable bohemian air that made you feel sexy and flirty. We made the whole tour while the sun set. We took the funiculaire up, watched the awesome dude with the football do his tricks in front of the Sacré Couer’s steps, walked inside the church and got lost amongst the steep narrow streets. Carol and Lew decided to sit at a little restaurant to eat crêpes while I walked around buying postcards, pins and whatnot, because I had no money, but was spending it anyway. When I reached them, the waitress was bringing the crêpes and she spoke Portuguese, lovely lady.

Before we took the tube back to the tiny apartment –and I can never reinforce enough how tiny it was – we stopped by the Moulin Rouge. Of course we never got inside it, as we were neither rich nor incredibly good looking to get a free ticket. Instead, we just stuck around like most of the other tourists and found a giant fan thing to step on and incorporate Marilyn Monroe in front of the Moulin Rouge for the cameras (our own cameras, of course).

Cheesy, you say? I was in Paris, baby. Whatever.

Tags: budget trip, eurotrip, france, jardin du luxembourg, montmartre, paris, quartier latin

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