Paris in the Springtime
Ah Paris. Is there any city more romantic? My journey, like that of so many before me, began in Paris.
We were fortunate to stay in Montparnasse with its cafes and theatres and of course the beautiful Montparnasse Cemetery, which I stumbled upon during my wanderings. I turned up and down narrow alleyways looking at elegant pastel buildings with their shutters and wrought iron balconies and stylish men and women drinking wine in corner bistros, talking animatedly and laughing.
I stopped at a tiny patisserie and bought a Paris Brest, a choux pastry filled with chocolate cream. It was wrapped in a twist of paper. I tucked it in my bag for later. I was on my way back to the hotel when I saw a grand old gateway. I poked my head in and realized it was the cemetery with its glorious avenue of trees stretching into the distance. Not only is it the final resting place of writers like Jean-Paul Satre, Susan Sontag and Simone de Beauvoir, but sculptors too are buried within its walls. The many beautiful old and modern sculptures scattered throughout are a feast for the eyes.
It was so still and peaceful that I sat on a bench and unwrapped my pastry. It was like popping a cloud into my mouth where it dissolved on my tongue. I leaned back and felt the sun on my face and listened to the birdsong.
We went to a bistro for dinner – a variety of meats and the fluffiest mashed potato with green beans followed by tarte tatin or rustic apple pie with ice cream accompanied by a big ice-cold beer. It was a simple meal done perfectly.
Suffering from jetlag I woke the next morning at 3am. Inconvenient, but it gave me the opportunity to watch the lovely dawn light steal across the city turning the buildings from grey to white to a golden cream. There is nothing quite like the light in Paris – especially at day’s beginning and end.
As our bus drove through the city streets our guide Laura played Sinatra’s version of “I love Paris in the springtime’.
Later as we rolled on through the French countryside with gorgeous Georges at the wheel the hauntingly romantic ‘La Vie en Rose’ filled the air. How can you listen to Edith Piaf and not be filled with excitement about the journey ahead?