I think this is the second “final countdown” I’ve had in a year. Oh my ever-changing days. My job in France is officially over, and now I have about a month of Paris time left to take tourist pictures, and explore about a million places. A google search on “free things to do in Paris” brings up an awful lot. Mostly they involve being in parks. Or museums. That’s a hot weather plan and a rainy day plan all in one. Hooray.
This is just a flipping excellent view
A long time ago (maybe a month?) I bought last-minute evening tickets to Roland Garros, went on a Saturday, queued for a very long time, and ended up on court Phillippe Chatrier just in time to watch Roger Federer play some pretty good tennis against French boy Gilles Simon. Obviously the local crowd were fairly Simon-supporting, but I have a soft spot a mile wide for Federer. He plays tennis like it was invented just for him. Incroyable. The game was quite the tense one, going all the way to five sets – definitely giving us our money’s worth. I am now devastated Federer is out of Wimbledon. Especially since I have a whole free week to watch it now! I will enjoy the sunshine (please come back, sunshine) in one of the many recommended parks instead.
Federer, doing his thing
Last weekend was Fete de la Musique in France, so I went adventuring with some girls across the capital. There were performers everywhere, all night long. We ended up at the Grand Palais, for a Wanderlust club night. That building is such a beauty. The metro was running all night to take me home, and great fun was had by all. Highlights included the gay club that spilled out into the streets, with bubbles being blown up into the sky, and a Brazilian drumming group that were playing for hours and hours near Hotel de Ville. They were excellent.
And other cheesy blog post titles.
Summer arrived with all guns blazing in Paris in early April. Now she seems to be hiding. I managed to get a little bit of tanning time (in the Parc Monceau – oh how I love you), and plenty of iced coffee and reading in the sunshine time. Now I’m just waiting for her to come back.
My favourite summer spot so far, aside from the aforementioned Parc Monceau, is the Canal St-Martin. Sitting on the edge, dangling my legs over the water, with an excellent coffee (my favourite in that area, of course, is Ten Belles) and a book is perfect.
This is my happy place. And those are my happy trousers. They look like pyjamas.
This is another of my new favourite places, the Jardin du Palais Royal. It’s hidden away in the very centre of Paris, and always has a couple of lovely garden seats available. You know the ones, people fight over them in the summer in the Tuileries, and the Jardin du Luxembourg. You can always get a seat behind the Palais Royal.
The Tuileries look beautiful at this time of year. Even if you can’t get a seat. It’s a popular spot for a reason. Go for a quick walk, then settle with your book elsewhere, away from the crowds.
And we come full circle (triangle?) back to the Canal St-Martin. It’s great, if you can fight your way to a spot to sit in. If the sun around midday gets too hot (wishful thinking?) go sit inside at ten belles. They sell great soup. I had a really good non-Cornish pasty once, as well. The other, very popular alternative, is to order Pink Flamingo pizza, and have them deliver it to you at your perfect picnic spot. Yeah.
Hurry back, sunshine.
I'm going to pretend that this year isn't an exercise in touristing with the “but I live here” excuse in my pocket for extra street cred (do the kids still have street cred?) and say that I was a tourist for a week this month. Visitors make excellent excuses for touristing events, and visiting Mothers are the best if you want to visit every museum possible. Even better is the rule that handicapped visitors get free entry for themselves and a companion, and (best of all) get to queue jump. When the weather report app on your phone says “feels like -9,” queue jumping is better than sliced bread.
We visited Montmartre (not a museum, lots of walking, very cold, but gorgeous), the Louvre (twice, and still didn't see even half of it), the Pompidou centre (with 3 hour waits for the Dali exhibit we walked straight into), and the Musee d'Orsay (better than the Louvre, but you aren't supposed to take pictures). I took her on my favourite metro journey, we discovered a vegetarian restaurant, and we watched the Tour Eiffel sparkle at night.
All of this beautiful touristing made me realise that I have a limited amount of time left in Paris, and I'm not sure I'm going to manage to do everything I wanted. Earlier in the year, I was homesick, and just trying to get through a day at a time, and now I'm terrified I'm wasting my time here. Grass is always greener, and all that.