Monday, September 27, 2010

One night a Paris...

After spending a wild weekend in London, meeting new people and seeing the city, I was back to where I now call home, Paris. Despite having a little less than pleasant run in on the metro with some thieves who stole my phone on my way back from the train station, I made it back in one piece. I spent the following week feeling a tad mopey about my phone being gone, and my roommate moving out, but started to feel better as I started my new job and had a super Friday night planned. My first week at the new job proved to be interesting and came with the bonus of no stress! I was excited to finally have a normal schedule where I too could participate in the ritual of Saturday Sunday weekends.

For my first real weekend, I didn’t have much planned for the days but I did know that my new friend Colin, who I met in London at the hostel, was coming into Paris on a layover for 1 night and that I had promised him a tour of Paris. On Friday night, Colin arrived just before 11 30pm and we rushed to get the evening started. We began by taking the metro, a must have experience, to the Eiffel tower, so as not to miss the flickering lights that go on at midnight for only 3 short minutes. We arrived just in time and watch the twinkling lights from below the tower on the Champs de Mars. After seeing the Eiffel Tower, we started to walk towards the Champs Elysees.

I think the Champs Elysees at night is one of the coolest places in Paris, because no matter the hour, there are always people out and about, little places open and lights on. It was so neat to be walking Paris at night with someone who I didn’t know well, because as we discovered the city we chatted and got to know each other. I can confirm to you all that Colin is a pretty cool guy as I had previously predicted. ☺ Once on the Champs Elysees we stopped to have a bite to eat. We had cheese crepes with wine followed by a decadent little chocolate mouielleux for dessert. We stayed on the patio and talked until the waiters in blue and white striped marine shirts gently asked us to leave, as the restaurant was closing. Rejuvenated, we moved along up to the Arc de Triumph, which we learned rather abruptly that you cannot approach in the middle of the night. It was about 2 am by this time, and the Arc de Triumph still has lights on it and the flame going in the middle underneath, so Colin and I crossed the deadly roundabout to get over to it and see. Once close up and taking photos and admiring how interesting it is, a police car pulls up and rolls down the window. They tell us that we are not allowed to be over in the middle of the roundabout, and that the Arc de Triumph is closed. We have to leave immediately because being over here is an “offense” that we could be fined for, if I understood correctly.

So we began to try and cross back over to the other side of the roundabout, where it was legal to stand and look at the Arc. I thought to myself, my goodness, Colin is here for less than one day and I have already found a way to get us in trouble. We walked plenty more, before stopping for a break and prepping for our last big visit to Sacre Coeur. So far, I was surprised to see how much had been accessible to us in the middle of the night and how many people, not a lot, but some, were still out with us. Once the metro restarted again, we made our way to Sacre Coeur, one of the, or maybe the oldest (I’m a little rusty on my history) cathedrals in Paris. As much as I knew that the cathedral itself was lovely, what I wanted to see was the view. Poised at the top of Montmartre, one of the highest points in Paris, you can see almost the entire city from just outside the cathedral.

So at 5 30 am, there we were, standing at the top of Montmartre, watching the fog clear, the clouds appear and the sun come up. Off in the distance, the tin and copper roves appeared and Paris was waking up. By 7 30, it was time for Colin to head back to the airport to catch his flight back home. So I left him at the RER train station and headed home myself. As my head bobbed back in forth, in and out of sleep on the metro home, all I could think was that my love for Paris had been restored, that I had re-found the twinkle that I had somehow lost since arriving in May and that things were looking up.
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