May 5, 2011

Day 15 ~ May 5

I got lost. Hopelessly, wonderfully, nowhere in particular-ly lost. I did start out my day with a planned visit to a museum (a later topic), but once I left it I just got wanderlust, for the next eight hours. It sounds frightening, but no, it’s delightful. My friend back home, Benedicte, is from here and it’s still her favorite thing to do in Paris. I can understand why. Every corner I go around has another little strip of charming stores, grand statues, festive cafés, gardens, architecture, flowers or monuments to behold. With no phone, and limited email access, being unplugged is giving me the freedom to go out for these aimless excursions whenever writing hits a wall, or my curiosity gets the best of me. My favorite spots are the really small, short streets that wind together in a jumbled, crooked mess. There, the traffic noise is reduced significantly, the shopkeepers are a bit more friendly and their wares more unique, and cafés are quieter. It’s there that Paris feels more like Paris. In my meandering I ended up on the Champs Elysées yesterday, and within about 5 minutes, I grabbed a bicycle (another later topic) and escaped it. I didn’t come to Paris to see tourists eating fast-food and buying American designer clothing. Let’s just say, it’s not the romantic boulevard it was in Joni Mitchell’s day when she sang about it. However, her other lines from the same song felt very true to me as I sauntered from street to street. “I was a free man in Paris, I felt unfettered and alive. There was nobody calling me up for favors, and no one’s future to decide…”

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh isn't it fun to wander! Wait till you run up on one of those wonderful Art Nouveau doorways or balconies! I am sooo jealous! I am glad you are having fun getting lost! Karen R

Anonymous said...

Glad you're largely unplugged, especially with so much real life around you to soak up. Mantra: Unplanned is good.
Mark

Sundra said...

What a wonderful way to spend the day. Sometimes our lives are so planned out and over-scheduled, it's nice to just explore with no destination in mind. Can't wait to hear about your next excursion.

lucani said...

Karen, I love your captivating commentary of your experiences in Paris and eye-catching photos. Willie and I love days of wandering as we say, "responding spontaneously to the day."
Paris c'est certainement une ville pour les promenades. Allô, Paris!

Carole et Willie

Anonymous said...

What's up with the rows and rows of cornflakes in the store window? Is it a delicacy in Paris?

Laura said...

I love getting lost too. One day in Venice Robert and I got sick of the tourists and decided to go off the beaten track and just wandered. it's was great! We saw the real Venice and we only took the map out when we wanted to find our way back to the hotel (which was quite an adventure in itself, as you no doubt have discovered!).

Enjoy your wanderings!

Karen A. Chase said...

The rows of Cornflakes were part of a display for a fun little restaurant that makes more American-type food - not sure you can call it cuisine. They had Campbell's soup cans, and other processed food displays in the window. And they served real American hamburgers, milkshakes, pb&j for the kids, etc.