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…”