How quickly time flies when you’re feeling exhausted, isn’t that how it goes? For certainly it has gone, and I have felt it fly. In the morning we traipse on out of Paris, and take a train to Nice to stay for a few days. It was chosen instead of going to the alps, mostly due to the significantly less freezing weather and our lack of adequate footwear for snow. It’s cold here, not so numbing as Boston or biting as New York, but in a seeping, creeping, and tiring way. Likened (not by me) to the London fog that would pad through streets and slink around corners, it is wearying. The sun rises at eight thirty and sets at half five, and the first morning we stepped out for coffee and a croissant the sky was a brilliantly deep and bright blue, one lone star hanging over the Palais de Luxembourg.
Paris is enchanting but she bleeds now into the sky, her cityscape marred by a tower that looks like an implant from New York, a highrise that should be forbidden in such an historic city and, in truth, actually is. I don’t know exactly how this one was allowed to be built but you can see it from all over and I don’t like it.
Possibly this is the same reaction as of those who opposed the keeping of the Eiffel Tower after the 1860 or so world fair. I do not know.
Of all the places I have seen before and return to now, Notre Dame stands as one still capable of stirring the spirit, and I count myself truly lucky to have had the good fortune to be standing inside when an adult choir walked to the front of the seating and began to sing. Sopranos that flew in the vaulted ceilings on the uplifting drafts of metsi and contralto, baritones and basses that trembled the stone to the tenors’ clear ring. You cast a spell on me minstrels, and I will follow as if the piper were calling. They sang separately at first, women then men, and came together at the end before leaving with barely a whisper, and a quickly silenced applause. A brief hug, a smile, and gone.
I think the only irritation was the sudden rush of people with phones, cameras, go pros, eager and ready to record. I find myself more and more reluctant to use my phone, wanting only to check locations and basic directions as one would on any map, happy to otherwise leave it in its place in my pocket when out and about. Present, but unseen. I do not want to have to look everything up online, what discoveries can be made if everything you approach is from the internet? I want to go out in search of what it is I look for, and come back sated. In the beginning, when every bite tasted better than anything back home, this seemed the easiest thing, but even Paris can supply a traveller with a day of disappointing food.