Walking without a donkey: Paris 2

27 – 30 April

28.4.17 Walk Villa Sainte Croix to Musée Eugene Délacroix

Isabelle’s lovely flower display

Whilst in Paris I was living with the generous Isabelle; Shiatsu practitioner, mother, and overall fantastic woman. Both she and youngest daughter, Isobel, recommended that I visit the Musée Eugene Delacroix, so today’s walk is from the north of Paris to the Left Bank.

Paroisse Saint Michel

I first traipsed up Saint Ouen and took a detour to Place Saint-Jean to see the striking St Michel church. Back around the corner I spotted the familiar French phrase cut in stone: liberty, egality,  fraternity.

Next was the shopping street of Avenue de Clichy selling espadrilles for €6 (I hope I did not make a mistake deciding not to buy a pair). I was once more walking, without my rucksack this time, through bright sun at 12.45 and after a frustrating morning trying to move money, my feet were once again on the ground.

I could feel myself slowing and calming. My spirit was easing. Now I was starting to enjoy my surroundings so that when a gentleman saw me taking a photo of motos and flowers and asked me if I was interested, I could answer in French in a relaxed sort of way.

I am reminded that I have everything I need here. I reassure myself, all is fine, yes, everything is going to be fine. There are lots of people sleeping rough on the streets of Paris, even a woman with three small children. How lucky I am in comparison.

As always, when I walk, my loved ones come to mind, and as I can not afford to buy and carry all the presents I might like to for them, I decide to take photos instead and send those.

At least they will know I am thinking about them: an umbrella with the Eiffel Tower on it in the Galeries Lafayette (when I go in for the toilet) for one daughter, a collection of pretty things for the other, delicate white porcelain for my sister, Tin Tin paraphernalia, eye-catching graffiti.

For Alice

On the Rue de Clichy there’s a bar (or is it a pub?) called The Coq et Bulldog, presumably representing a good French /British relationship.

In Trinité there are restaurants from all over, and a grand church covered with scaffolding overseeing a park where people are eating lunch between kisses.

Every cafe is completely full of working lunchers sitting outside in the welcome sun.

As yesterday, I am constantly moving from local area to posh one, to steets which are run-down. The Galeries Lafayette department store is simply enormous. The Opéra is stunning.

I usually prefer small, independent cafés, but today I know I can rely on Starbucks where my phone’s wifi will be recognised without having to enter a password, plus I will be able to charge it, and sit for as long as I like to write. I am grateful to have this time.

It rains! Nay, it pours, as I traverse the Pont du Carousel, walk beside the Seine, and there is a book seller straight from the film Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen.

Square Gabriel-Pierné
Square Honoré Champion

Musee Eugene Delacroix is just great. I really liked the juxtaposition of a gladiator floored by a lion, and three studies of cats lying down!

ED himself
Garden of the Eugene Delacroix museum

Later I lounged in the beautiful garden, shut my eyes, enjoyed the scents of roses and listened to the bees by my ear. I breathed out relaxedly. There are purple periwinkle, geraniums, yellow wallflowers and white honesty. Lovers wandered just like they are supposed to do, speaking each other’s languages.

Rue Mazarine, wisteria
Institut de France
You know where, in the rainy background

Today I make sure I am back for dinner on time.

Typical view of the Seine. Getting dark as I walk back.

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