27 – 30 April
28.4.17 Walk Villa Sainte Croix to Musée Eugene Délacroix
￼￼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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Today I make sure I am back for dinner on time.