Voyage, travel, and change of place impart vigor - Seneca


The first full day in Paris started off with a vigorous jog, in an attempt to run off the jet lag. Quite the day... just came from beers with the author of the book that helped spur me to make a changement de vie - Bryce Corbett (A Town Like Paris - he was mentioned last post). And I spent time at Shakespeare and Co, a bookshop and writer's mecca, to meet a friend - a Quebecois Master's student on her way to Madrid. And to nerd out in one of coolest, oldest bookstores you'll see.

Bryce Corbett at L'Etoile Manquante

Pre-dinner dinner - quintessential Paree.

Shakespeare & Co. upstairs

Sculpture at Jardin du Luxembourg today at 3:00pm

Some seriously long street names. I guess Rue d'Antidisestablishmentarianism was already taken.

For now, one of the biggest challenges with this blog is to find original ways to describe some of the most-often-described cities in the world.

But today there's not much to say other than WOW... it's not every day your jog takes you right past Notre-Dame cathedral, over a stunning bridge with the 8:30am sunlight just beginning to warm the air and sprinkle light on the Seine, to the Jardin du Luxembourg. (Brief history lessons will appear at the bottom the page whenever it seems relevant).

For those that haven't been Paris is full of amazing parks and green spaces, big and small, where you can lounge around and take a break from the hustle and bustle. Jardin du Luxembourg is one of my favorites, and especially a small corner of it with the fountain of Marie de Medici.

The light was pretty close to this shot above...

Jardin du Luxembourg (does not do it justice)

I didn't have a camera with me for the run(will try again - it's supposed to be sunny and 22 degrees all week), so you'll have to do with those 2 stock photos above for now. All the other photos here are originals.

Suffice to say, it was one of the most beautiful runs of my life.

I got lost on the way back about 10 times - but contrary to the legendary French rudeness, everybody I asked was more than happy to point me in the right direction. Yes, they are a little more curt here in grocery stores; but I figure it's a trade-off for the over-courtesy back home - at least I won't get asked the asinine "Did you find everything you were looking for?" at checkout ever again. ("No, but I figured I'd checkout anyway and then come back in...")

The plane ride from Montreal was a beauty. A first-class, one-way ticket for $665 on Air Transat was well worth it for the overnight trip. I'd recommend it for anyone over 6'0".

It was weird being on the other side of the curtain for once... you get a sense of it early, as you board first and try to avoid the haunted, soulless gazes of the huddled masses shuffling past you.

Good thing they didn't see the prosciutto, brie, and red wine served to us just minutes after the curtain was pulled shut. Nor the Air Transat bag of goodies containing socks, eye covers, lip balm - the good Neutrogena stuff, not the ghetto Labello version - and some kind of refreshing face spray. There would have been a mutiny on board.

Pre-dinner on the flight. Note the plush sock, upper left.

For a moment, I could have sworn I saw Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte in the next row. I was going to ask him if it was really him, but A) he probably doesn't fly Air Transat and B) I didn't want to sound like some clown...

All in all, the only thing missing from the flight was a Seinfeld-esque model to toast my good fortune with.

(And yes, I realize I'm going to pay for this as I travel economy for the rest of my life, but what the hell).

The first taste of Paris life came very early yesterday, with a random act of busking appearing on the train from the airport to the Gare du Nord station. The gentleman in the picture just started his music box up and began belting out upbeat French chansons.

Train ride from the Paris airport

The courtyard of my apartment

The apartment - a week-long rental

Still to come... a U2 review with photos from New York...and the posts won't all be this long - playing a little catch-up for a bit.

History notes

Notre-Dame was started back in 1163, and completed in 1345, with ongoing maintenance and restoration since then.

The gardens of Luxembourg surround a building built in 1615, and which now houses the Senate.


Whits said...

Feel like Im sittin in Paris as I comment. Great blog on day 1--very impressed with the early morning jog and impressive company for lunch.
Can you rent me that cool white chair in your flat? Would it hold 180lbs + 105lbs? --add it to my list of minimum requirements.


PS. Do you want me to send your medium Willy Mitchell Canuck Jersey to Paris?

Julie said...

From now on I'm spending my morning coffees living vicariously through you.
Did I mention how jealous I am?

Jeremy M. said...

Great stuff Jeff. You'll be happy to know that life here in Dutch Acres is boring as per usual. You didn't tell us the new people had a cat! Grrrr...

So have you read "Yes Man" by Danny Wallace? I haven't read the 2 books you mentioned in your blog, but given your situation, I think you would like Yes Man. It's about a guy who is sick and tired of everyday life and just starts saying yes to everything - it takes him all over the world. They made a movie about it recently starring Jim Carrey but the book is WAY better!! I think you'd like it.

Keep it rollin'!