Friday, June 26, 2015
When I went to Paris for the first time in April, I was much more excited by the prospect of desserts and museums than I was about actually seeing the big "sights". Like the Eiffel Tower. It was about a week after I'd arrived in Paris that I actually made it to the tower--because, how big of a deal could it actually be?
But, once there, at sunset, watching the lights glitter, with the silhouette against an uninterrupted gradient of colored sky, I got it. I understood the romance.
Mostly when I travel, I just like to walk around and run into whatever I run into. A few weeks after returning from the trip, I discovered that my phone's health app had been tracking my steps each day, and for the week I was in Paris, it was off the charts. I walked everywhere, hoping that my meanderings, combined with serendipity, would take me to see the best, undocumented-in-a-guidebook corners.
When not walking, I did sort of fall in love with the Paris metro system. Maybe it's just that it was wonderful being back in a city with a proper metro, by which I mean one that runs at reasonable hours, with a convenient and constant availability of trains, and with stations pretty much near everything. Throw on top the beautiful station-specific designs that pepper the system, and one starts thinking of the dizzy, convoluted, dense maze of colored lines as idiosyncractically artistic. The metro system sure does have character, I'll give it that. Also, if you are ever near the Arts & Métiers stop, you must go explore it. I missed my chance of getting a photo of it (I have a phone photo somewhere...), but one level of the station is totally steam-punked out, covered wall to wall with copper plating, holographic portholes, and gigantic exposed gears protruding from the ceiling.
I will say, though, Paris gardens are a funny breed. After being used to the rambling, "I woke up like this" unkemptness of English gardens, I wasn't expecting the expansive, gravel-sand boulevards that are favored in Paris, which are lined with hedges cut in unnaturally rectangular rows and studded with statuary. Also, everytime I find myself in England, or now Paris, I'm thankful that I'm from a country that doesn't care so much for people to walk on and enjoy the grass, because what's the point of swaths of lawn in no one can wiggle their toes in the dew-green blades?
The ducks get to enjoy the grass...
So this post is just about the outdoor scenes in Paris. For inside museums, see the previous post here. I'm saving the food for last... and also, a most serendipitous meeting with a fellow food blogger halfway around the world.
One last thing, yay, SCOTUS! Go, equality.