It's interesting being homesick for a place that was home for just under a year and a half, but we are talking about Paris, and mon dieu, how I've missed this city.
I wasn't sure how it would feel to return having left about 10 months ago, but oddly, I have quickly fallen back into step, quite literally, remembering this is a place where everyone believes they have the right of way. Motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians - yup, they all think everyone else should wait for them, so everyone moves with conviction.
Luckily I'm in no hurry. Every time I return to Paris, I feel like I'm able to slow down even more. I no longer have to be a check the box tourist - there's the Eiffel Tower, dash to Notre Dame and quick duck into the Louvre before we have to go back to work tomorrow. Sadly, the American vacation doesn't lend itself to the linger.
The French are quite proficient at sitting and enjoying life. Yes,
there could be some discussion about their 35 hour work week, but do you
fault them? There's some people actually pushing and paying fines to
work and keep their business open on a Sunday. It's a constant battle between capitalism and quality of life. Working harder means less time with family and friends.
We could stand to learn the art of the linger from the Parisians. The city is engineered for the simple passing of time. You can sit in a cafe for hours and your l'addition will never be thrown on the table when your server's shift is over.
There are parks both big and small in every neighborhood. You can't walk more than a few blocks before you see beautifully landscaped open space, and often there's a beautiful old Gothic church thrown in for good measure.
Of course there's the Jardin des Tuileries just outside the Louvre, where there's currently beautiful fall flowers in bloom in rich, warm colors.
These gardens were under "construction" most of the time I was living here, making for an interesting zig zag path on my running route, but still not too shabby of a place to break a sweat, and now with construction complete, they look even more beautiful than ever.
The Tuileries provided my running outlet, while I always looked to the Luxembourg Gardens as more of a quiet oasis for reading or writing, or attempting to study the French language after class let out down the street. Guess I spent too much time people watching instead of doing my homework. I'll save you everyone's favorite question - no, I'm still not fluent. It's funny how that's one of the first questions everyone asked me when I returned. This time, ask me how the gardens look!
The French thought these 2 major parks, in addition to the many dotted throughout the city, did not provide enough open space, so they have even just opened, or rather closed, a 1.5 mile stretch of busy highway along the Seine to make more room for more people to walk, sit, run, eat, drink, be entertained and relax. The area is in between the Musee d'Orsay and the Alma bridge and took almost 3 years to construct and cost nearly 48 million dollars. If you're thinking about how else that money could have been spent, you're obviously American, and need to come to Paris for some lingering.
This newly opened area called Les Verges has restaurants and bars, and even food trucks where people can grab a bite during lunch or have a nice dinner with a great view.
With floating gardens, running paths, exercise equipment, kids areas, and many a place to linger, it's hard not to find a place to lose yourself.
So you don't think I've drown in the Paris punch, I will admit that dogs still do their thing without mandatory pick up or glares (except from moi!). And the French just aren't believing the surgeon general or anyone who tells them that these things they're constantly inhaling are no good for their long term future.
Luckily for the rest of us, there's still plenty of places to go that are free from merde and smoke. I'm looking forward to much more lingering - with friends, in museums, restaurants and cafe's. Stay hungry. Don't you worry, I won't leave Paris without a big food review, bien sur. Bon week-end!