33 Square Meters

Paris has a lot going for it. We got to spend three days there. Three full days taking in the great city of light.

Mostly spent walking around eating and drinking. Which isn’t a bad way to spend your time anywhere.

We spent the first night with my Cousin who had he comfiest sofa bed in Europe. Then we went off to our flat we had rented. A small dusty studio flat with unvarnished wooden floors and french windows opened up over the rooftops. If you pressed your face to the wall you could just get a view of the Sacre-Coeur.

We cracked a cheap bottle of wine, tore a crust off a baguette and got excited for the things to come.

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Vin Jaune

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We got the old dusty bottles of spirits and wine, a few dozen oysters, butter and baguettes. We drank and ate our fill in the a park that was famous for something… I’m not a very good traveler. It was a lovely enough spot on a lovely enough day to be sitting about eating oysters, drinking ‘Vin Jaune’ that was opened with a stiletto . The dismembered cork was floated in the bottle. Fun.

We then set off down a few alleys, past an erotic bakery, through more squares and streets I cannot remember the names of. We were looking for a toilet.

One busker did a pretty good Jim Morrison impression, another was told to move on by the Police. The crowd boo-ed and jeered. People had been holding protests about the excessive police presence in the city the day before.  They were certainly omnipresent. Dressed in their riot gear and arriving everywhere in armoured vehicles. The Parisians know how to protest for their rights. It’s engrained in their culture. Wit more civility now maybe…less beheadings and all that.

Crease

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We went out for breakfast. Through the market we sampled the produce and grabbed a few things. We stopped a glass of beer, sitting out in the morning sun. It was just after 9am and it felt like Spring. It felt good. An old man hand-cranked a mechanical organ with one hand as he fed it music with the other. The yellowed creased cardboard tablature dropped to a shelf, folding itself into a neat stack. The music looked older than both the man and machine.

Right to Rights

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Parieday1-12I arrived too early. I took the metro to the ‘Arc de Triomphe’ then crossed the River Siene in the pre-dawn. I bought the most expensive expresso in Europe from a filthy little cafe I couldn’t find again if I wanted to. I waited for the sun to come up so I could catch a glimpse of that famous skyline as the sun broke the horizon.

I smoked three Lucky Strikes and ordered another coffee. I was so sick of night busses I was beginning to get sick myself. A familiar silhouette gradually appeared in the distance. It wasn’t a glorious sight to behold, the Eiffel Tower. Not on this day. An understated spike sticking out of the ground on a drizzly overcast winter day.

It was exciting to be in Paris.