"I have no idea what I’m going to do while I’m there. In classic Alex style I haven’t given it any more thought than the bare minimum. I’m not even sure how I should get to their flat yet. Taxi or Tube? Tube takes only 10 minutes but will be all en francais. I should’ve had lunch. I feel light-headed. Only one apple left."
Tell Me You're in Paris, Without Telling Me
"When she was in London, she showed me a picture of her living room. It looked like a miniature ballroom. In reality, its more of a smoking room: shelves lined with browned book covers; classic wooden furniture with curved limbs; a small tapestry on the back wall, facing out over the ample floorspace and out to the balcony. If you stretch your head out and look to the left, you can see the Eiffel Tower."
"The best part is absolutely the balcony, which this bedroom shares with the bedroom next door. It looks out over a quiet private patch of green, owned by the monastery that’s slightly off to the left ahead of me. I was surprised there existed such a small space of serenity so close to home."
"And I guess there was also a football match happening or something, I don’t know I couldn’t really see. Most of the time I just went along with the crowd, except I (as the only “Swiss supporter”) would only go crazy if the Swiss did well. Julien advised me to tone it down a little because he couldn’t guarantee my safety if Switzerland won. And then Switzerland won."
Pediment of the Pantheon
"One thing that struck me while walking is just how much construction there is in this city. Maybe my timing was bad, just like it’s been with the weather, but even the tourist sites like Invalides (and later the Louvre and at Place du Concorde) were covered with scaffolding."
"Alas, this meant my first impressions of Invalides were soured; I couldn’t even find a way in, though I could clearly see people inside. Hopefully if I go back later, I’ll have better luck. We’re about to go out for dinner now, be back later."
Rule of Three
"To return to today, following the perimeter of Invalides led me all the way to Concorde."
Not Quite in the Middle
"To return to today, following the perimeter of Invalides led me all the way to Concorde. The road reminded me of the Mall on the way from Buckingham to Trafalgar Square, except no trees, and lots more police officers blowing cute little whistles, which suggests either that their bike horns aren’t loud enough, or they just transposed regular police officers onto bikes and never bothered about getting rid of the whistles."
"I must say that the French have definitely looked after their obelisk better than we have. All the hieroglyphs were highlighted in gold. Maybe Napoleon pimped it out when he brought it back? It puts Cleopatra’s Needle to shame."
"The Colonne is a surprisingly accurate analogue of Trajan’s Column, except with French and Germans instead of Romans and Dacians, and muskets instead of swords."
First Look at the Louvre
"Further on, I spilled out into the actual entrance to the Louvre: glass pyramids stood small in the centre of the grand courtyard, flanked by fountains that were almost all working."
Source of the Barriers
"It turned out the reason so many entrances were blocked was because of a military ceremony happening by the gardens. No-one could leave that way, so I went out the same way I came in."
Crossing the Seine
"Afterwards I continued making my way back to Alice’s. Taking Dad’s advice again, I meandered off-course, allowing the hum of individual streets to lure me in."
I'm Sure it's Fine
"One street had buildings that were quite clearly sloping inward like a wilted crisp packet. Others bulged instead."
Past Fast Fading
"I found some beautiful nooks and crannies full of flowers and creepers, with picturesque coffee shops and faded advertisements peeling off the walls."
"It was a pleasant place to get lost."
Jardin du Luxembourg
"Unfortunately, my sense of direction is too impeccable to allow that, so after another jaunt through Jardin du Luxembourg, I was back again."
"Alice explained that there’s a book series about a witch that lives on Rue Mouffetard, which, considering the choice of setting, makes sense. There was something unique about that street that I just couldn’t place."
"Maybe it was the pace of life slowed down by the absence of cars. Or, maybe it was all the cheese and wine on sale in different boutiques, sprinkled with small groups of people taking their time that morning. Or maybe it was the view back down the narrowing street that was almost good enough for a picture, but never quite enough."
"It’s a brilliant, tiny snapshot of a larger whole. Definitely bewitching! In a dissimilar vein, as we reached the square at the top of the hill, we found an old man apparently drunk before midday."
Traditional Riverside Bookshop
"As we walked, and I continued to snap anything and everything that I thought looked nice, Alice commented how it felt like seeing Paris for the first time again. I’m taking perspective shots of roads and trying (and failing) to find nice angles for pictures, so I suppose it should follow that it’s because I have no idea what I should be looking at."