Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Once upon a time, on the north shore of Long Island....

I severely underestimated how much the movie Sabrina had an effect on how I viewed Paris. Not the Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, and  Audrey Hepburn version from 1954, I am talking about the Harrison Ford, Greg Kinnear, and Juila Ormond version from 1995.   I won't bore you with the movie plot, but basically a young girl, named Sabrina who doesn't speak French, moves to Paris and proceeds to find herself, find a French boyfriend, and get a killer job for French Vogue. (AKA the dream) There's a lot more at work in this movie but they romanticize the notion of Paris. As a child who grew up watching this movie with her mother, on repeat, it gave me this beautiful image of Paris.

In the movie Sabrina, she and Linus (read the ever perfect Harrison Ford) are eating Moroccan food on the floor, this is where my love affair began FYI.  They are just talking and she says "I used to walk everywhere in Paris. I used to walk from Montmartre down into the center of the town. Along the Seine there is a 4-mile wall that goes from Isle Saint Germain to the Pont de Bercy. Takes you past all the bridges of Paris, 23 of them. Then you find one you love and you go there everyday with your coffee and your journal, and you listen to the river."  

I walked that walk Friday afternoon from Montmartre to the center of the town. And I began my Saturday morning walking the Seine. In my brain, the Seine made noise. So legitimately Sabrina was listening to the sound of water.  Just so everyone is aware, the river doesn't make noise. It creeps along, silently, swirling around the bridges and boats.  It is reminder of the past and everything that Paris was built on and stands for- freedom . And when Sabrina talks about listening to it, she's talking about listening to her thoughts and heart. That hit home as I was staring out over this moving snake, alone, Saturday morning.  I slowly walked, took in every side street, pigeon, and discarded flower.  I walked from Bastille to the Arc de Triomphe. 

Detours naturally took place.  The first major detour was to walk into Notre Dame Cathedral. You know, like the Hunchback? Yeah, that cathedral.  It was amazing. I again spent an hour inside that gorgeous building. Then deciding it was lunch time, and I was getting tired, I stopped of at a little cafe in Saint Michel, just across the bridge from the Notre Dame, and had boeuf bourguignon. (It doesn't hold a candle to Julia Child's version though.)  After a delicious meal, I braved the cold to walk the Tuileries Gardens outside of the Louvre.  These gardens are gorgeous. I only stayed on the main path, but you could definitely do little side walks around to find other sculptures. 


From there I walked the Champs Elysees. It was cool. In the way that a street with lots of shops can be cool. Highlight of that walk? Going to the flagship Laduree store. I met 3 women from Raleigh so it made me miss home a little bit more.  After reaching the Arc de Triomphe, I decided I had walked enough and I took the subway back to my hostel. From there, I found Nathalie and Aurelie and we met Joyce for an awesome sushi dinner. (I had my first taste of sake and I have to say, I'm hooked.) Then we went out for the night! My last night on the town.

My visit to the biggest museum in the world was my Sunday exploration. Stay tuned readers. 

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