It happens around this time of the year, a certain type of melancholy.
As my time nears to an end, I start thinking about work and start thinking about leaving, rather than ‘being’ in Paris.
I try to shift the feeling by reminding myself that some visitors to Paris have a mere week or less to enjoy the city and that is what I have left, therefore I should be grateful.
All the items on my ever growing list, seems overwhelming and hasn’t been ticked off but I can’t drum up the motivation to do them.
Maybe it is because I had a late night after Jim Hayne’s dinner last night. I met up with a nice Irish TV producer/director, we had a couple of drinks and shared a few secrets, until after the metro had closed and had to catch respective taxis home.
Apart from arriving and leaving, I very rarely take a taxi in Paris.
Maybe the taxi ride reminded me of my time here in October when I accompanied my good friends to Paris.
She was ill with cancer and her dream holiday came true to visit Paris but not at all the way she envisaged it, in a wheelchair.
A taxi ride around Paris to take in the sites was agony for her over the cobbled streets and her grimaces with each bump, braving the pain tore at my heart.
Each and every time I walk passed the street where the three of us stayed in a nice apartment, go to the bakery to buy my bread, where her husband, armed with a cheat sheet stuffed into his pocket to enable him to remember how to order for us une baguette and trois croissants, walking passed a Sephora or Etam store, I try to push away the stab that jolts through me.
Perhaps I am catching a cold or something, walking home tonight I felt the cold for the first time and it reminded me of shivering with the flu I had caught last year. Snow covering everything it landed on and me with my back pressed up against the heater in my apartment.
Maybe the temperature has dropped a little and I am just tired but there is still a certain kind of melancholy that enveloped me today.
My plan was to see the Brassai photographic exhibition today, hoping that a Monday would mean a shorter line but that didn’t eventuate. I couldn’t even be bothered to see how long the line was.
Instead I ventured out, walking slowly in the direction of Republique.
Last year the large roundabout was under construction, I knew it was finished and it was a sunny day, so better to be outdoors than in a gallery.
Sandro, now Chicky Babe’s favourite Parisian haunt was on the horizon, perhaps a bit of retail therapy will do the trick.
Not for the want of trying, the sales staff were amazing, listening to my likes and dislikes and trying to select appropriate clothing.
Walking out of the dressing room and approaching the mirror a long face stared back at me, not even a cosy, purple angora jumper could cheer me up.
I selected a couple of items and mechanically took them to the counter. Maybe you need a new coat the assistant asks me, yes I do but I can’t make that kind of costly decision with the melancholy coat I was wearing.
Walking at escargot pace, I could see Marianne in the distance, the 9.5 metre high statue, that dominates Place de la Republique, holding up her olive branch against a bright blue sky.
Sipping on a chocolate chaud, a hot chocolate in Cafe Republique, that overlooks the newly renovated, pedestrianised square, I looked up to see the bright blue sky once again, this time through the partially glassed ceiling and considered that this would be a perfect day to visit the nearby St Martin Canal.
With a little more purpose and spring in my step I headed for the tranquil canal.
Instigated by Napoleon I back in 1802, it was funded by a newly introduced wine tax.
The canal is 4.5kms long with two locks, pretty arched iron bridges and a hydraulic lifting bridge, that puts traffic to a stop when the canal boats cruise through.
I love this mostly residential area of Paris.
On the weekends you will find families enjoying a picnic or strolling along the canal’s banks, locals walking their dogs or jogging and young children playing with motorised toy boats. It has a really pleasant and calm feeling about it.
With the light slowly fading but bouncing off the water of the canal, reflecting the surrounding buildings, with a gentle calm about the place, camera in hand, my melancholy coat got a bit lighter and easier to bear.
A delicious dinner of perfectly cooked steak, pureed brocoli and cauliflower gratin was just what I needed to feed my tired body, warm and comforting, to suit my melancholy mood.
This post is dedicated to my good friend who lost her long battle with cancer three days after returning from her dream holiday and my dear friend, her husband, who now knows how to order some bread and croissants in French. Mes amis.Place de la Republique – Map Nearest Metro: Republique Café Republique 9 Place de la République Paris 75003 Canal St Martin & Map Recommended nearby restaurant to Canal St Martin Hotel du Nord