A Room with a View and a Beam
One of the first things that I managed to do after arriving in my Paris apartment was to run into a beam.
This may sound a little crazy but the said beam that runs from floor to ceiling, on an angle, between the only two windows in the apartment and inconveniently located at the foot of the bed is a little difficult not to miss, not in my case. Thwack! There I was making friends with a dark, solid and ancient beam.
The structural exposed beams are often a highlighted feature in French buildings because it shows off their age.
I often encourage people to love them but this love affair between me and the beam needs to stop, thwack, I did it again!
With a slightly negative anticipation of what will be my ‘Annual Parisian Incident’ this year, I have visions of ramming the solid hardwood with my forehead and lying unconscious on the apartment floor for days until I don’t turn up for a rendezvous and someone wonders where I am.
My plans for when I first arrived of showering, unpacking and shopping flew out the window like a trapped pigeon. My feet had barely touched the floor and I was off to my favourite bar for a hot chocolate and warm welcomes.
Once settled in it was time to perform my ritual of standing on Point Zero and taking a short wander around.
The square in front of the Notre Dame was quiet, the Christmas tree wasn’t up yet and I felt a little flat. I sat facing the Notre Dame and contemplated, noting the green beret’s armed with assault weapons patrolling the area, I could see a figure high up on the right tower of the Notre Dame, that was unusual and then I guessed it was probably a snipper. Paris does feel a little different but I couldn’t help but wonder if Paris may have lost its sparkle for me after all these years.
It wasn’t long before the feeling lifted, camera in tow and I happened upon my first courtyard. There is nothing like a good Parisian courtyard to cheer me up!
My sense that Paris feels quiet was heightened when I ventured downstairs to the Archaeological Crypt under the courtyard of the Notre Dame. In all my years visiting Paris, I have never taken the plunge below the city to see the ancient ruins.
I was the only tourist there, of course there are numerous reasons why that could be, as my friend pointed out later at dinner; a lack of knowledge that the crypt exists or a lack of interest but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that Paris feels deserted.
But I shouldn’t complain, normally I find the amount of tourists, even in the winter overwhelming so it was a nice way to spend my first day in Paris.
The flower markets were also void of people and wouldn’t you know it, first shot I have lined up and ready to shoot, I get into trouble.
The stall owner throws his finger towards the big sign that I had failed to see amongst all the pretty colours of a camera with a no go zone crossed through it.
Seriously, I can understand this in the height of tourist season but now, when there is not a soul around, he couldn’t turn a blind eye to one little Paris Adéle. Puh! There were plenty more stalls to photograph and I have been kicked out of better places.
Just kidding, I think.
Later in the day, just as I was walked through the door, I could hear my name being shouted across the small ancient zinc bar of Petit fer a Cheval where my friend works.
Much to everyone’s amusement, they all turned in unison, perhaps disappointed that it may have been the singer but it was just me, Adèle, the original one, Paris Adèle that is with a giant smile on my face as we embraced.
My next warm hug came from my darling friend Julien. It felt like only yesterday that I saw him. Sitting on the terrace having a drink in the Marais, together again and full of stories for one another, we headed off to the charming Café le Livres.
A sweet little place on Rue Saint-Martin, lined with books and later a dinner at Ma Salle a Manger in the charming square of Place Dauphin had me exhausted.
Lack of sleep and jet lag, I dragged my tired body through the pretty courtyard and up three flights of stairs to sleep with my large solid ancient beam.