When it comes to Paris, I am a research junkie.
An impending trip to Paris, which is once a year, can find me spending hours, days, weeks, months, hovered over the computer, trawling the internet, history books, travel guides and whatever I can lay my hands on, for new and exciting things to do in Paris.
From the moment I arrive, in Paris, I dust off my camera or pull out my iphone and become inspired to photograph anything and everything. Paris is eye candy.
When I stumbled across a Meet Up group called; Paris if You Please and further links to Sab’s Secret Paris, I was intrigued to join the Meet Up group and discover what this so called Sab, had to offer.
Possibly, I was tinged with a bit of jealousy. Sab, being an Englishman, can live in this wonderful city and discover Paris whenever he pleases. Learning that he was also interested in photography, whether it be, using a decent camera or an iphone, fuelled my interest and connected me to him in some way, discovering he was a bit of a geek about Paris, confirmed; I had to meet this guy.
As serendipity would have it, my first night in Paris, was the day his Meet Up Group, had organised a get together.
From the moment I walked into the relaxed bar in the Marais, I was welcomed by Sab and the group and made to feel comfortable.
He not only promised a quiz night before I left Paris, but also a day together, walking the streets of Paris. He kept both promises.
Last night was yet another big night in Paris. After my night of jazz, the usual last drink, at my bar, turned into many. I was tired, as I dragged myself out of bed this morning. I am going to need to go home, to take a holiday, I thought, but for now, I had my rendez-vous with Sab.
Meeting at my favourite bar was easy, scoffing down some bread and jam and a coffee, slowly brought life back into my tired, cold body, as Sab patiently waited.
With no plans, we headed over to the left bank and as the day unfolded, we shared our secrets of Paris with one another.
‘Oh look at this’ Sab would exclaim. Sometimes, standing in the middle of the road, engrossed, as he pointed out graffiti, old street signs, old city walls, explaining historical information along the way. Me, taking photos, looking up and around in awe. We continued on and, ‘your turn’, he would say … it was my turn to reveal a Paris secret.
We happened across a favourite cafe I love, and standing outside, I told him my story. A late night, many years ago, after dinner, in Les Pipos, I was urged to sing or leave. Not wanting to leave the friendly and quaint bar, reluctantly, I stood on a stool and sang, Waltzing Matilda, after hopping down from the stool, I was asked if Waltzing Matilda was an Australian football song.
Excited by the memories of the singing night and the charming cafe, ‘let’s go in’, I said. Sab, not missing a beat, was happy to discover my singing cafe.
Each of us standing at the bar, sipping on an espresso and assuming Sab shared my love of toilet experiences, I encouraged him to venture upstairs to the toilet.
Returning, making his way down the tiny, winding staircase with a grin from ear to ear, I knew, he enjoyed the experience.
Leaving the quaint, tiny bar behind us, I turned to Sab and said …. your turn.
This is how the day unfolded.
My only regrets about my wonderful day with Sab was, that we didn’t have more time together. Our day had a natural, relaxed, even flow about it, as we shared our Paris secrets and love of Paris.
After a hot coffee, to warm our hands and our bodies Sab left me by a train station, he had an appointment and I had no plans.
You know where you are, he asks me? Look …. The Luxembourg Gardens. I wasn’t sure I could handle the cold anymore, the wind and cold through the gardens would be even more intense than we had encountered during the day but feeling a little lost, after our goodbyes, I walked straight ahead, towards Jardin du Luxembourg.
Although the sun was shining and the sky bright blue, the cold was taking it’s toll on my body and all of a sudden I wanted to be in the warmth of my apartment. My time in Paris was running out and I needed to start getting things in order.
Deciding to walk through the gardens and find the nearest metro station, comforted me in the knowledge that soon, I would be warm again but as I entered the gardens, a woman, sitting in the middle of a fountain, motivated me to pull out the camera.
At this point, the cold was rippling through my body and resting in my bones, but somehow, maybe, by Sab’s influence, I felt inspired, and continued through the park, photographing statues and frozen ponds in the Luxembourg Gardens.
Before I knew it, hours had passed. Freezing but at the same time, relaxed, I took photos and chatted to people in the park. It never ceases to amaze me that not only do people stroll through the park, in the freezing cold but they actually sit, to contemplate, draw or read.
As I worked my way back through the left bank, I pulled on my gloves, my fingers stinging with the freezing cold, shivering, sometimes taking refuge in a shop or two, to browse the sales but mostly, I kept walking, taking photos and admiring Paris.
Nearing the Isle de la Cite taking some shots, while the sun was slowly setting, casting a golden glow on the Notre Dame, I decided to drink a hot chocolate in the warmth of The New Yorkers favourite cafe, Cafe Panis. I was greeted with a friendly ca va and a kiss for both cheeks.
A pink and golden glow reflecting from the pretty sky, lit up the Paris landmarks, as I strolled back to the Marais. It was a good day.
Should I tell you all the secrets Sab and I discovered along the way? Hell no, that is between Sab and I, and for you to find out!
However you can find Sab here, he conducts walking tours and photographic tours, below you can find more links: