Last night, around 12am, when I returned to the apartment, another sign was on the door, regarding the renovations in the neighbouring flat. The water was to be shut off, yet again, tomorrow morning.
Reluctantly, I got up to the sound of the alarm, and ensured I did everything that required water before the deadline, including filling the kettle to the brim and even, filling the sink with water, for good measure.
The New Yorker was leaving Paris today, which meant, if I slept in, I had no back up plan, like last time. We had a rendez-vous, to meet for cough-fee, (as she says), before she headed off to Charles de Gaulle airport.
Leaving the apartment, passing through the first security door, I couldn’t help but notice, the renovation notice had been changed; Jeudi had been scratched out and in place of it, Vendredei was scribbled on the scrap of paper taped to the door. The water will now be shut off tomorrow, instead of today. Merde!
As I approached the Notre Dame, under the shelter of my new, sexy, lime green umbrella, that has an opening and closing mechanism, the crowds of the past few weeks has dissipated. This was, one of the few times, I haven’t had to push through the droves of tourists, to cross from the Ile de la Cite, the main island of central Paris, to the left bank. Pont Zero, was unusually void, of trampling feet.
Pont Zero, the brass disc measuring all distances of France from the centre of Paris, located in front of the Notre Dame, holds a legend. It is said, if you stand on it, you will be granted your wish, to return to Paris and this, is what I do, it is my ritual.
With a little time to spare, I placed one foot and then the other, on the small brass disc.
Looking up at the magnificent cathedral, Notre Dame, I experienced an overwhelming feeling. Quickly, without warning, rising from my stomach, moving up through my ribs, like a balloon being pumped full of helium, and bursting up, into my chest, I felt I couldn’t breath, as it caught in my throat. A flood of emotions followed.
After a café crème at The New Yorker’s favourite café, Café Panis, it was time to take her to the train, for her journey to Charles de Gaulle and then, her onward flight to New York.
Standing on opposite sides of the turnstiles, saying our goodbyes, her emotions heightened, and the tears began to fill her eyes. “I miss Paris already”, she said.
My experience is; Paris has this effect, not only on me, but on most people, and leaving is difficult. I tried to brush it off, the same way I did, standing on Pont Zero, only an hour earlier, when I thought my chest would explode.
Leaving the New Yorker and walking along the left bank of the Seine, I turned to the sound of car horns blarring, taxi’s crawling along, at escargot speed, caution lights flashing, another protest in Paris.
The taxi driver’s are not happy with opportunistic ‘mini cabs’ and decided to let it be known. Thank goodness The New Yorker, was well on her way in the underground system.
I chuckled to myself, as they continued to blare their horns, the firemen, or Pompiers and Police, also, with sirens, joined the noise and procession. Strolling back, in the drizzling rain, to the right bank, the sirens, now barely audible, the streets, now much quieter, Paris and I took in a deep breath and exhaled.
What to do on a rainy day in Paris? Go to a gallery or museum. I have managed to miss a few exhibitions I was hoping to see, so I decided I had better not add the Dali exhibition to the list of lost opportunities and so glad that I didn’t.
Entering The Pompidou Centre, the sneaky way, which I had learned from The Stranger, was a breeze.
The line up to buy tickets always baffles me, when the ticket machines, available in about 12 languages, quick and easy to use, never seem to have a soul around. An English speaking attendant approached me to ensure, I was on track. I walked past the line up at the ticket office and left the Pompidou Centre.
Now this might seem a little strange but there was a method in my madness, The Pompidou Centre is open until 10pm but the Brancusi Museum is only open until 6pm and a ticket from the Pompidou, gains entry to both.
Brancusi, a Romanian sculptor, who lived in Paris and left his tools and work to the city. The museum, located in the square in front of the Pompidou Centre is a recreation of how he left his studio when he died in 1957.
Returning to The Pompidou Centre, I couldn’t escape the 30 minutes line up to see the Dali Exhibition. It was big, fabulous and perhaps why it is so popular. While I was waiting, I decided to get a few shots from the top floor. My photos will always be dark and gloomy from this aspect, if the Pompidou Centre, remains one of my museums of choice when it is raining. Although there is no denying the views are pretty spectacular.
I have seen many Dali exhibitions in the past, including the permanent; Espace Dali The Dali Museum in Montmartre, and what was also, the permanent Dali Exhibition in London. Brisbane, also hosted an exhibition. Despite this, only one piece, I remember seeing before. The collection was broad and magnificent.
With an aching back, starving and feeling cold, I headed to Petit fer a Cheval. I started jotting down notes, to remember for my blog. It was suggested that I run home, get the laptop and get to work.
As I sit in my favourite bar, typing my blog, sipping on a glass of wine, waiting for my plat du jour, snuggled up, by the heater, glad, I arrived earlier than most of the regular diners, so I could stake out a place; I realised why people, famous or not, come to Paris to be inspired.
I am certainly not, going to be the next Hemingway, Duke Ellington, Picasso, Chagall, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, or any of the, perhaps, down an outs, who later became famous artists, in their own right, in Paris.
However, I can understand, how this wonderful city of Paris, inspired them.