Paris is moody. She lives through her people. They laugh and debate and rush here and relax there. They drink coffee alone - staring out to the passing crowds, or lunch with friends - talking animatedly and gesturing late into the evening while the sky is still light fading to intense blue before blackening.
I love looking over edge of our terrace - pushing aside the bright orange roses to see the gorgeous old apartments lining the street opposite us. Each window a vinaigrette beyond the curtains. Parisians are on the phone, or watering their geranium filled window boxes, or eating or walking through the lounge. All these people each with their own story.
John, Susie, Billy & I wake, stretch. eat fresh bread, cheese, and drink coffee and discuss the day and which metro will find our way to the days plans. And so we arrive at the Paris Catacombs. There are stern instructions in the catacomb entrance. This ossuary tour is not for the people of nervous disposition and can make a strong impression on children. We, of course, discussed each other's dispositions until the boys and I finally made our way down a narrow stone spiral staircase, 130 steps, 20 metres under ground. There 2 km of narrow walkways, cool, silent, sacred, and dark beyond the circle of lights wind its way under Paris. This is the Cemetery of Innocents, where the bones of 6 million Parisians are neatly stacked along the walls, the femurs and skulls carefully placed to form walls of design. It was a little daunting - so far underground, the quietness, the bones and me. French quotes were graved into plaques and life seems so temporal - knowing that above me people are laughing, working and feasting and I am walking by bones of their ancestors resting quietly, spirits in another place. Billy and John tried to lighten the mood with jokes, the sort you can only groan at. " Ive got a bone to pick with you" style.
Finally we surface to life and after deciding on a course of action take the metro and find somewhere we weren't looking for. That seems to be the way in Paris. Chose a destination and find yourself somewhere else. Susie and I delighted in a series of arcades stretching from block to block. Old and with ancient windows showcasing shops of interest- dusty books and bright art works, ancient pieces, miniature toys, coins and cafes with rainbows of macaroons and french pastries, Pistachio icecream and expresso coffees. The ceiling was glass with ornate iron work and the floors stone tiles and worn mosaics. We ooohed and ahhhed and window shopped with passion and with some astonishment had our hands kissed by a garlic scented french man. Do you ever wonder how things happen? I think you wonder a lot more in Paris. The random encounters one has in Paris.
The hours slipped by and we ended up again at the Eiffel tower. Standing under her metal lace skirts looking up is daunting. Its graceful and strong combined. Finally we got to the top and the sky was darkening and the lights of Paris were beginning to flicker on, lining the boulevards and river and creating patterns of light all over Paris. And I cannot believe how blessed I am to be here.