On our first morning in Paris, we walked along the Seine, shivering under the new fall chill, and stopped at the Cafe St. Regis. In the distance, we could see one spire of Notre Dame, its true glory hiding behind a limestone building with wrought iron balconies, and the Cafe St. Regis was one of three forming a triangle of cafes resting along the Seine. Just over the bridge, a guitar player played the same song over and over again and chords drifted to us over the swell of the water and mumbled conversations in a language we didn’t understand.
Next to us, an old man sat with a large black suitcase on the opposite chair, staring out over the Seine where a willow tree dipped its branches into the water below. He’d long since finished his cappuccino, and the cup and saucer sat empty in front of him. There were still faint spots of frothed milk laced along the inside of the cup and croissant flakes scattered along the table, but what struck me about the man was how still he was, how intently focused he was on the scene across the Seine, eyes fixed on one small spire among others at Notre Dame, as if he were trying to memorize the scene before him, before he continued on to whatever his next destination should be.
In that moment, I felt as if I’d found Paris too, or at least the version of Paris I wanted to remember most. Cradling my first cup of cafe creme between cold fingers and curious about all the things we hadn’t seen yet, I tried to watch as intently as he did.
Below are pictures of many of our favorite moments, though I’m afraid there are too many to count and too many I’ve probably already forgotten, but here goes…
|Partiers in Le Marais.|
|The view from the dome at Sacre Coeur with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.|
|Love locks along the bridges. Legend has it that if you leave a lock on the bridge with your lover and throw away the key, your love will last forever, or at least until the end of October when the locks will be removed.|
|The view from the Musee d’Orsay. We meant to spend a few hours, but spent a day instead.|
|One of the fountains at the Jardin de Luxembourg.|
|Another of Le Marais’ many partiers. The street under her feet is covered with confetti.|
|Pere Lachaise Cemetery, the final resting place for Chopin, Jim Morrison, and Oscar Wilde among countless others.|
|Oscar Wilde’s grave, covered in lipstick kisses.|
|Stained glass shadows along the walls at St. Severin, one of the oldest remaining churches on the Left Bank.|
|Camille Corot, Jeune femme a la robe rose, one of the many paintings on display at Musee d’Orsays exhibition on art and prostitution.|
|Just outside of the Pompidou Center, this church was dismantling and rebuilding a boat in the nave as part of an upcoming art exhibition.|
|The view from Montmarte/Sacre Coeur.|
|The Opera House, where the fifth box is to be kept empty for the Phantom’s use.|