The lie of the century – “I will blog everyday”. And also that women are equal as men.
How naïve of me to think that I had the energy and ability to dedicate a blog post every day of my travels! But regardless, my apologies for not withholding the promise that had an inevitable doomed fate.
I have chosen to focus on my posts this month and throughout my European travels, I have recorded my thoughts, experiences and photos on my phone and moleskine. Hopefully my posts will be just as lively as if you were there with me.
However, compared to other travel blogs, mine will have much more distinctive observations I made in place and connect my knowledge, biases, observations with each other and the greater societal influences.
- Sacré Coeur
- Les Puces de Saint-Ouen
- Eiffel Tower
- Dancing along the Seine
The day started with touring Montmartre and visiting the Sacré Couer. Montmartre is known for its artistic and bohemian culture promoting the hipster lifestyle. The buildings with symmetrical windows lined with steel Juliette balconies and wooden shutters bordered this magical little part of Paris. Coffee shops and brasseries were hemmed with little wicket chairs with old, wobbly tables that had just enough space for a few espresso cups. I mean, most of Paris was like this…but Montmartre was like entering a different world within the magical world of Paris. It was more intimate, bounded by non-conforming culture, differences, and deep historical roots of artistic expression.
Now all these distinctive characteristics of this funny little part of Paris has been commodified, the streets are covered with tourists (including myself) and souvenir stores. Artists that try to make ends meet and lure tourists into being their muse for 20 minutes while they draw a relatively plain sketch of them.
I visited Sacré Couer and to be absolutely honest – it was so beautiful, but I felt no strong urge towards it. Likely because I didn’t grow up in a catholic-Christian household, I had no connections or relationship with the religion. But objectively, seeing the immense detailed domed roofs and pillars really makes you wonder how on earth people managed to build all this with such little technology?
Les Puces de Saint-Ouen
This charming area housing multiple different markets was an absolute maze to go through. I can definitely see someone being able to furnish their entire house from this market alone.
It was a bit difficult to take photos of the outdoor flea market stands because of how crowded the streets were…and the last thing I needed on my second day in Paris was my phone or camera being swiped right out of my hands.
Marché Dauphine – There was this massive industrial building that housed many furniture, vinyl records, old tattered book stores. Even postcards that were written and sent to the recipients were sold along with old cookbooks and novels. Anything would go in this market.
I could have spent the whole day exploring this area of the city. However, with no place to store anything I would have bought and with a limited budget, I left my interior design dreams along with the forgotten, dusty books and well-sat in velvet chaises.
Le Tour Eiffel
The day concluded with drinks by the Eiffel Tower where my friend Katie and I had a bottle each and sat and pondered and wondered about all the miseries and lovelies of this world.
Paris allows drinking in public so many Parisians and tourists gathered on the lawns under the tower. Evenings included indulged in the late-summer dusk while smoking Gauloises’ and washing the smoke down with some wine or beer.
Katie and I wandered down to the Seine where there were pockets of people either dancing tango, or salsa right on the banks of the river. The music was loud and the spirit of everything not mattering except what’s here, right now crusaded over all my worries. I don’t dance but after a bottle of wine in me, drunkenly dancing with fellow visitors and Parisians was an experience I can’t seem to find one word for. Feeling the warm late-summer air trestle through my hair and my arms swaying with the beat of bongo drums. I have only felt very few moments of liberty in my life.
To dance without any fear of what other’s judged because frankly, no one did judge. The immense communal support from a group of strangers that only share one thing – the love of music and dancing. This is really an experience that only the spirit can hold and remember dearly.
This c’est la vie way of living is very admirable. Many parts of Europe doesn’t allow time to control and consume one’s life. Time is much different here, it’s slow but not in a boring idyllic way…but more so like a hazy, comfortable, slow-paced way that is hard to beat. It allows life to take it’s course without having to race time and commitments.
More to come, thanks for joining.