Sunday, October 7, 2018

Sunday Wandering

Paris is a city where it doesn't matter what the weather is doing, it's just always beautiful. Even without the blue skies and sunshine, the buildings still stand tall, bearing the rain as they have for centuries. The river still glimmers, the Tower still sparkles. Paris is never gloomy, it's merely different. I felt a strange comfort walking around in the misty cold rain today. It was as if the city was saying, "Don't worry, I've seen it all before, and I will protect you."




The clouds and puddles make the architecture stand out in a different way. It's been a long time since I've wandered around a city with my camera in hand, just taking in the surroundings. Even so, it was only a matter of time before I began seeing it all in a different way, as if the lens of my camera was calling to me to snap this angle or capture that moment. It's the sort of thing I used to feel all the time when I was living in Belgium. That shift in perspective was oh so welcome. It's the feeling of raw creativity and the desire to grab hold of the beauty all around you and translate it onto an image. I love that feeling and I love the art that comes from it.




It's crazy to me how comfortable I feel here in Paris. There are parts of this city that I know so well, despite only having been here a few times before, and not for very long. However, today, walking along the Seine, with Notre Dame right across the river, it felt so familiar and welcoming. It hasn't even been two weeks since I arrived, but it already feels like home here. Sure, there are things that are still daunting, like the constant striving to speak better French and the overwhelming desire to make the Parisians believe I'm not a tourist (THAT struggle is real), but I don't feel at all out of place in this city. I feel that this is where I'm meant to be.




Today's quest was really to find a good Sunday marché, which led me to a couple different areas of the city, and lots of wandering. I never ended up finding the one I was looking for, but I did stumble upon a great one towards the end of the afternoon, and I also finally made it to Shakespeare and Co! You guys. If you ever come to Paris, DO NOT skip this one! I've been in lots of bookstores. If you know me at all, you know how much I love books (and how much of a problem that is for my wallet). This was one of the coolest, quirkiest bookstores I've ever been in. I'd heard about it several times from many different people, but I had no idea what to expect. I definitely didn't think it would be as cozy as it is! Although it's actually quite large, it feels very intimate because 1) the sheer volume of books that surrounds you at all times, and 2) each of the rooms that makes up the shop is actually quite small, especially with all the people in there. There are lots of little nooks all over the place with lumpy old couches where you can recline with a book, and upstairs is their collection of old books, not to be purchased, but perused there in their library. Just about all the books they carry are in English, and everyone there was speaking English first. I can tell you now, I just know I'll be spending a good bit of my time in that shop. Just being there today, I almost cried several times out of sheer overwhelming joy and comfort. It's a haven. You aren't allowed to take pictures in there, which is why I don't have any of those for you guys, but trust me. I can't believe it took me so long to get there, but now I can't wait to go back! I did purchase one book: "Breakfast at Tiffany's". Because I just had to.




The rest of my time was spent wandering down little alleys and side streets, photographing huge beautiful old doors, and spending a few more euros here and there on antique books, piled high by the vendors at the outdoor marché at Place St Michel. My day was wrapped up sitting in my tiny little apartment, wrapped in my comforter with a takeout pizza and a glass of rosé, because it's a rainy Sunday and what else do you do on rainy Sunday evenings?

Where do you like to wander? Have you ever seen Paris in the rain?

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