Today was really busy, and although I had plans to take a walk to find something to sketch, the only little bit of time I had available was in between plans. Not to be discouraged, I simply stepped outside the front door of the apartment we’ve rented for the trip and sketched what I saw. If you take a right and walk past this bicycle, you’ll find a couple of doors leading out to a busy street. But right here, in this little courtyard, it’s really quiet and you feel miles away from all of the noise and confusion. I really don’t like the crowded tourist areas here, but I promise I will try to make it to one before I leave so I can share something more iconic and recognizable. My inability to speak the language fluently is the only thing that makes me feel like a tourist. Otherwise, I’m quite content living amongst the locals and enjoying everyday life in Paris.
Even though I love all the food and access to things we simply can’t get back home, I do appreciate living in a less crowded city. Today, we took a long car ride with Philippe’s parents to get to a large Carrefour in the suburbs. The best way to describe this brand of store to other Americans is that it’s like a Walmart, only with lots of fabulous French champagne rather than shelves of cheap beer. Champagne happened to be the primary reason for our trip and the prices were indeed amazing. But sitting in the traffic and navigating the tiny narrow streets would make me crazy. So as magical as it all seems to be here on foot, the reality of living here can also seem a little less than appealing.
But right now, as I type this, the window is open, the weather is lovely and the atmosphere is really quiet. In this moment, I fall in love with Paris again and want to live here. Of course, in reality, we couldn’t possibly afford the fabulous place we’re borrowing via AirBnb. But that’s part of the magical feeling to these trips. We’re not just living in Paris, we get to live rather well for a brief period, and experience a lifestyle that’s more like a dream. A beautiful dream filled with fine champagne et chocolat, free from the stresses of work. It’s not our reality, but we get to borrow it for a little bit of time. Excited to be here and charmed by the view each time we step outside our little apartment.