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Bonjour

Oh, Paris. Time passes so strangely, there; days are marked not so much by being Mondays or Tuesdays, but in sun and cloud and light and dark. I don’t know how long its been since I left (a week? two?) but in my memories the stay is one long day and one long evening. Here, then, is the day.

An essential breakfast at that Belgian place, Le Pain It Begins with a Q. Of course I am passionate about Belgium, but all things aside they do great eggs and I’d go anywhere for that.

The weather, mostly, was celestially good: morning clean and clear and afternoons slow and comfortable. Paris is always pretty, with the little chimney pots and everything, but when sunlight is thrown upon it those creamy colours are too perfect.

To Sainte-Chapelle, at some point, to investigate the glass. Stained glass, like many things, is very exciting to Australians; by the time they got around to making some for us its heyday was long, long done. Needless to say, the place was packed with people saying things like strewth and fair dinkum.

Here, a success. Last year I would have been paralysed with fear at the thought of stumbling through broken French to buy macarons. And now — well, still stumbling, but enough confidence to get what I want. It feels good to mark it. I have a brooch from Stockholm to thank for it all, but there’s another story.

Somewhere near lunch. I can’t tell you for sure what lunch was, but knowing myself as I do it was a croque monsieur and sparkling water (the fun water). I can say for sure that it wasn’t extravagent because, in a premeditated moment of weakness, we went via George V and had something to drink. They are so nice they didn’t even react at the scuffed, muddy brogues and the issue that some of us wore windbreakers.

The essential thing.

In a bit of a coup I volunteered for exercise and climbed the tower — at least, the bit you can climb without an evacuation siren. I would like to talk about the sense of accomplishment I felt, but to do so would mean admitting that I was only really proud of spending a mere 3€ and avoiding the hellish elevator queues. I walk up stairs all the time anyway.

In which the root of Nordic finally dawns on me. See also: scuffed, muddy, George V-approved brogues.

Sacre Coeur, the world’s best and most nice church, from afar.

And a little closer. I like it, and not just because it’s so pretty and has really lovely nuns in habits and everything, but the lack of ostentation. It gives you a sense of what these things ought to be like: grand, but not silly.

And the events of the evening remain to be seen…

 

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