Thursday, 6 May 2010

Alphabe-Thursday P is for Paris

I am an armchair traveller. For all sorts of reasons I am no longer able to jet about (or cruise) willy nilly. In fact, not at all. And yes, I do get a little bit jealous sometimes of the people who can and do. But that is a negative thing and we don't do negative here on Just Jotting Along!
I have some very pleasant memories of Paris. I first went when I was 17. A school friend had a sister who married the gorgeous Jean-Paul and lived in a flat in Paris so I and 2 others went with her for a week's stay, sleeping, at first, on the floor of the living room. Then a friend of theirs said two of us could have his room in his college digs, which was fine until we realised that the only place to have a pee was at an open urinal at the end of the corridor. I drew the long straw and stayed with my friend and her sister, but the other two had to nip down the Metro last thing at night and then first thing in the morning. They were not meant to be there and the next night another friend of the family offered her digs in a slightly less difficult situation. And it was in that place that I first listened to Leonard Cohen, looking across the roofs of Paris from the 6th floor. I also bought my first 2 Jacques Brel LPs on that trip. I already knew of him but only from the radio. And it was the first time I had filter coffee. Those plastic cone things, and the papers, were just not available in the UK then, so we brought back supplies. And Petit Suisse cheese. We went to the Louvre and said "Ou est.... " and were pointed to the Mona Lisa before we could say any more . She's a lot smaller than I had imagined. One rainy afternoon we went to the cinema and saw Midnight Cowboy. I only half understood what was going on because my brain insisted on reading the subtitles
The second time was when I was 30; with another friend who had a cousin who lived there, but this time I had a real bed because they let their cats roam the place and I didn't like cats in the room when I was sleeping so I got the bedroom and the others slept on the floor in the next room. It was a very hot time of year and there were cicadas at night which was rather exotic. This flat was right near the Gare du Nord so I could watch trains coming in and out and going round on a turntable, and there were more roofs and windows through which you could see a little sometimes. We went to the newly opened science museum right at the end of a metro line somewhere in the wilds, and played with a computer for a while - a big deal then. We saw the weird glass pyramid that had now appeared by the Louvre. and The Geode
On both occasions, because I was staying with people in a rather off hand sort of way, we got to do ordinary shopping. You know, I think you should always go and look round a supermarket when you are on holiday, even if you don't need to. It's fascinating.
So I feel very nostalgic for Paris.
I started collecting books about the city, some are really old. and I love reading them as though I know the place, when, of course, I don't really.
Notre Dame seemed too touristy to me but Sacre Coeur was just wonderful.
Climbing those steps in Montmartre.
The self service restaurant at Motte-Piquet
The wonderful names of the stations on the Metro
Shops open in the evening
Asking for "un carnet " on the Metro, like you are a local.

More Ps HERE


  1. We love the 'ordinary' Paris! Usually stay near the Sorbonne with all the student comings & goings. Definitely my favourite place!

  2. I can no longer travel either Jay, but the internet continues to bring the world home to me!

  3. I would love to go to Paris. Maybe I will some day, who knows. I enjoyed hearing about your adventures.

  4. Well, you 'know the place' much better than I do!
    I enjoyed your stories of staying in local Paris, rather than tourist Paris. What wonderful memories!

  5. Such lovely memories! Maybe one day you'll go back...

  6. That is one of the wonderful things about blogging. We can all feel like we are going places by reading our friends blogs from all over the world! :-) I don't get to travel as much as I would like to. But other things take priority... Like paying for 2 kids to go to college.

  7. sounds like a lovely trip, at least you can say you have been there :D

  8. I would like to see all the great museums all around the world. and the catacombs of Paris. I'm a cranky traveler, though. Maybe I'll just read a book.

  9. Oh, I love this little trip today on your blog.

    I have never been...but it sounds absolutely perfectly charming.

    It sounds like you have so many precious memories from this trip.

    I'm glad you can go there in your minds-eye whenever you want!

    I always enjoy my stop here each week on my journey through Alphabe-Thursday!

    Thank you for being a part of it!


  10. Oh I love Paris. Haven't been back for years, but I used to go often on business back in the late 80s and 90s. I stayed at some wonderful quirky hotels on the Left Bank, and would visit various publishing houses. Some of them at the very very top of old houses, I always loved the way a rather tatty wooden door would open to a courtyard and fabulous stone staircases. Never any lifts.

    I would always find time to go the market in Rue de Buci, & to visit the Musee d'Orsay and sit in the marble sculpture gallery.

    Business travel is odd, you are often on your own, the French didn't seem to entertain in the same way as the Spanish, say. In Spain I would be taken out every night, people would make sure I was ok, that I didn't need anything.

    Parisians are not like that... LOL

  11. I've never been to Europe, but Paris is definitely on my "bucket list".

  12. this is the second paris post and it is making me nostalgic for france. ahh..i wish i were there right now! thanks for the smile this morning.

  13. i'm still dreaming of seeing paris ... i doubt that i will ever get there so i too must be satisfied with armchair travelling ... i join you in the sigh ...

  14. I was only in Paris for an afternoon, the stupid bus driver wouldn't even let us out to see the Eifel Tower - had to look out the dirty window. But they gave us a half an hour to shop in some tourist trap - sheesh. But Notre Dame was amazing. Someday I want Paris to be my destination, not a stop on a tour. I would love to know someone who lived there. That must have been amazing.

  15. Happy Mother's Day,my friend!
    You look BEAUTIFUL, then and NOW!
    You are such a wonderful friend and MOTHER!
    May this Mother's Day be one of the best with more to come in years!

  16. jaydubblah,

    I am so sorry.
    Still, you do not have to be a Mother
    to enjoy Mother's Day!
    Just enjoy the day?

  17. What a lovely post! You really drew me a picture with your words. I've never been, but I would love to go. Kathy

  18. Sounds like two wonderful adventures and memories at very different seasons. I like grocery stores and regular things when visiting places too. I like your remembrances and dreams of Paris... Thank you.