I found one of my favorite spots in Paris in the last thirty minutes of our day.
Le Centre Pompidou.
We actually didn’t even go inside so I have no idea if I like the huge building or not. But it was the atmosphere that surrounded the area. A man lay sprawled across the cobblestones with a guitar atop his stomach, strumming idly. Two steps further were drums and people chanting and singing. And my personal favorite was the man in the very center of everything, balancing on his head, and doing a full yoga/meditation. I bet he thought he was so cool.
He kind of was.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We started the day off here, Emmie and I. The marble (or whatever) was slippery and the wind was whipping our hair every which way. But we didn’t mind as the past few days had been so hot we’d ended up with sunburns in weird places (ick) so we embraced the wind, even as it got Emmie’s hair stuck every few minutes in my lipgloss.
We’d packed our lunch. Emmie with one of the loves of her life – french baguette – and I, typically, with fish (mmmmmm).
Of course, as an awesome German I know would say, have to make time for selfies.
We decided, in a split second sort of way, that we would climb the Eiffel Tower. It hadn’t been in our plans but in the moment, looking up at it with stomachs happy and possibilities endless…we just had to.
But the best part (ok not the best but close) was as we stood in line and a security guard vehemently insisted that we cut to the front when he saw Emmie was blind. Everyone else looked like they hated us and Emmie and I felt so cool.
Likes movie stars!
Honestly it was a little ridiculous how much we enjoyed our little moment.
Though my phone really is fabulous (suck it Apple lovers) zoom isn’t incredible. But it was surreal to look a bit to my left and see Sacre Coeur rising in the distance, but right at our level. We were breathless and I kept tripping on my dress, and there were so many little kids running and screaming I wanted to do some of my own tantrum throwing. But it was worth it.
And you should really see my calves.
What came next, however, was traumatic. Literally. As we hadn’t been planning to go up the Eiffel Tower we had seen no problem in bringing a lunch bag. But with the knives and forks it wasn’t permitted in the Tower. So brilliant I thought just to stuff it in a bush and hope for the best.
We came back and of course..it had vanished.
Emmie almost cried when she realized her spinach and goat cheese quiche was lost, which I actually understand. And I felt like a total blonde.
It just sucked.
So even as we walked towards a bridge so beautiful it hurts…we were a bit down. After all those steps and lack of water (with toilettes few and far between hydrating is nerve racking) and realizing I hadn’t eaten quite enough that day – leaving my head hurting and stomach aching – I almost thought to just throw my hands up and go back to the house. After all my phone kept telling me to go one way that I knew was NOT right (ahem…it ended up being right) and the length of the walk was 35 mins.
But we were on a mission!
After making it to the Opera twice and not getting inside – the first time some event was going on and the second we’d missed the time slot by half an hour – we just had to strive forward.
We let the idea of Starbucks afterwards and our raw Emmy’s treats (yes it sounds funny when I ask Emmie for and Emmy) fuel our weary bodies.
And we did it!….barely. We shuffled our way through the magnificence and I oood and awed half heartedly.
But it was worth it.
And then we went to go into the auditorium. ..and it was dark for technical reasons.
There’s those moments one thinks the world is against them. So while I looked up at this “sky” with Emmie almost falling over beside me…I just took a deep breath…and stayed really annoyed.
And then the elevator didn’t work and took us back to the auditorium instead of up….
And the lights had come on! Oh lala! I should really work on my patience and such.
And then as I looked up at this ceiling I wondered just what it would be like to dance here. I nearly threw my shoes of and leaped to the stage….but that would have required moving at more then a crawl and so I changed my mind.
And then the moment came. So big. So wonderful.
We got our Starbucks.
And we bit into our Emmy’s and sighed with joy.
We were in Paris surrounded by cafes and we had found ecstasy in two big, piping hot tea’s from Starbucks. Earl Grey and English Breakfast. They sung to our hearts.
I’ve never been high but I’m pretty sure tea is a drug. We walked out of that green and white building in Cloud Nine ready to take on the world. And the next 35 minute walk to a place I would find absolutely perfect in an imperfect way. Off we charged!
Meandered while I turned in circles from the robotic voice echoing out of my phone.
We arrived (on the way was wonderful also. We made a game of counting the Asian restaurants. 10 total, if you’re wondering, on one street) and it really was perfect.
For the past days of our stay we’d been desperately searching for a place where no cars could drive. We all – Emmie, Pascal, and I – were in agreement that sometimes one just needs to feel that they won’t be run over by a crazy Parisian driver. And here it was.
We slipped down to our butts on a toasty metal bench surrounding the fountains. A French boy came up to me and politely asked the time, finding no problem with the fact that I was American (as has been the case frequently) but simply smiling in a dazzling way, switching easily to English.
Emmie and I were giddy as we took out our books. Her fingers started flying across her braille display and I just wanted to cuddle my big fat novel.
However I didn’t focus much as I was constantly looking up and around me like a little kid, excited to see every new shiny thing that came into view. I was ready to meet people, be crazy, wild. I was totally and completely me, the best part of me.
We had only a little time so I dragged Emmie away from the nice bench to the slopping hill where all the cool people were (at least they looked cool) our skirts kept blowing up and the stones dug into our legs, but the music was beating in my chest and looking around I saw no tourists (I know I am a tourist but sometimes I could just strangle some of the fools I see walking around) just genuine people having a swell time.
We pushed it to the very last minutes before rushing to find the metro and though I said goodbye to the area sadly the rest of the evening only pushed me higher into the sky. I worked out at our hosts fitness studio and stretched like I hadn’t in days.
Then it was home to sit around a table and eat and sip and laugh.
Today I am on my way to a contemporary class at Studio Harmonic. I admit I’m slightly terrified, but with the prospect of returning to Le Centre Pompidou I think I’ll be ok.
I think I’ll be fabulous.
And you should be too!
See you soon my friends!