Follow me on Twitter: @janemcintyre12



I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Saturday 24 October 2015

Oh..for the love of Paris...

24 hours in Paris.

I had one day...and (nearly) all of one night before my Eurostar home.

There was time, in theory, to cram in some culture, see the sights, neck a cocktail and catch a can-can; an intoxicating city sharpener after a lazy few days in the Normandy countryside.

But a snooze on the train had been irresistible after my early start, so with tourist map still unfolded, I emerged like a sleepy mole at Montparnasse into blindingly bright spring sunshine; still not sure how to pace this trip.

My guidebook had scores of ideas on how to get a taste of the city--from bitesize to the whole damn baguette. With time ticking away; I considered a quick, double shot espresso, a speedy sprint to the starting blocks, and following a suggested route.

And then I took a deep breath--of second hand smoke, mainly, but at that moment, it didn't matter. Looking around, you remember. Paris isn't an `all you can scoff` buffet, with the next sitting waiting in the wings. It might be busy and bustling; pacy and passionate. But it's a city to savour. Slowly.

So....I strolled across the station square for a lazy cafe au lait ; catching conversations, watching people watching me, watching them. Guide book packed away, I headed back across the square into the Tour Montparnesse for a better way of deciding what to see; where to go: its 56th floor viewing platform. A perfect panorama of Paris; which almost moved me to tears. Breathtaking; and on this gloriously sunny day, quite beautiful.

After a easy Line 12 ride to my hotel at Saint- Georges to leave my bag, I drank in the view from my window. Balconies, shutters, taxis, mothers taking chirruping children to the little park in the square across the way. I ambled up the Rue des Martyrs to find lunch and watch the world go by. Well..I tried.....through another little twirl of smoke, from the man at the table next to mine. Somehow... it still didn't matter; didn't bother me; I was too busy watching a pair of local estate agents squeeze their Smartcars in to the tiniest space,together, at rightangles to the kerb.

Soon, because I'd caught a glimpse of its most famous church, I was heading up the hill to Montmartre and the funicular car to the stunning Sacre Coeur, and yet another heartstopping view of the city below. I jumped on the Disney-esque little Montmartrain for its six euro tour; its toytown appearance strangely out of place as it bumbled past the Moulin Rouge and the sex shops.

More coffee stops followed as the afternoon turned into early evening. I watched lovers at neighbouring tables still languishing over their late lunches, and each other, then, map still unfolded, dawdled through the cobbled streets and their little independent, boho shops, chatting with the owners; picking up treasures to take home, listening to live music on the corner of a square and wondering just how soon it might be decent to return.

Around 11, I was packed, showered, mellow and tired after my day of map-free meandering, and set my alarm in good time for my 5 am taxi.

Around 12.....the shrieking of the hotel's fire alarm; and the shrieking of an American woman, banging at my door for a coat before we dashed down the stairs. "It`s not so much the cold, " she said, as I handed her the duvet runner from my room. "It's the fact that I wear THIS in bed on a trip to Paris with my husband. If this is a fire and it makes it to CNN, all America's gonna know I sleep in "Hello Kitty"...`"

Luckily, there was no emergency; just someone having a sneaky cigarette in their hotel bedroom. Some smoke; no ire. It meant I got to stand out on a Paris street for a while, in trench coat, boots and...not much else, really, not *that* far from the Pigalle ; tweeting furiously to look busy, and trying not to shiver too much, or laugh too much at the cutely attired American lady. (Who says romance is dead?)

Soon after dawn; it was all aboard the Eurostar. We were four strangers round one table on the train...a couple of businessmen, and opposite me, a portly Frenchman with a newspaper, and a battered London A-Z, priced 3/6. I'm kind of hoping he didn't bother with his map, either.....

No comments:

Post a Comment