The cool morning breeze wakes me. I open my eyes to an unfamiliar room. I’m back in Paris! Smiling to myself because it’s another beautiful morning in the French capital.
There’s a knock at the door. We’re greeted with a warm smile and a Bonjour. Le petite dejeuner, or breakfast, has arrived. Hubby and I sit down at our small table facing a quiet residential street. Warm croissants so buttery they coat our lips, so delicate that with each bite flakes fall from our mouths. That aroma that can only come from French cafe au lait dances around our room.
Hubby has business meetings to attend and I have all afternoon to myself. Alone, but in Paris I never feel lonely.
I spend my alone time doing what I love most in Paris, walking. This time I’m walking the streets of Paris as a tourist not as a resident. No matter my reason for being here I feel the same sense of adventure and discovery in every step I take.
I make my way to one of our old neighborhoods. Eventually ending up at the front gate of our first flat. I don’t dare type in the digicode to see if I can swing the heavy metal gate open. Instead I peek between the metal gate and down the corridor to the bright courtyard. Standing there daydreaming of our early European days.
Down the street peering from old Mansard rooftops and terracota chimneys is the famous landmark. Taking the very same route I used to every morning I head towards it. The cement sidewalks turn into gravel and grassy pathways of the Champ de Mars. There she is, La Tour Eiffel.
Suddenly memories rush through me and I feel as though we never left. The gravel paths we walked so many times. The grass that our puppy ran around chasing other dogs. The countless picnics we had gazing up in awe at the Eiffel. That one unforgettable Bastille Day (French Independence Day) that gave me goose bumps and secretly brought me to tears. The countless hours we spent in the observation deck queue. Pretending that my fear of heights wasn’t bothering me as we looked over the magnificent views. Occasionally pinching ourselves to make sure we weren’t dreaming. But none of it was a dream it all really happened. So many cherished memories.
I find a quiet bench to rest my tired feet. Sitting there once again I am reminded of how lucky I’ve been. I live in Europe. I get to be here on this bench looking up at one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. This used to be my park, the one I walked every morning. My house used to be right down the street. And even though I don’t live here any more I get to come back for a visit. In the distance I can hear the hoards of tourist but on this pathway and by this bench no passers by. I feel as though I’m the only one here. Lucky indeed.
Gaze up and camera hanging from my neck I make my way around the tower. Wanting to take a little piece of this memorable day with me, I point the camera up. I’m looking for unique perspectives and views I could have missed. Taking my time and patiently waiting to press the shutter until the frame feels right.
On my walk back to the hotel I stopped at our old boulangerie for a baguette. It was still warm, oh how I love that. I ended my day trip to the Eiffel tower doing my two favorite things in Paris, walking and eating a piece of freshly baked baguette. It was a great day.