The flu bug has jumped the Atlantic and landed right here in Paris. Fortunately, except for a handful of headaches, bumps, bruises and bloody noses, we stay quite healthy. I hope my words don’t come back to haunt me. But many friends, kids and adults, haven’t been so lucky. Today I was supposed to head to a museum and lunch with about eight others but only two of us were able make it. The others are either in bed themselves or nursing a child that is home from school today. So we’re rescheduling for next week.
That left me with some time to squeeze in a run this morning. When I ran on Tuesday I told myself that I should bring along a book so I could run to a park and enjoy reading in the fresh air before heading back. So last night I slipped my latest book, Monkey Mind, in my backpack and went to bed looking forward to a run to the Jardin de Luxembourg.
When we stepped outside for school this morning I was hit by the cold air. Sunshine? Yes. Ability to keep fingers warm enough to turn pages in a book? Absolutely not. Well, I don’t like to change routes at the last minute so decided to head in the same direction and made some mental plans to visit a couple churches in the area. (It’s important for me to keep checking things off my list in order for me to feel productive. Perhaps some day in my life I will do nothing all day and not feel guilty about it. I have not matured to that point yet.)
I don’t know why I continue to be surprised when I enter a park in Paris and it’s filled with runners. Perhaps I assume Parisians are too relaxed to partake in physical activity early in the morning or just can’t be bothered with it. The majority of moms dropping off their kids at school in the morning are already dressed like you would imagine Parisian women would be dressed: boots with heels, leggings or tights, skirt, black coat and scarf. I am not a Parisian woman. Oh, I’m usually all in black (accompanied by the neon yellow running gloves and electric blue headband). But I am not in heels or a skirt. Not even a running skirt.
Anyway, running in a park does make me feel like I belong when I see all the other runners. I think to myself, “I fit in here!”
I ran a lap around the park and then sat for a spell to take in. It’s funny; the last time I was in this park was August. It was over 100 degrees that day and we looked for any scrap of shade we could possibly find. The park was packed with people because no one had A/C so the best way to stay cool was outside in a park. It seems so long ago. Now I am going to all these places without maps and thinking, “Remember when we were here and had no idea what we were doing or where we were going?” Oh, there is still a bunch of that and thank goodness for Google Maps when we need a check of where we are. But there is a sense of confidence now that we didn’t have in the summer. It’s nice. It feels a bit like it’s our city, my city. I think about when I come back some day and can seek out all these places and remember when we lived here. We lived in Paris! Still seems a bit weird.
I used my resting time to check out two churches I wanted to visit: Eglise Saint-Sulpice, built beginning in 1646 with a chapel decorated from murals by Delacroix (I would not have had any idea what that meant six months ago…Kelley and Art History did not really cross paths much prior to this trip) and Eglise Saint-Germain-des Pres, the oldest church in Paris, built in 990. The churches weren’t too far from where I was so within minutes I could be at either. They were both quiet with a service going on in one and individuals setting up for a funeral, I believe, in the other. I took my time in each, really awe-struck by the longevity of these buildings, especially when we have to rebuild a middle school because it was built so poorly…40 years ago! We, as a modern-day society, really have a lot to learn even though we believe ourselves to be so advanced.
So, continuing the theme that I needed to accomplish something on this run, I felt the need to visit Hugo & Victor, a patisserie/chocolatier (fairly new on the scene). It is a gorgeous store, more like a jewelry store, actually, and as much as I was tempted to walk out with a tart or other pretty treat, I just wasn’t in the mood. Maybe I was feeling poor and the idea of spending six euros (pretty much $9) on a treat didn’t set right. And it actually seemed to be a place that I needed to share with someone else. So someday I’ll go back and have lovely pictures to share with you.
Until then, you’ll have to enjoy a picture of toast with jam and butter…my own treat when I arrived home. Maybe not as fancy but definitely just as good.