Adieu, Paris

It’s odd that someone who’s pushing forty and who’s already travelled across much of this great big world has never been to Paris before, but it’s true. In two hours I return to London en route to Uganda. So I thought I’d offer some brief observations of Paris before I leave.

This is undoubtedly one of the greatest cities in the world and a de facto capital of Europe. Despite it’s great age, the city seems fresh and young and vibrant. People are friendly, despite the stereotype. The women are fashionable, the men less so. They use the full palette of colours; buses are shaded in greens and oranges, clothes in reds and maroons. Children are still children and adults love them for being so. Though an industrial pioneer, the city is home too hectares of greenspace. Truly, it is a joy to walk through and rest in.

I had the good fortune yesterday of mediating between a woman who was walking her dog and a man who wished to park his car where the dog was urinating. Quite hilarious, actually. Even this minor squabble took on an ornate ritualistic dimension, wherein the necessary gestures and expressions were worn, though everyone knew how it would end: the dog must complete its call of nature before the car could park. The gentleman turned to me in protest an I responded, “Qu’est-ce qu’on peut faire?” to which he nodded,”Rien,monsieur. Rien.” And the ritual was concluded.

I concluded my visit with the obligatory trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower whereupon a snow storm beset us! My hostess Lauren was kind enough to lead me by the hand across the great heights as I, ever the wimp, am verily terrified of such things, But it was a marvelous experience, made more so for the history that is immediate and tangible. In a single view one can see both Notre Dame and the resting place of Napolean’s bones.

I tells ya, people, this is a magical place. I will certainly return!