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SoulStrolling™ Sunday à Paris

by Kayce Stevens Hughlett

Paris is not about what you plan, but rather how you proceed.


Today I am sitting in square St. Médard in Paris, France upon the recommendation of my AirBnB hostess.

“The Sunday morning, go at the end of rue Mouffetard, square Saint Médard, and have a coffee there! You will love it!” she says.

Truer words have never been spoken. I open up to my senses, give my eyes over to wonder, and let the day begin.

Violins play. Birds sing. The sun shines. People mill around the square, sipping coffee and munching on croissants. I could not create a more beautiful day or perfect moment if I tried.

An accordion replaces the violin and a woman settles down beside me with the crash of a chair and a squeaking table. Still, the moment is absolutely as it should be.

Did I mention there isn’t a cloud in the sky and I have a pain au chocolatand café crème before me? Children play. People stroll. It’s Sunday in Paris and I am engaged in full on soul strolling.

I begin to play the game of who’s French and who is a tourist. I must remember that there are French tourists, also. I wish I spoke the language better, but perhaps that is part of what I love for myself here. It’s more about feeling than speaking. I lose myself in the patois of the sounds rather than the literal meaning. It is a lovely way to be.

Last night I stumbled across the most sensuous dancers I’ve ever seen. They were gathered in a little alcove along the Seine. A vast assortment of ages, while they were not classically beautiful, they were absolutely stunning! Watching them move around the semi-circle in slow motion, it was obvious that they were feeling the music and each other. They were mesmerizing as they floated together and did this little foot kick thing that seemed magically choreographed.  They exchanged moves through a secret language. No words, yet perfectly in sync.

While in Paris, I especially love listening to people speak to small children. They use fewer words and speak more caringly. It is a lovely form of language. It seems so kind and attentive.

As I finish my coffee and croissant, I feel a little guilty for taking up a premium space as the café gets more crowded. People are milling around looking for a table, but I decide to put on my best French air and keep writing in my journal intime. The woman next to me smokes another cigarette and holds a table for three without apology. I feel less guilty.

There is a father and small girl next to me. I hear “C’est la” (that’s it) and “Chaud. Chaud.” (Hot! Hot!)  She sips a chocolat chaud and munches on pain beurré. Simple and sweet, just like her. The papa asks, “C’est bon?” (It’s good?) Oui, je pense. C’est magnifique. (Yes, I think. It is magnificent.)

I pay for my petit-dejeuner and continue my stroll up Rue Mouffetard. A sweet shop calls my name and then another and another. A familiar sound invades my senses. Music. Beat. Familiarity. I see a small crowd gathered around street musicians playing wonderful sounds á la anglais

I stand and listen, swaying to the music and singing along. They break into a wonderful rendition of "Happy" - one of my favorites. I smile. I laugh. I drop a few coins in the bucket. I remember what I love about Paris... It is not about what you plan, but rather how you proceed...

This day is soul strolling at its finest.

Merci beaucoup, Paris. Je t'aime

You don't have to be in Paris to engage in soul strolling. Imagine how you might proceed today without plans. What if you slowed down and listened to the patois of life around you? What if you let the music invade your soul and danced to its rhythm? What if you became like a child and opened the day to play? Ponder this. It is my invitation to you! 

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