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Thursday
Sep182014

The Universe Knows - Be Like Water. Going with the flow in Paris

 by Sharon Richards

photo 89What is water? Element, sustenance, changing, flowing, moving, stagnant, still, stormy… That’s what today has been like for me in Paris. Granted, in the big scheme of things, I’m in Paris!

I’m here on my own for a few days before my husband joins me on route home from India. My intention has been to wander, take my soul for a stroll and discover new things about this city that I love. That certainly happened today. My morning started with a delicious almond croissant from Du Pain et Des Idees. I’d read about this boulangerie in a recent article and it happens to be around the corner from my apartment in Canal St. Martin. It’s the best almond croissant I’ve tasted. They have so many other yummy looking items that I’ll be returning to sample them over the next few days (although they are closed over the weekend). Would highly recommend waiting in line at this boulangerie or arriving early in the morning. I then strolled about the neighborhood, following some other tips from various websites and articles and had a marvelous time. My ‘plan’ was to rent a bike from the Velib station by my apartment. I’d gone online to the site, paid for my week long pass and thought I was good to go. Alas, not so. There are funny little quirks that tend to happen in France. I went through all the prompts on the display and got to the prompt that needed me to enter the station number. Nothing is mentioned on the website about this. I entered the numbers on the pillar at the Velib station, but no, no bike for me. Some delightfully kind French shop owners came to my assistance, and they didn’t know what to do. Hm…..what to do? I don’t get wifi on my phone here and no one was answering the Velib number. My response, change of plan – go with the flow. Off I walked and wandered, strolled and sauntered.photo 90 I came across some beautiful art, lovely sunshine and friendly folks, and stopped in at Merci, a shop I’d read about, but it was too hot, crowded and noisy for me.

photo 92It was sunny and warm and I was getting hungry, so I walked to a sandwich shop and wine bar, Verjus (on one of the small streets alongside Palais Royal), that I’d discovered the last time in Paris. Thought I’d get a delicious sandwich to go and enjoy it sitting outside in the gardens at Palais Royal. This, alas, was also not a go. Upon arriving at Verjus I discovered there were no longer sandwiches to go. Not sure what exactly happened with this, but no sandwich for me.

photo 91Hm, embracing the quote above I decided to be like water. Upon gathering my grumbling stomach and memory of  previous places to dine in the area, Willi’s Wine Bar came to mind. Meandering and changing my way to this restaurant ended up being a sustaining wise choice. It was cool, quiet and the food was delicious. The wait staff honored my attempts at speaking French and didn’t speak to me once in English. I wrote in my journal, sipped on a refreshing, cool glass of white wine and enjoyed my meal. Patrons around me were quietly speaking in French and it was music to my ears and soul.

I’d read that a new exhibit was opening at the Musee Marmottan and took the metro there after lunch. I reunited with my dear friends Monet and Berthe Morisot. Perfect, calming, insightful, moving, flowing, sustaining – water to my soul. 

Upon exiting the Marmottan a change was in the weather. Dark storm clouds were rolling in the skies above and when I walked out of the metro at Trocadero thunder was rumbling in the skies and lightning was on the horizon.

photo 94I watched the fountains dance in front of the Eiffel Tower and headed down to the Batobus station. I’d purchased a Batobus pass as there’s a current discount on them for the remainder of the year. I'd purchased it the previous day, with the intention of using it fairly often over the next week, and it therefore being a good use of my euros. Ah well……It may or may not be. I ended up needing to get a photo of myself to afix to the pass. Aha! That’s why they have all those photo booths in the metro stations. Except you have to get 5 pics of yourself, when I only needed 1, for 5 euros,  Oh well – be like water – flow, change, move, rest.  I’d done that on my metro route from Musee Marmottan to Trocadero. They were very kind at the Batobus stop as I needed scissors to cut my photo down to size and stick it to my card.

The Batobus arrived and I boarded along with multiple fellow travelers. Then the rain came down. Not a Seattle sprinkle or showering, but a full on thunder/lightning downpour. The windows on the sides of the Batobus were open as it had been so hot earlier in the day, and was still very muggy and humid. Funny thing about the Batobus, they can’t change the positions of the windows while on route – the next stop was 15 minutes along the Seine. photo 95Water flowed, poured, shifted, moved, and blew its’ way around the boat. The staff on the boat were very friendly, kind and helpful and encouraged all of us to sit in the center or stand outside and brave the downpour. My fellow passengers were mostly light hearted, going with the flow, traveling on water folk; adaptable, pleasantly dealing with the change of weather and savoring their time in Paris. It was a delightful surprise and gift to journey with them as I met the families from England and Australia, the couple from Toronto, the cousins from Spain and the sisters from Italy.

'The Universe knows, be like water’. It’s a good mantra for pilgrimage. I’ve had a soul filling day in Paris and can hardly wait to see what happens with my ‘intentions’ for tomorrow. I have gone online and found out how to correctly enter Velib station numbers so will see how that goes tomorrow.

photo 96


 

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