Ohh. I'd honestly forgotten how much Paris plays tricks with time. I don't think there's another city in the world in which one can lose track in such a delightful way.
I was there for a couple of days this week for an audition. Unsuccessful, as it turned out, but not for lack of trying. It's a part I would love to sing, so learning excerpts was something that should pay off one day. I know it suits my voice. And the surreal experience of waiting to audition, surrounded by at least six other hopefuls, all looking very much like me but on a 4/5ths reduced scale in all dimensions... priceless!! I know the French are very body-conscious, but this was ridiculous. A whole room full of "mini-me"s...
Still, having the entire day to myself yesterday was an utter pleasure. I had vaguely thought of bringing my return train journey forwards, since I woke early and was scheduled to leave just after 7 p.m. - but in the end I simply gave in and wandered around fairly aimlessly despite grey skies and rain.
I delighted in a crêpe with crème de marrons (sweet chestnut purée), much to the amusement of the stallholder. I had to explain that whilst the Germans do produce crêpes, they never have that particular filling, and so for me it has become somehow a peculiarly French pleasure.
The bookshops around the Sorbonne, with their tempting displays of cheap treasure, appear not to have lost any of their appeal. Somehow my small rucksack (I pride myself on travelling light) became filled with bargains (blasted places also have rooms full of second-hand CDs. Shouldn't be allowed.)
And lunch.... ohhhhh, lunch! I was craving proper French onion soup. After tearing myself away from the bookshops (my feet had started to hurt from carrying so much and marching around), I found a little restaurant in the Latin Quarter which had this on the fixed-price lunch menu and ordered entrecôte to follow. And naturally a small pichet of red wine, despite the waiter trying to entice me into ordering a large one (damn - I used to order those without thinking - this time I didn't even finish the entire jug!), and some sparkling water (bejewelled San Pellegrino - same as I had in Berlin recently. Evidently not made its way to the provinces yet!). It was simply amazing how long I lingered over that meal. Didn't even mean to - my plan for the afternoon was to visit the Rodin museum - but it felt too pleasant, sipping wine redolent of cherries and savouring exquisite food, flicking idly through a novel in French I'd picked up at the bookshop...
I made my train by the skin of my teeth. I'd even managed to make the Rodin museum, interestingly by way of an authentic Parisian street demo (only place on earth where asking for directions gets you the full and flirtatious attention of SIX riot police in full gear, I reckon...).
Photo taken in the rain near Odéon, just as night began to fall. What a beautiful city!!!