Monday, April 28th.
I’ve decided to call it the Fastest Walking Tour of Paris.
I spent the day in a weird state, sorta floating, feeling out-of-my-mind, from lack of sleep and food. After only two to three hours of not really sleeping on the plane I arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport. My next flight for Rome left in seven hours.
It took much longer to convince my sleep deprived brain that I should leave the airport. Terminal 2 did not have anywhere remotely comfortable to sit and wait, or sleep. It’s primarily for domestic flights. There are warning signs when you’re about to leave a secure area. And the only way to get back is to go through security again. But the actually wording was on the doors was something like, once you walk through this door you can’t get back in! I took it way too literally. I kept thinking, ‘no I have to get back in. I have to catch a flight to Rome.’ Part of me was terrified, but eventually I did it. I walked through the doors and out of the airport.
Over an hour later, I’d gotten myself some euros, including a bunch of coins, and purchased a Day Pass for the RER into Paris.
You always know you’re in a big city when you take the metro or train and pass by wall after wall of colorful graffiti. For some reason it looked exotic to me, different from the graffiti back home, perhaps because it was in French?
It only takes about 50 minutes on the RER and I arrived at the Notre Dame/ San Micheal station. The middle of Paris. I made it. From there I walked along the street San Germain up to Notre Dame. Rain tickled my face. Tourists lined up the length of the block, waiting to get inside the cathedral. Someday I will go inside Notre Dame, but not today.
Since the weather cleared up, with the sun coming out of the clouds, I was drawn across the Île de la Cité. I kept walking and walking. I went around the Louvre and through a gateway into the courtyard with the glass pyramids. It was crowded as ever. Snapping pictures left and right, I continued my walking tour to the gate on the other side and strolled along the Seine River. Strolled isn’t the right word. I was frantic at this point about getting back to the RER and paranoid about making my flight.
On the RER there was a beautiful French woman. She wore a black and white checkered dress, black boots and heels, her thick black hair braided and draped over her shoulder.
At the Louvre I saw two worker on their lunch break. They wore bright blue coveralls and sat in a alcove in front of a line of streetlights.
What I remember most about the day: Frantic energy. Hunger that cuts. Sleep that hurts.