And I am deeply in love.
Someone once said that they can not decide if Paris is more beautiful in the day or in the night. And I can not agree more. Exploring the streets of Paris at night had me overwhelmed with the feeling of love, beauty and smiles. No wonder kissing under the Eiffel or locking a lock on one of the two Love-lock-bridges with your name and your lovers name and throwing the key in the Seine River are some of the things lovers do here. These small moments that oozes with romance like laying on the grass under the Eiffel at one in the morning to capture the glittering tower show or having a picnic on the wall around the water-feature overlooking the Eiffel or dancing under the Trocadèro steps to the beat of some Tango Balade. However or wherever you go day or night it seem to have a subtle charm to it.
A few days ago the TGV from Luxembourg got me safe and sound to Paris Gare de l’Est in two hours and sixteen min. Had an absolute ball of a time the first day here. Ticking the tourist boxes on the back of a Paris bicycle with a special Parisian to guide and show me around. After a lovely stroll through a small park not too far from Bastille Square, stunning lunch on the sidewalk of a true Parisian Cafe and some nice views of famous spots, I made my way over to the South West of the city to get my beauty sleep for the big day at Roland Garros.
Both days at Roland Garros were absolutely worth every second of admin and cent of expense. A true and awesome Tennis feast. This part is hard to capture in words. But let me say this. As a Tennis lover the experience was more than special, it has been forever a dream to come to Roland Garros and also to see Rafa in action. The combination was a sweet deal. So grateful it worked out at the end. When booking the tickets I gathered that Rafa will definitely play on centre court because he is after all the King of Clay. But to my deepest disappointment he had to play Suzanne Lenglen. Although Philippe Chartier had a stunning tennis day lined up with Djokovic, Gasquet the Frenchman against Kevin Anderson from South Africa and Serena Williams. Still this was not Rafa. So when Murray won the game on Suzanne Lenglen I realised it is now or never. Djokovic was still in the second set and that could be someone else’s dream. So I made my way to the Info booth and asked the friendly staff about swapping my ticket. Her advice was to ask around and maybe someone will swap. Next to me a young Spanish lady half my size overheard this and said, “I think I can help you”. So now obviously I am thinking she will pull out a Suzanne Lenglen ticket for us to swap. But out comes an A4 size paper with the words I want to exchange Philippe Chartier for Suzanne Lenglen ticket for today. She push this into my hand and say, “this will work, it worked for me this morning “. So off I went to stand in the walkway between the two courts with my ‘beggar’ sign and it wasn’t even two minutes and people started flocking around me. Needless to say a few minutes later I was sitting in my new seat on Suzanne Lenglen awaiting Rafa’s appearance. So thank you Boris something for swapping the ticket. Sure you had a great day in my seat. Only thing that actually was missing in Paris was my family. Wishing my family could have joined me. We will have to take a rain check and come again soon. Talking about rain check, currently I am sitting in a little cafe not too far from the Eiffel, the Roland Garros big screen and clay court that has a reservation for me to play at 14:30. But it is raining. Lets see if the rain will stop soon enough. Oh my word and as I am writing this the rain stopped. As I made my way down to the court under the Eiffel I found the two guys already sweeping the water off the covers over the court. Only thing still missing. I have a reservation but not a Tennis partner. And then a bunch of german guys appeared from nowhere. Pinch me please. Is this really happening? Am I playing on a clay court under the Eiffel tower? Yet again very grateful for an amazing experience in this beautiful setting. So my love affair with the city of lights continues.
Rather random observations but I absolutely love these white crushed limestone paths and open areas in most parks and sidewalks. The new bicycle system that gives you a free ride for the first 40min and you can plug the bike back in and take a fresh one. The flower boxes under most window openings or over the wrought iron Juliet balconies and the fact that it is law for restaurants to give anyone person from the street that wants bread or water some bread or water for free. As a budget traveller they just still lack in the gluten-free option though. Ha!
On the graffiti side of things. Interesting to see that well known 1UP graffiti group from Berlin made it to the streets of Paris with a few heaven drops. Montmartre neighbourhood had some fine street art pieces that one can pick up from strolling around the neighbourhood. All in all, looks like Paris has got some street art talent. But Paris will have to see me again for some true hunting hopefully.
Upon me leaving the city this afternoon to catch my Ryan Air flight to Croatia, I couldn’t but help to notice the warm and fuzzy feeling in my heart. Thank you Abba for an amazing lovely experience in this city of love. Although I have been alone mostly, I surely did not feel alone. Truly had the time of my life.