I like autumn. I especially like autumn in Paris with the crisp autumn air and the sound of leaves rustling as the wind gently blows through. The rich golden red of the maple tree confirms that autumn is here and contrasts sharply with the green grass. Parisians have all taken out their chic jackets and leather booths, fashionably beautiful. This trip, we’ve kept it simple without planned itineraries or to-do lists (which I usually can’t do without) and I discover that it really does make the trip somewhat more enjoyable.
There’s no hopping from point A to point B and missing all in between. Instead we look at the map, see where the Eiffel tower is, check out the Arc de Triomphe, and just walk. Its awesome. You really get to see life. Along the way we get some sandwiches from the local bakery ‘Paul’ which can be found at almost every corner and I have to say it never fails to disappoint. Upon reaching the park by the Eiffel, we find ourselves a spot with a full view and just relax. We’re lucky we got unusally warm weather in the mid twenties for a day or two. The eiffel never fails to put me in awe with its sheer size.
After people watching and bird watching, we walk towards the Trocadero, opting out of going up after seeing the long lines. We make it to the Charles de Gaulle Etoile and find another spot with which to just sit and take it all in. The french really do a wonderful job of having benches everywhere for you to just sit and enjoy the view and life.
Champs Elysees comes next with its grand boulvlevard and grand buildings. Coming from quiet charming Lisboa, you see the contrast. Lisboa is a remnant of former glories, of a city by the ocean with grand ambitions. It has now fallen on harsh times and the differances in wealth between the Lisboans and Parisians stands out clearly. No chic bags or fancy smartphones can be seen, life is simpler in Lisboa. Slower paced. I must say I miss quiet Lisboa and the local pastelarias that can be found everywhere offering you a ‘bica’ for less than a euro. A price unimagineable in Paris.
We keep walking the entire length of the Champs Elysees and find ourselves looking at an egyptian obelisk taken from Luxor. It reminds me of europe’s former fascination with egypt. It stands beautifully in the middle of Place de la Concorde, the former revolution square where Marie Antoinette was quillotined. How different life was then.
We end the day walking up to the Opera then the Boulevard Haussmann for a little shopping at the Galeries Lafayette and check out their supermarket. I love checking out supermarkets wherever we go. There are always so many kinds of food. The Musee de Louvre and the Notre Dame will be for the next day…