The last time I saw Paris, before this trip with Skip, was 1966, and I was with mom. We were traveling ahead of the rest of the family. The memory is one of the most vivid of all the places I traveled, as a child.
I remember: the tiny room we had in a small hotel near the Louvre; walking through Les Halles [which still existed]; eating at a Chinese restaurant a couple of doors down because we missed Chinese food so much [we had been gone four days from Hong Kong …]; walking; the Metro; the traffic!; The Louvre and the three “gottas,” the Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa, and the Venus de Milo; the Tuileries Gardens, with the fountains, in which boys were sailing model boats; eating a croque monsieur for lunch, at some outdoor cafe in the gardens ; walking; buying salami and cheese and hanging them in a bag out our window, because it was cool enough to keep them; the Gardens at Versailles; the rose windows at Chartres; San Chapelle’s stained glass; Napoleon’s immense red tomb; did I mention walking?
The Paris I saw in the winter of 2008-2009 has not changed much. A glass pyramid sticks out of the courtyard of the Louvre. There are security lines, so even if you have a museum pass, you will wait in line. The Pompidou exists. Oddly, I think the traffic is better. Fewer cars are on the roads – a lot of them are parked. People must be walking or using the Metro and the buses. And prices are, well, pricey.
I wrote a few notes, unfortunately after we left. I was sick the whole time and didn’t have the energy to write everything down as I usually do. I wish I had, so I can write the details in my remembering the six days we spent there. I am hoping, as I write, some of the details will come back. Memory is a strange thing. We’ll see.