I believe I've started many letters to you this way, but...
Man, what a day!
We stood in front of the Eiffel Tower for a long time and I kept saying I couldn't believe we were there.
I still can't believe we're here! When will it sink in? Is it sinking in? In terms of time, next week this time, we'll be back home. That, in itself, is so tremendously hard to fathom! It's been so great, and today was no different!
My letter today is about seeing. Seeing in different ways.
Thank goodness for a cool night and a relaxed beginning! We had to change our plans to see the Catacombs today since there were no tickets available before the 20th of August - and as much as I've loved you Paris, I regret to inform you we won't be able to visit your Catacombs this time around. Nonetheless, we made the best of it and planned on day 1 of our biking trip on the streets of Paris to begin! It was more like day 1 of being lost on the streets of Paris on a bike; and Day 1 of trying hard to not get run over on the streets of Paris on a bike; and Day 1 of sign-language joking with the satirical bus driver who imitated my drunken (sans alcohol) biking with sheer joy, on the streets of Paris on a bike; and Day 1 of exploring Paris on a bike! It was a fantastic day 1 and I enjoyed seeing the positive side of our experiences with you.
(The bike rental system thanks to Velib is the smartest and most efficient bike rental system I have ever seen anywhere! There was a station less than a minute away from our air bnb. You enter a code, find a bike you like, adjust it to fit you [gears, seat height for short folk like me, etc.], and you're off! At 8 Euros for 7 days with 30 minute riding installments - it's a mighty sweet deal! We made up our cost within two bike rides today!)
Day 1 also took us to Notre-Dame. But before that and the beautiful bridges on the Seine (filled with teeny tiny beach strips), we did my most favorite thing. Ate local food!
|Folks chilling by the "beach" by the Seine|
Thanks to a sweet boulangerie, we procured...every variety of croissants ever created on Earth; tomato-mozarella croques; espresso done right; and ghastly-colored but scrumptious macarons! It made the perfect picnic watching crowds gather and noticing curious intricacies of Notre-Dame. Thanks for seeing the strength of food and a good picnic!
|Side facade of Notre Dame|
We then wound through the garden, equipped with our big-city-demeanor and found my perfect spot in all Paris. There, we stood and let the river and time flow by without care. I couldn't have been happier. You, smooth French guitar, water colorists, and sweet couples bringing me to tears attaching locks to Pont de l'Archevêché (and possibly weakening the bridge). Thanks for seeing that moment through my eyes and giving me a glimpse of it through yours (and being worth melting for).
|You are totally worth melting for... ; )|
After more walks and bike rides to see more of the city, we found our way to the Louvre. How mystically massive! Our desperate search for a bathroom cut short our initial walk-through, but I'm glad after our gastronomic diversion, we found our way back to the beautiful museum compound and gardens. Thanks for seeing my plight of needing to pee!
|Our excursion to La Frigate in search for a toilette!|
From there, we saw Arc de Triomphe and were both silenced by its immensity. How completely and powerfully skilled we are as humans - to create war and then memorials for the fallen.
Thanks for seeing just how beautiful a series of arcs can be!
I loved biking up Champs-Élysées with you! Thanks for seeing my fear of riding along side fast cars on a busy street and shouting encouragements from the back.
|First sighting from our walk on Pont Neuf|
I often think it's so odd how you don't see things as fast or as deeply as I do. I am sorry for pushing my ways of seeing on you. Like today, when I was desperately looking for a first sighting of the Eiffel Tower, and both times couldn't understand why you couldn't see it. It's my impatient eagerness (and arrogance) to share that sight with you that makes me irritated. I am sorry for this. We have different ways of seeing all things, and I am grateful for that. I am glad we are not identical, in being, thinking, or seeing. And for the ways that you see things differently, I am forever a better person. For that, and much much more, thank you.
|First sighting from the Metro|
|Wonder from Under|
There is one thing I think we both see eye-to-eye on...
Nous aimons Paris.
See you in my dreams,