a day in paris
i wake up and i know that this is going to be my last day in paris. i am filled with gratitude and joy (thanks, meditation app, for this vocabulary) and, naturally, i am sad. i do not want to leave; i want to stay more than anything else. unfortunately, this is not an option right now, so, at least, i plan to embrace an opportunity and enjoy this city as much as i can. i have not properly packed yet, and that is how i start my day, which is not that big of a deal, as everything i have is already either in my suitcase or in the bags next to it. therefore, i am good.
yesterday i went to the supermarket and i bought some food (my kind of saying goodbye is taking as much as i can with me). if you still do not know - i am a fan of supermarkets. today i am eating a huge portion of vanilla rice pudding (i am that much of a weirdo, that i actually googled the pudding and i found it online. if you ever see it - buy it; it is so-o-o good) and i am drinking my twinnings vanilla tea with milk and honey (i have been sick for days and my throat is getting worse). that is a lot of vanila flavour, yes. i get ready quickly and i go outside.
there is a list of things i hope to be able to do during those few hours i have left. number one location is colette, so that is where i head. it is nine thirty am on saturday, so streets are pretty empty. it is an extra pleasure to get outside after taking the metro and not appear in the middle of a tense crowd. just walking feels so nice. i look around and i wonder - how many times have i been on rue de rivoli? how many times have i entered galignani and whsmith? how many books have i bought there?
back to reality! stupid me did not think of checking colette`s working hours, and it turns out that cool guys do not open until eleven. not a problem at all! we keep on walking and now our goal is boulevard saint-germain. we? who is we? i have a special company today - anya, my friend. you can read a quick interview with her here. she is cool and she has an awesome blog! we have been extremely busy working due to fashion week, and today is the only day when we get to spend some quality time together. we are walking and talking, walking and talking about literally everything. like i said, i do not want to leave, and i want to have these conversations with this particular person more often. paris is my lucky spot for meeting people who make my mind excited and occupy a very special place in my heart.
we take a few pictures quickly, and i finally have some images to look at when i go back. after many-many times in paris, i have tons of pictures of everything and everyone but me. well, not anymore! as we get to louvre, there are more people around (as always) and we take more pictures next to an impressive door. we get to the river and cross the bridge. i love walking by the seine and i love crossing parisian bridges. we are lucky, because the weather is kind to us and it is not as cold as it was before. at some point we turn and we get on a small street, then we pass my summer school and we turn again. we are on our way to a big stationery store to buy a gift for my french tutor back in kiev, whom i adore. i find what i was looking for and we are now going to boulevard saint-michel.
this area feels like an actual home, because at first i spent my summer holidays here and then i lived here for three and a half months last year. boulevard saint-michel is where i was on my way to the pharmacy, to the supermarket, to the cafe, to the luxembourg gardens, to my school...almost every time i went somewhere, i took this road. i get here and it feels like i have never left.
we are passing by a bakery and, of course, we go in. what do you do on the last day in france? you buy two croissants instead of one. we get to place saint-michel and eat our delicious snacks in front of a magnificent fountain. my other friend felicia and i came here many-many times years ago and ate ice-cream at the very same spot. i have a huge smile on my face and i am ready to scream because i love it here that much.
across from place saint-michel and the fountain, there is a building with a special door - my door; the door that i opened last august for the fir time and kept on entering every day until december; the door to my parisian home. i lived at the tiniest place, but it was my place and i enjoyed it. i ask anya to take a picture of me, even though there is no chance i will forget what this door looks like any time soon. the sun is shining now, so i close my eyes all the time, but who cares? i am good.
croissants are gone, pictures are taken. we are walking again. it is a small, but a very busy street, that will lead us to another place i love - shakespeare & company bookstore. i am so bad at explaining, but every time i get there, i feel like falling in love or actually like coming back to my old love; i feel like home; i feel like this is the place to be. i come here every time i am in paris, and i buy a book no matter what. if you read my previous post about my to do-list in paris, you know that i recommend coming here, but if you did not - you could still do it.
we enter the store and i get lost. there are so many books and the choice is really good. i wish i could buy a lot of books, i wish i could buy a few, but i know that i am buying just one. i wander around a little bit, looking at books, touching the covers, reading some of the signs on them, daydreaming, thinking of my previous visits here. i know where the one i am going to buy is, so i head there, i pick it and i pay for it. i am satisfied and excited, i imagine the moment when i will open the book back in kiev.
there is a cafe now next to the bookstore, and this is exactly where we go. we are lucky enough to find a free table at a place, which is permanently full. we drink hot coffee, which is especially good after spending quite some time outside. a little later alina arrives. all three of us work in fashion, so we talk about it a lot. after an hour or so, it is time to go in order to not be late to the airport later. we are now headed back to colette, because i definitely want to buy a new print issue of business of fashion. we get there, it is crowded as always and there is a line, so i pick up the magazine, i pay for it and we go. my luggage is waiting for me at anya`s place, so we go there.
i eat a sandwich with chicken and avocado from marks&spencer food, finish my pudding and add my purchases to my bags. there is not much time left, but i manage to take a picture of anya and her boyfriend standing in the window with a view on paris (eiffel tower is involved too). we rush downstairs, we hug and we say goodbye. again, i do not want so say goodbye, but i have to, so i do. when will this process be less painful? never, i suppose.
at the airport i do all the regular things you do when you travel, and when i get to my gate, where i have to wait, i open my backpack and i get my new book out - "here i am" by jonathan safran foer. i shut myself down, i forget about everything and i just start reading. this is what i am going to fix my mind on - my new book, written by an extraordinary author. before i board the plane, i buy another croissant and i ask myself, when will i be in france again? no idea, but i am already looking forward to it, dreaming about it and making plans. paris, i love you! thank you for making me so happy. it was great to come back. see you soon!