Le Salon ~ every Wednesday, a group of us gather at a little brasserie on Ile St Louis in the late afternoon to share a drink and talk about whatever strikes our fancy. Sometimes 10 people show up, sometimes 2. Regardless, it's a way to connect to friends who are either living here or who are passing through on vacation. We usually end up laughing until we snort (well, I do ;) ). But we also have these wonderful discussions about politics, religion, the orange monster in the US, what's going on in our world (both personally and the one we all live in). It's something I look forward to every week. I'm not always able to make it, but every time I go, I leave feeling happy and so blessed to know so many people who love Paris the way I do and who are exactly the kind of people I want to surround myself with ~ kind, compassionate, intelligent, witty and funny as hell. Last week's Salon was no different ~ there were only 4 of us (the frigid February weather might have had something to do with that) but we chatted and drank and laughed for a few hours. #goodformysoul :)
Sharing meals with friends ~ whether it was delicious homemade dumplings at a tiny place in the upper Marais, a perfect French classic meal at a perfect Parisian bistro in the 6th or a homemade meal in a sumptuous apartment in the 7th with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, it wasn't the food that gave me joy ~ it was the people I shared that food with. So much of the pleasure I derive from being in Paris is the time I spend with friends. These friends feed my soul, they keep me grounded, they remind me of why I took the biggest chance I've ever taken in my life and came to Paris for a year. They make me laugh, they sympathize, they listen and they share. They do what friends do ~ they are there for you, in good times and in bad. They make me realize how much I have to be grateful for and remind me to never take anything for granted.
|Sharing a drink on a rainy Monday evening|
|sun setting behind the Iron Lady|
|my view as I enjoyed dinner with two cherished friends|
Meeting new people ~ I finally met a longtime Facebook friend on Wednesday and although we didn't have a long time as we both had to be somewhere else within the hour, it was one of those times where you just click. It felt like we had known each other for years and the conversation just flowed so easily. After our goodbye hugs, I walked from the 5th to Le Salon on Ile St Louis and this was my view:
This was one of those moments of pure joy ~ going from one friend to join others, the sun was shining and reflecting off the Seine, the blue sky filled the space around Notre Dame, and all was right with my world. At that moment, I was exactly where I needed to be and doing exactly what I wanted to be doing.
On Sunday, I joined 4 friends and we took the train to Provins, a medieval town about 80 kilometres South-East of Paris. As an aside, my monthly Navigo pass includes Zones 1-5 and so I was able to take this journey for free. No advance tickets needed, just show up at Gare de l'Est, trains depart and return hourly. Oh how I love my Navigo, let me count the ways lol.
Although it was brutally cold and windy, it was also one of those cloudless sunny days which yielded an amazing blue sky perfect for taking photos. I was dressed warmly in my NorthFace down coat and Bogs boots, and added a hat, scarf and gloves to ensure I could walk in the frigid temperatures for hours. And we did. We stopped for a 2 hour lunch (2 hours because the service was sweetly very slow, but we didn't care because we were warm, drinking wine and making new memories with wonderful friends. :). We spent the rest of the time wandering this way and that, enjoying the views, laughing and getting to know each other better and just having the time of our lives. The afternoon flew back and soon it was time to get the (free!!!) train back to Paris. I had a date (!) and needed to ready myself (as much as a 57 year old grandmother can ready herself lol). This day was just another example of the joy I get from being here ~ of course for the pleasure of being in a Unesco designated destination, but mostly for being able to share this time with friends and build common memories ~ and laugh. OMG, did we laugh ~ on the train there and back, walking around frozen to the core (with memorable descriptions of how the cold was affecting our various body parts), at lunch despite (maybe because of) the sweet, very slow service (and non-Parisian prices!!) and just walking around, not really caring where we were going, just enjoying the moment and the people we were with. A truly wonderful day and I will be going back to Provins when it's a little less cold. (My cheap Canadian ass is already looking at where else I can go for free with my Navigo ~ Versailles is on the radar. Well, I almost made it there last week but the RER had other plans, so my friend and I just ended up back in Paris, eating and drinking wine. Ah, how we suffer ;) )
|just a little 1000 year old church. That's all|
|Honestly, could that sky be any bluer!!!|
|Provins town square|
|the medieval fortifications that surround the old part of town|
On a more personal note, it was a happy and sad week. Not going to share more than that, but it is what it is. Life is change. Things happen to bring you joy and things also happen to remind you that life happens when you are making plans. We can't control anything that happens. All we can control is how we react to those changes and try to live this short but amazing life we have been given. We try to be there for the people we love in the best way we can. I try to remember that I'm not responsible for everything that happens and that even if I was somewhere else, those things would still happen. I have no control over any of that. The only thing I can control is my reaction and to ensure that those I love know I love them and would do anything for them. Besides that, I get to live my life the way I need to, at this moment. Nothing is forever, and this time in Paris isn't forever either. But it's here and it's now. It's what I needed to be able to do to soothe my soul and be able to move forward with no regrets. A good friend constantly reminds me that "It's Later than You Think" ~ so live your life, here and now. It's all part of Letting It Be :). I'll leave you all with a few more moments that gave me joy and happiness this week:
|a sliver of moon in the amazing blue sky of dusk|
|29 Avenue Rapp ~ an amazing Art Deco building that has to be seen to be believed|
|I took a walk through the back streets of Montmartre yesterday despite the cold ~ I was rewarded by this view that brought me to tears and reminded me I am where I need to be at this moment|
|A random little door that gave me joy|
|I just loved the cobweb peephole and the owl door handle|
|yes, it does :)|