Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Enjoying Paris on a Sunday afternoon

Sunday, April 21, 2013

After lunch today, my beau and I headed to Paris. Normally we would’ve taken the metro, but instead we drove into town. It was a perfect day to stroll the city streets and enjoy the afternoon. We drove along the quai (quay) where I used to run on the weekends. I looked out of the car window and could almost remember what it was like running on that same sidewalk. We drown toward Notre Dame, which is where I used to go to on my runs and then turn back around to return to the Eiffel Tower.

We parked the car near the Pont Neuf and walked down the quai next to the bouquinistes (used-book sellers). I love peering at the books on display to see which ones jump out at me.

We walked to Notre Dame and enjoyed the view of the church basking in the sun. We wanted to go inside, but the line was wide and long. Instead, we headed to a café for a quick drink to watch the passersby.

I then showed my beau the Shakespeare and Company bookshop, which is one of my favorite landmarks in the city. Whenever I am close to it, I always make a point of walking to it even if it’s just to stand outside and admire it. There’s something magical about it that I find inspirational.

We then headed to the garden around Notre Dame and crossed the Pont Saint-Louis to wander Ile-Saint-Louis. When I used to visit Paris after I left it in 1995, I usually stayed on the island because my girlfriend lived there. It’s a special island that has a unique feel to it. It’s as if you stepped back in time and can feel the city’s history swirl around you.

It was lovely to see the Seine and the bateaux-mouches floating by. People were lying anywhere possible: on park benches, on the stone walkways along the river, and on any grassy areas where it was permitted.

What I love about Paris is that whenever the sun is out, people take full advantage of it. After growing up in California where the sun being out was a given, I’ve now learned to appreciate it when it shines above.

As we drove home, I felt more than content. I was able to enjoy Paris, taken in some of its energy, and keep it close to my heart. Paris sometimes fills me with melancholy, but when I’m there with my beau, it fills me with love. Paris is definitely a city for lovers: when I walk the streets alone, I feel more alone. However, when I am with my beau, I feel even more in love. The city seems to accentuate whatever is floating in my heart.

Now that the weather is warmer and nicer, I plan on going more often into Paris. It’s a pleasure to visit no matter the season, but definitely more enjoyable when the sun is out and the air is cool.

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