Paris and the Tenth Arrondissement

Café Plat du Jour Cheeseburger

Terrible name but the café is on the corner of Place de la République and this morning, in addition to strong coffee, I seek the liveliness of traffic. And the oh-so-French accent of emergency vehicles. My café au lait is delicious, too.

Rough Travels

After a not especially pleasant journey from Aberdeen to Paris, woke up promptly at seven after a pretty good night’s sleep at the Hotel Garden Saint Martin. First off, the train was late; good thing I opted for the silly early schedule. Once at BWI, I realized I had not brought the Kindle charger cord. Bless Gary on Concourse D who pawed through his older inventory and found me the right one. On sale.

my luggage waiting for the BWI bus

The seats on Icelandair were more form-fitting than straightjackets and the food was awful. Reykjavik Airport is a mess and gates 23-27 or so are a tiny box from which people are shuffled in groups onto busses and transferred to planes on the tarmac.

A pleasant, portly fellow from Portland, Oregon, was my seatmate on the last leg. He was headed toward a month in a rental on the Île de Cité. Lucky fellow! Together we collected our luggage and figured out the trains into Paris. The lovely woman at the ticket desk advised me to get the 35-euro Métro pass. Good for ten years; if I return sooner, all I have to do is top it up. She scanned the photo on my passport, popped the cards into a plastic holder and I was in business.

Getting to 41

view from room 41

The slog from Gare du Nord to Jacques Bonsergent was exhausting: a lot of stairs and no escalators. Above ground I couldn’t locate rue Yves Toudic; a nice young woman whipped out her cell phone and sent me on my way. Across the intersection, down the street, à droit and there I was. My room, number 41, looks directly down rue de Marseilles. The money shot, little iron balcony and all.

Loving the tenth arrondissement. It’s full of young people. The streets offer a plenitude of boulangeries-patisseries, cafés and eateries, boutiques and what-have-you. Loving the feeling—almost—of being almost in my twenties. Better in some ways because now I have credit cards. But, oh, my feet give out sooner.

A First Stroll

Place de la Republique

After washing my face, brushing my teeth and braiding my hair, I went out for a look-see. Started at Place de la Républic, a wonderful space with that great monument—rich with symbols from Marianne to the lion—to the events that established the Republic and forces that struggled to keep it alive, from 1789 to 1870. Shabby, too, because a democratic republic takes a beating. I could not help but reflect on the United States that now seems very far away.

La Grisette

From there my maps and suggested walk razored from my old Eyewitness Guide helped me find the Canal Saint Martin. Watched a game of boules for a while. Damn, those guys are good, silvery steel balls clacking off each other in search of the tiny red marble that offers a win. Paid my respects to La Grisette and circled back around to Yves Toudic although I confess it took me a while to decide whether to turn left or right. I will always be directionally challenged. Stopped for a glass of sauvignon blanc at the bar across the street from the hotel.

And Then to Bed

Tried watching TV but there wasn’t anything, no BBC or CNN. Dozed. Woke and thought to check on Dropbox and see what Audrius had left me. (More to come when I get to Lithuania.) Started a lively back-and-forth on Facebook with Audrius that kept me awake until ten and finally called it quits on day one in Paris.