My old neighborhood in Paris
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Today, I met up with one of my best friends at a restaurant on Avenue de la Grande Armée, which is a large avenue that heads toward La Défense from the Arc de Triomphe. I arrived a little early after taking the métro, so I sat on a park bench to take in the city. I used to cross the Champs Elysées quite often and never really noticed all the cars, scooters (which are new since I lived here), motorcycles, and trucks. The sounds of the city are deafening: horns honking, breaks screeching, and sirens blaring. A few people walked by, but not many were talking.
I hadn't met with my friend Marina in a few years. We used to work at the same company together, became friends, and kept in contact all these years. When I used to go to Paris for visits, I'd stay with her in her apartment on Ile Saint Louis. She came to visit me once in Florence back in 1999. Together we enjoy chatting, eating out, and socializing.
In only a few brief moments of being with her, I felt as if we saw each other just a few days ago. I brought her up to speed with my life and she with hers. I love that I can not see some people for a few years, have limited contact with them by way of sporadic emails, and then meet up again and feel as if we had always been in close contact.
After lunch, Marina drove me to Parc Monceau. I used to live a few blocks away and would run there every morning before going to work. I used to also walk through the park to get to work every day, heading toward the Arc de Triomphe.
Because it was a beautiful and sunny day, the park was crowded with people sitting on the benches and grassy areas. I sat on a bench in the sun for a few minutes, and then walked around the park. I recognized a lot of the buildings around the park and the statues sprinkled throughout. I took a few pictures for myself so that I could remember this park even more.
Afterwards, I walked down Avenue Hoche toward the Champs Elysées. I went my usual route to where I used to work on rue Beaujon. I took a picture of the building because I never did so when I worked there.
Later, I found myself in the middle of the Champs Elysées when the light turned red, so I took a picture of the Arc de Triomphe. I had never taken a picture of it before and was so impressed with how majestic it is sitting there in the middle of the place.
It was amazing for me to walk around my old neighborhood in Paris alone. It felt like I took a step into my past, and realized that Paris is still a big part of my life. I love Paris and sometimes miss it. When I first arrived in Paris last week, I felt so out of place here, but after walking around my old neighborhood, I feel as if I never left it.