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A day off enjoying Paris

Friday, November 11, 2011

This morning when I went for my run, the fog was so thick that only half of the Eiffel Tower was visible. Instead of arriving at 7am like I do on a workday, I arrived two hours later. Because it was a holiday in France, I had the whole day to myself, and I was certainly going to enjoy it. When I exited the apartment building, the sky wasn’t its usual dark blue, but rather a light grey.

The Champ de Mars was beautiful today because the colors were even more vibrant: yellow, green, rust, and brown leaves were scattered on the dirt trail, dangling from the branches, and falling off the trees. Even though the chilly breeze at times was so cold that my eyes watered, I still loved running around the Eiffel Tower.

When I got to Quai Branly, small crowds of tourists were already lining up to buy tickets for the Eiffel Tower and policemen were making the rounds. Most of the runners don’t go all the way to Quai Branly and instead turn off on the Avenue Gustav Eiffel because the sidewalk is generally more crowded and the street is much busier. I always run all the way to the end so that I can circle the Eiffel Tower. I enjoy looking up at it while I’m running.

The other reason I like going all the way to Quai Branly is that there are two small ponds surrounded by a grassy area and trees on each side of the Eiffel Tower right before the main street. This morning during my run, I saw a couple of trees with bright yellow leaves that I was fascinated by. Before lunch, I walked back to take a picture of them.

Today, I saw more people out with their dogs, bicyclists accompanying runners, and even a group of hikers with their trekking poles. The Champ de Mars really comes alive during the day: visitors and locals stroll through, enjoy the green area, and admire the Eiffel Tower, Ecole Militaire, and Trocadéro.

On my day off, I thought for sure that I would want to visit museums or churches, but instead I wanted to run around the Champ de Mars, have lunch by myself, take a nap, read, and write. I never feel rushed or pressured to do anything in particular like I would if I were on vacation here. It is a true luxury for me to enjoy my time in Paris; I appreciate the wonderful opportunity that life has given me.

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