Posts Tagged ‘Georges Moustaki’

It’s Bastille Day in France, “le 14 de juillet.” I still remember being there at this time of the year some time ago.

I was prepared to experience Paris and experience the small details — the charming cafés on the left bank, fleur de lis emblems, the small shops, the wrought iron that decorated the windows, the delicate patterns on gorgeous fabrics. I even found a small place to stay, a foyer on the Ile Saint Louis located on a very small street, with very few people, on a very small island on the Seine. Oh yes…it was in the heart of Paris, right behind the Cité, the home of Notre Dame with three times two bridges leading to it, one bridge connecting to our island and another leading to the opposite bank. Such a well kept secret this small place is in one of the major cities of the world. What I discovered was not just the small details but quite a grand picture…the big picture, if you will, one of my best life lessons.

First, a word about my lodging. How in the world (literally) did I find this foyer, stumble on the good fortune of staying here? I had applied and was accepted to attend the Sorbonne and was sent a roster of residences to choose from. I think the place I chose was the last name on the list — it had a charming name beginning with the letter “V” and I figured others would flock to the first names on the list. Little did I know I had chosen the very best place to be. It was quiet, in the heart of Paris, in the middle of the Seine and right behind Notre Dame! It was located on an island with the river Seine at each end of the street. It was run by nuns — which made me feel quite safe.

Feeling very at home and safe right away, I made friends in my foyer and we ventured out every day to discover something new. At first I followed others, learning from them how to navigate the metro, the left and right bank and then I went further out to the outer arrondissements. Then I started to lead others to discover what I had discovered. Usually my visits to take in the sights included new friends, Jan, Irene or my Italian roommate Marie-Therese. I have regretfully lost touch with Irene and Marie-Therese, but Jan has always kept in touch. It’s her pictures she is sharing with us in this post. When she told me she was returning this past spring, I asked her for specific shots showing the symmetry and immensity of the structures. I thank her for her generosity and friendship over the years. She has returned several times to this city where we first met around the same age and I have enjoyed staying in touch.

What the three of us discovered together was how perfectly planned, beautiful and large everything in Paris is. Like me, Irene came from TX too, and both of us laughed at the size of everything — to our amazement we found a place and architectural wonders larger than anything in our state…figuratively, of course. Please click on the photos that tell the story of several of our discoveries of this marvelous city.

I was away from home, family, a school environment I was familiar with, and familiar friends. I was so fortunate to meet new friends, and in the case of Jan, a lifelong, long distance friend. My favorite song while I was there, in addition to Mungo Jerry’s In the Summertime was Georges Moustaki’s Ma solitude. The line I remember most “Non, Je ne suis jamais seul avec ma solitude.” “No, I’m never alone in my solitude.” In my solitude, I discovered Paris among friends I will cherish for a lifetime.

Another post about my time in Paris. Click here.

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