March 13, 2017 – Paris
This is the first time my wife and I have returned somewhere in our travels together. Ok, that’s not entirely true, but ruling out Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for football game trips, it’s true. Not only did we return to Paris, but we consciously returned to Montparnasse, the 14th arrondissement.
There is a very comforting feeling returning here. Our first visit in 2009 was a great one, and we loved the slightly out of the way, definitely not overly touristy, authentic Montparnasse. Returning here eight years later, not much has changed. Such is the way with great neighbourhoods. Boulangerie, fromagerie, wine merchants, restaurants, gorgeous parks – all still here. And all as lovely as eight years ago.
Being back here in Paris, not even twenty four hours after arriving, I’m comforted. I don’t feel a rush to get out to see the sights – we did all of that the last time here. This visit, I’m envisioning a much slower pace. Lingering in cafes, strolling streets and parks just for exploration. Simple stuff really.
As if to emphasize that, on arrival day, after the requisite nap to shake off a couple of long flights, an epic layover and a seven hour time difference, we headed for Luxembourg Gardens. Late on a Sunday afternoon, we joined the throngs of locals – families, couples, old men playing pétanque – and strolled the park.
Heading back to our hotel, we stopped at a cafe for a drink. While I nursed a Leffe and watched the world pass by, I felt at home. Somewhere obviously very different from Saskatoon, but home. The taste of the Belgian beer and the scent of French cigarettes were intoxicating and lovely.
It will end up being six days here in Montparnasse at the start and end of our two weeks in France. I’m still very much committed to traveling to far, new and exotic places, but once in a while, it is nice to simply come back. I’m going to enjoy being here very much.