When Richard and I realized that all Sundays in June were too busy for Sundays with Richard and Polly, we had to relent and switch the date to a Friday. Rescheduling our Paris duo adventure on a weekday did open up possible venues in terms of commercial settings, since Paris stores, for the most part, are not open on Sundays.
We agreed to meet on the rooftop terrace of Le Printemps. It's a worthwhile place to go -- a free panorama of the city on the ninth floor of the department store. And there is a cafeteria-style restaurant with so-so food. (I recommend it more for teatime rather than lunchtime. Can't go wrong with tea.)
But pun-lover that I am, I do adore the name: Déli-Cieux, crossing the English word deli with the French word cieux (skies) to equal the French word délicieux, or delicious. So clever.
As we wandered around the rooftop, there was no shortage of photo-ops. Monuments, magnificent vistas, the regular scenario. But there is an addtional benefit to this vantage point. At just-above-rooftop level, you witness a Paris unattainable from either the street level or the top-of-the-Eiffel level. The attics and roofs of Paris, up close.
First, the mannequin across the street mooning us.
Next, the realization that not all chambres de bonne are rented out to impoverished students. These were stockpiled with boxes and papers.
But, more resounding for me, Paris.
So much Paris.
I look at these rooftops, these chimneys. And unexpectedly, a strong emotion -- I can only call it Paris love -- wells up from deep inside. Just look at this city. All the mass of humankind, the multitude of lives: their stories, loves, heartaches, and daily doldrums or joys, in all these buildings, under all these roofs, as far as the eye can see. It's the same pining feeling I get on a plane when slowly gliding in for an airport landing, and I peer out the window at all the houses below so vivid and visible, and wonder, "What is happening in that house right now? And that one? And that one?"
So much humanity, looking out over the rooftops of Paris.
Read Richard's view of the rooftop afternoon here.
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