More walking. Dear god did we walk! We started out by taking a metro to Invalides and walking across the river to the Grand Palais. The idea was to go and see the Hokusai exhibition. When we got there, the queues were enormous, so we thought that maybe we should go for a walk and see whether they calmed down later on. So we walked along the Champs Elysee, figuring that we’d have a look at the The Tomb Of the Unknown Soldier, but were horrified that we actually had to pay to see it. There are two things that I firmly believe you should not have to pay to enter: Churches and War Memorials. I have no problem at all with making donations to either places if the option is suggested, but demanding it or else . . . nope.
So we walked back along the Champs Elysee past a Christmas market that hadn’t opened, on past the Place de la Concorde, through the Tuileries and into the Carousel for a snack. We had planned to walk through the Latin Quarter in the afternoon anyway, so we ate, then took a metro to St Michel and spent a very pleasant afternoon wonder around some of the last remaining pre-Haussman Parisian streets. Part of the walk got a bit surreal when for a couple of streets all of the shops and bars had English names (Including The Frog and Princess and The Bedford Arms), but by the time we got to Sevres Babylone, St Sulpice, Bonne Marche and La Grand Epicerie, we were back on track. We stopped off and got a ridiculously good bottle of Margaux.
Having done nothing but walk since 8:30am, by 3:30, we were exhausted and went back to the hotel for a quick snooze before going out to another internet friends house for a splendid raclette!
We met when I spotted a comment about a band I used to manage under one of their videos asking if anyone knew what had happened to them. I filled him in with the story, sent him a bunch of remixes and MP3’s of an unreleased album and we stayed in touch for another 8 years before we finally got to meet today.
We had an amazing and relaxed time with him, and his family. A lovely way to round off the day.
And again, I had no serious wobbles regarding the agoraphobia. I sort of freaked myself out by over thinking things and reading articles about “The etiquette of having dinner in a french persons home” but eventually slapped myself down to something approaching normal. The thing is, part of my weirdness is that I find it nearly impossible to go to other people’s houses. The very notion of it makes my skin crawl, not for any good reason and not because I dislike the people I’m supposed to visit. I think it might be ‘the weight of expectation’ thing again. Even here, I found myself feeling completely ill at the thought of being somewhere ‘other’ and it took a lot of resolve to get there. I had thought several times during the day “I have to phone and cancel”. Because that’s the way my brain works. I don’t know why and I don’t know why it puts me through such hell before something that will inevitably be – and was – extremely enjoyable.
In England, I have the day to day traumas as a base level of weirdness. I don’t have that base level in Paris which is why, I’m certain, I was able to go through with the evening. And I’m so glad I did.
One happy Metro ride back to the hotel completed a rather wonderful day.
By the way, as you’ll no doubt have notice, I found the facepalm statue!