I even had an earlier awakening today than yesterday. I was sleeping, soundly on the airplane when the flight attendant nudged me, asking whether I would like an omelett or a fruit tray. I looked at my watch and it revealed that it was 1:30pm Chicago time. I ate what I could, but after the meals yesterday, I was fine sending more than half of it back. The flight was good, but pretty close to finished. I went back to sleep after breakfast, but it wasn’t long before the landing announcements commenced. At least the sun was up as we deboarded the plane at 9:30 am (Paris time) at Charles De Gaulle airport.
Everything went well, landing, passport control, customs, train into town and even hauling all of the stuff that I have with me. I packed pretty close to maximum capacity with my art paper, oil colors brushes, clothing, electronics and other personal items. So it was quite a chore when I was confronted with a stairway every now and then in the subway. I suspect that I slowed urban Paris down a bit, today. I took the RER train to Chatelet and transferred to Metro line 7. I had no problem finding my temporary two-month home; check-in at the Cité internationale des arts went very smoothly. I did some unpacking. Once again, TSA picked my suitcase for inspection. They cannot help themselves I suppose. Who else carries painting knives, weapons of beauty?
My studio flat is on the third floor. It overlooks the Seine. Apparently there is a sight-seeing boat tour that operates on the river that I view straight out of my studio window. Off to the right is the massive Cathedral of Notre Dame. The day was cloudy, but warm at around 40˚F. The river is a cold green. It is punctuated by the branches and trunks of Scyamore trees. I wonder if its something that I do that is ingrained within me, or if it is really the way it looks….I know, the ancient philosophers argued about exactly this sort of thing….but I see the Seine as an Impressionist painter did; the light ripples, the transient changing nature of the water flickering as it passes by in front of me. I bring this up, because when I visited Yosemite National Park and the Grand Tetons, I certainly saw a lot of it through the pictorial lenses of Ansel Adams. The picture I have posted here of my view seems a little more expansive than it really is. The Seine is closer than it appears, and Notre Dame is larger, as well.
My French Language skills are abysmal, but I will try. I appreciate the kindness of two individuals today, one at the train ticket office, and the subway ticket office at Chatelet. They made my journey pretty smooth. I went to the grocery and the only snafu was finding the tangelo I wanted on the weighing selection menu. The clerk was not helpful…trading out what I wanted for what matched the image on the scale. I would have liked for it to be the other way around. The good news is, I am not starving and I chose a decent Bordeaux wine to celebrate my first day.
This section of town seems nice. I am the 4th arrondissement on the right bank of the Seine. There is a park to the right of my building. The architecture is varied and beautiful. The walkways are wide. It is clean. The noise of the traffic meshes with the bells of the Cathedral; ironically, the citizens of the 12th century could never have imagined this. I have slept as my body has commanded today and I am up late now. I have determined that other than the hours that shop owners keep, I am not anyone else’s schedule for a while. My feet hurt and my hips ache, so rest it shall be…and did I forget to mention, I will need to find push pins tomorrow.