Just power walked down to Concorde and back through the Tuileries Gardens but grossly underestimated the temperature. The thermometer says 9.5° but I forgot about the wind factor. Next time, I’ll wear my cap with ear flaps (hoping I don’t meet anyone I know, Black Cat in particular) and my inferior Australian suede gloves (because I still haven’t got my new rabbit-fur ones from Italy). Or I could just use my exercise bike and watch a movie at the same time (if I can get the technology to work).
But if I did that, I’d miss the pianist on Place du Palais Royal and the guy with the giant bubble ring that all the kids love. I wouldn’t see the glass pyramids of the Louvre or the pink marble Carrousel Arch with its gold figures and green horses. I would miss the sun setting over the Eiffel Tower and the giant Ferris wheel looking so out-of-place with the Obelisk peaking out behind, mocking my fear of heights. I wouldn’t see the kids sailing their boats on the pond and looking like an Impressionist painting (except for their jeans and anoraks) nor hoping for a ride on the Olde Worlde carousel.
Neither would I be reminded on seeing the Orangerie that I haven’t been back since renovation to visit the wonderful oval rooms with Monet’s waterlilies (shame on me). I wouldn’t see the seagulls calling and screeching over the fountain. I wouldn’t have that stunning view of the Louvre spread out before me as I power walk my way back. I’d miss the man who hires out the sail boats pushing his boat-laden trolley home at the end of the day.
I wouldn’t see the lovers kissing on benches (they don’t have cold ears) or the foreign tourists having their cheese and wine picnics (and ignoring the cold). I wouldn’t see Henry (and not the more strait-laced Thomas) Moore’s Reclining Figure at the foot of the Orangerie or the 18 Maillol statues down the other end. I would miss the open-mouthed fish at the bottom of the lamp posts next to the Decorative Arts Museum. Not to mention the giant monkey leaning out the window!
I wouldn’t be treated to the welcoming smell of roast chestnuts as I come out onto Rue de Rivoli. Neither would I go past the Comédie Française where Molière died in his chair or see the Night Revellers’ Kiosk. I wouldn’t see all the kids playing among the Buren columns and proudly wearing their crowns (they had the galette des rois today). I wouldn’t see all the people crowded into Miss Bibi’s tiny jewellery shop nor would I have the pleasure of feeling my ears get warmer as I walk up the stairs to my apartment.
But, more than anything else, I might forget just how lucky I am to actually live in the Palais Royal, right in the centre of the City of Light!