PARIS: Old Haunts

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There was thought that i would not bother booking a hostel, and just see Paris through the night til my 7:30am Eurostar departure… kinda replicating ‘Midnight in Paris’ (without the high-brow time travel). Then my boring but sensible head took over. I got myself a bed within 200 meters of Gare du Nord, meaning i could head down and around the city with the knowledge i could do almost a complete circle and end up right back where i needed to be…

Having been to Paris 2 times previously within the past 4/5 years i can tell you that… I still love the place. The famous sights and monuments retained there impact and that warm Parisian atmosphere that cuddles a returning visitor was still very much alive and tingling through my senses… i’ve started to feel very at home walking it’s streets, even talking un peu de Français… if it results in good coffee and a pastry treat.

Now, with my past visits being very special to me and something that i’d shared with someone no longer by my side, it was aways going to be a tough 24 hours regardless. But not only did i really want to see Paris again and in mild weather for once… I felt i owed it to myself to try and enjoy the city for what it was and embrace the memories, not as painful reminders, but as truly special times and to be glad they even happened at all… Sappy?  Yes.   Did it work?  Hmm… not entirely, twas an unusual mix of comfort and sadness. Looking back, I don’t regret the decision to go. Progress of some form did prevail in the end and i got to spend some more quality time with a favourite place of mine…

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So… i began my nostalgic exploration with an attempt to see the Catacombs (which i had missed out on last time due to christmas Eurostar disruption, leading to an all day queuing session)… unfortunately i got there literally 1 minute the wrong side of closure! A grand start… but soon enough, after walking 50 yards up the road, grabbing a couple of fresh butteries and an aromatic black water and starting my way toward the Seine and Notre Dame on a fresh Paris morn… i was glad not to be underground.

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The hotel for my christmas trip here back in 2010… it was perfect.

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A bar and restaurant with baggage… i managed to resist sitting and devouring a fudge brownie coffee sundae thingy that i’d had the previous times, i guess breaking tradition.

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Never gets old…

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Some more sneaky people shooting…

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Lying on a wall by the seine… should’ve been a idillic situation, and was until me thumb got itchy.

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A part of the little island i hadn’t seen before…

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Jardin des Tuileries… between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde. I do really enjoy this walk.

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An old friend… experienced originally in Paris before all you Londoners!

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The same old varied angles of the Eiffel tower…

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Though these two are my favourites: I didn’t dare head up the tower as it wouldn’t have been… perfect.

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The river crossed…

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At this point i was tempted to go wander past the hotel i had stayed on my first visit to this wonderful city… then i thought, why rub it in further? With salt and vinegar? Instead take a different street to an uncertain destination, perhaps you’ll find something new, providing a moment detached from the past…  and i did, sights both new and unexpected.

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Classic…

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Then of course i was still in Paris, round every corner awaits a memory… there were still more old haunts i couldn’t bypass. The familiar painful swell sets in, but i was still determined to get my photos…

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It was nearing 10 o’clock as i left through the northern arches of The Louvre… the only area left to see again was Montmartre and Sacre Coeur.

So without any official time restraints and with a bed waiting for me at Gare du Nord, i decided to call upon my tired feet one last time. So through the theatre district and past the late-night cafes i strolled, seemingly a harmless ghost to the locals as they descended on the parisian night, spilling out of terraces into the surreal glow of a sleeping street… eventually i found my way to to the famous hill top view.

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A fitting place to end my 12 day European travel rush… and an emotional spot for over-due revelations and reflections…

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8 hours of queuing was not necessary this time… a swift goodbye.

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And thus ends my trip… a taster of Europe, there’s still so much more “i wanted to do, to see and to have done to me”

Some great company whom i met and spent good times with along the way…

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: InterRail Soundtrack :

Here’s a mini-playlist of new songs i had with me that kept things truckin’ on…

The first two are admittedly very cheesy ditties, but ones that hit many a nail-head and strike many a heart-string. The instrumental is a short but powerful piece originally from the film ‘Man on Fire’, but i play it into the depths of my ears anytime i want to drift away… Next is a pick from the solo album by Nicke Borg (Backyard Babies), it’s such a relevant and consistent record that i could have picked any of them! And i end with the final track from Newton’s latest home-studio effort… a perfect coming home song…
 

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I now know not to say it’ll be a while until more travels… as my feet tend to get the better of my head. But it really is time to focus on living a grounded existence, at least over the christmas period. During which i intend to reach a little further into the music cauldron of London, actually adding reputable experience to my music identity. Then, once again I’ll likely be seeking more miles and scars to add to my travelife belt…

All this productivity i hope will soon evolve from it’s current distraction purposes… into true ambition.

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“Happiness only real when shared” – Christopher McCandless
  
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