” The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay, I heard the laughter of her heart in every street café”–Oscar Hammerstein II
Today is my favorite day in Paris so far! Nothing can better describe my day more than “full of chance encounters”. It was raining on and off the whole day. After morning class, I went to see a temporary art show about the early career of the Renaissance painter Tintoret at the Musée du Luxembourg. Since there is no permanent exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg, I was fortunate enough to be in Paris and near the museum on the first day of this well-curated exhibition about a true Italian master.
My favorite works in the exhibition
After this fortunate encounter, I headed to the Latin Quarter. I originally planned to have a light lunch at the Shakepeare & Company Café after browsing through the collection at the famous bookstore Shakespeare & Company. Yet, as I got off the métro at Saint-Michel square, I was immediately engrossed by the numerous bookstores in the region. I wandered freely among the shelves, looking for a familiar or interesting title that catches my eye. I especially liked the second-hand book section because there particularly, I felt like a true wanderer and traveller: I was looking for something I don’t know yet, a familiar name, a beautifully adored cover, but even more so for a sense of personal connection with the stranger who owned and loved the same books I now enjoy .It is because of the possibility of these unexpected yet pleasant encounters with people and things in a foreign land and the incredible bliss I feel when such encounters happen that I long passionately for solo journeys to unknown places.
Over the days, I have gradually become better at the practice of becoming a “true Parisian” not just a “rushed visitor”. After picking up a few old books, I decided to sit down for at the Shakepeare & Company Café for some afternoon tea and leisure reading. Even on a rainy afternoon, the outside seats truly offers the most pleasant experience and the best scenery. Sitting under the shelter of huge outdoor umbrellas, casually sipping tea and reading a good book, I can see the famous Notre-Dame de Paris when I raise my gaze from the book from time to time. It is truly an inspiring and refreshing leisure unique to Paris! No wonder so many elite writers, philosophers, artists came to live in Paris to find novel ideas!
tea at Shakepeare & Company Café
Afterwards, I visited two churches really close to each other but of very different styles: Église Saint-Sevérin and Église Saint Julien le pauvre.
One of the many stunning stained glasses at Eglise Saint-Sevérin
The more tranquil and modest Église Saint Julien le pauvre
After all these days in Paris, I have found my self much more comfortable with the local lifestyle and much more closer to my ideal of wandering solo traveller looking for adventures, surprises, and exciting encounters!