Au revoir

For most of today it’s felt like a giant object, let’s say the Eiffel Tower for the sake of staying consistent with the blog’s theme, has been pushing down on my chest. It’s been just sitting there, shifting around now and then, its pointy little crown digging into my sternum (did I mention it’s an upside-down Eiffel Tower?) whenever I think that within 24 hours I’m going to be on a train out of here.

The only way to get it off is to close my eyes and focus really, really hard on what’s waiting for me in Canada: a new, exciting job, good friends, lots of unstructured green space, easily locatable public washrooms. But then when I open my eyes, Paris is still there, rushing around me at blinding speed, totally indifferent to whether I’m here or not.

So I’m trying to focus on the meaning of au revoir. It basically means “until we see each other again,” and that’s what I’m telling myself about Paris. It’s not that I’m leaving forever, it’s that I’m leaving until I don’t have to anymore. I can always come back.

And now some pictures of the last little while, for posterity.

Of course, there’s the Eiffel Tower. I actually quite enjoyed being up there despite the wait and the fact that Trish and I were stuck in an elevator with a bunch of 14-year-old British school children. The tallest of the boys, with gravity-defying hair, told the rest of the group that if we were to start plummeting to our deaths, he wouldn’t want to die a virgin. Any girl would do — as long as she was a 6.5 or above, of course. I’m sure the rest of them considered it a very romantic proposition …




The view drove home that Paris is a big, big city despite feeling so easy to get to know. You can just make out Sacre Coeur on the horizon of this photo:


Trish and I also hit the Paris “hot spot” Buddha Bar. Despite a very good drink and an interesting view of what we think were Italian businesswomen getting drunk and hitting on their Italian businessmen colleagues, I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I don’t go “Twenty euros? For ONE drink?” Since we were far too classy to use flashes in such a posh environment, here’s a picture of how Trish moved her head and glass in the 20 seconds it took my lens to take in enough light for the picture:

We also went out “dancing” one night. I put that in quotes not because we can’t dance, although that may be true, but because the bar we went to didn’t actually open up a dance floor by 1 a.m. when we had to leave for the subway home. But we got to drink champagne cocktails at the bar and discuss how young men flashing their underwear overtop baggy jeans is a global phenomenon. I also was so used to unisex bathroom by this point that I barged into the men’s bathroom at the bar, nodding at the man at the urinal who nodded back. It wasn’t until I came out and Trish emerged from the woman’s washroom that I realized my mistake. Oh well.


I’ve also been kind of camera-happy as it got closer to the time to leave. Here’s the Seine at sunset:


Here’s the night view from the edge of Bercy Parc, looking over the Simone de Beauvoir bridge to the Bibliotheque Francois Mitterand, which is right new to my apartment:


I met my friend Maria for one last night at Madeline church to have a good-bye lunch, and I’m really glad I did — it’s absolutely stunning:


Oscar Wilde’s grave, which I did not kiss:


The saddest part of today was saying good-bye to my class. Most of these people have been with me for the entire last month, and it’s been really interesting to get to hear about life all over the globe. I’d do it again in a minute.



And, finally, what walking around Paris for two months will do to your shoes:


Okay, writing this has make the Eiffel Tower really dig in again. Best to get to bed so I have time to clean the rest of the apartment tomorrow and make my train to start the journey home.

Au revoir, Paris, et oui, c’est vrai: Après deux mois ensemble, je suis prêt à le dire — je t’aime.

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