The baby girl and I had left our hotel yesterday and came to the east side of Paris to visit with my cousin Pierre and his wife Isabelle. They have three kids, the youngest a daughter is 12 and 1/2, the oldest boy is 18 and the second boy 16. My cousin Pierre is an extraordinary intellect as well is his wife, their knowledge of Paris architecture, artwork, monuments and history is so expansive. They both make incredible guides. The four of us, the kids had other things to do, headed out to walk through the west side of Paris up towards and through Montmartre and then back down south and heading towards the east. Pierre showed us these little residential hideaways with gorgeous 17th buildings and small gardens resplendent with flowers and plants, he then showed us all the passages ways built within the buildings as a means of traversing Paris in that quarter without getting wet. These passage ways had hotels, stamp collection vendors, cafe’s, restaurants, bookstores. A real treasure trove of special items, I could happily get lost there. We then walked the roundabout way up the Sacre Coeur, the steps were a little much, and the view from there takes your breath away. Paris is laid out for the eyes to take in all of her glory and history. I have to say that Pierre, who has since I can remember been a walking enthusiast, has not slowed down nor has he lost his stamina. We walked for four and a half hours, I can walk with the best of them but I have to admit that towards the end, my buttocks and my legs were moving slower because they were getting heavier, but I thanked Pierre and Isabelle profusely for giving us a unique tour of sights that I haven’t even seen on any guide book. Today was another great day but I wonder how my lower part of my body will greet me tomorrow. Be assured that I will tell you.
I’m sure it was worth the walk. Cities are exhausting!
It most certainly was worth the tired legs, at every corner you saw something interesting and beautiful. Cities are definitely exhausting, a lot of stimuli.
Rose Smith said:
How delightful! I went to school in France when I was five and can still remember the richness of the velvet burgundy drapes in our hotel room when we went to visit Paris. The opulent splendor of the city matched the way My mom and dad dressed us for the occassion. In expensive coats with matching hats and new shoes. And Mom and Dad in their Sunday best.
Being black, we never knew which country was going to greet us with kindness or cruelty. My parents wanted us to experience history, architecture and splendidness from other cultures while overlooking petty racial hatred along the way.
From the age of five they instilled a sense of black pride in us three kids that would carry us throughout our lives. They bravely gave us backbone of racial pride and ability that stays with me to this day. A truly priceless gift from two race proud and family proud giants.
Thanks for visiting! Your parents sound like an incredible pair and I’m glad that Paris and France hold wonderful memories for you. I can only imagine how sad, scary and isolating it must feel to be judged solely on something that you can’t control or hide or change. I know that for many Paris has always been a refuge, especially during the 1920’s, just yesterday we walked past the Moulin Rouge where many black musicians from America played to the appreciation and delight of Parisians. I hope that my little post brought back happy memories for you.