Paris, January 27, 2014
Spending two days of a five-day long trip to Paris in bed gave me a lot of time for thinking. Of how unlucky I was that out of 365 days in a year I had to fall ill during a short holiday, for example. Or of how awful I felt that my parents, who had come to meet me in Paris for the weekend, had to care for their weak sick daughter when they could have spent their time doing better things, like dining with their healthy daughter in a bistro at Saint-Germain-des-Prés, or taking in the view of the glowing Eiffel Tower at night (well, these two things actually happened, luckily, before I got sick). But then my parents left, and I had two more days to spend in Paris before my return flight. I had been looking forward to those two days, with my camera ready and my head full of places to see. I had been missing the feeling of wandering alone in a big city and I was very glad that this opportunity would come up with this trip. But things didn’t go as I had planned, so I ended up spending most of that time in bed, seeing Paris out of a window. Here’s what I saw.
Paris is white, way whiter than I thought. Façades are white and roofs are white and the winter sky is white most of the time, too. The city, seen from a notable height, reveals this paleness, this light creamy colour I hadn’t quite expected. The weather in Paris changes often and dramatically. Being inside an apartment all the time, it didn’t really matter to me if it was rain or shine outside, but despite the fact that the weather was not affecting me I still couldn’t help noticing how often it was changing. Rain meant huge drops crashing crosscut on my windows, tapping persistently as if to make sure I had noticed it had started to pour. Then there was the wind, and I could see the treetops sway in front of my window from this 5th floor perspective of mine. I knew that the wind was done and had cleared everything up when a sunray would hit the house opposite mine. It would strike its whiteness and lighten the building up, making it blinding against the dark clouds that were running away from the picture. The dawn was pink pastel brush strokes in the eerie morning light. The night was lying in bed awake looking at the planes – so many cross these skies to take their passengers everywhere, but they’re too high for people on board to realize it is the City of Light they are just passing.
During my sick days in Paris I kept thinking of all the things I didn’t get to see, of the places I had planned to photograph those two days by myself, until I realized that a 48-hour long view from a bedroom window had definitely been an interesting experience, too. At least this kept me very much loyal to my resolution to keep clear of the beaten path and get a less touristic impression of Paris this time.
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[I wrote this piece during a short stay in Paris in January 2014. I was trapped inside an apartment, recovering from food poisoning and too weak to do anything but stare out of the window. With no access to a computer or a decent sheet of paper, I wrote this on the inside of a biscuit box and later made it into a post on my old blog. Two years from then, I thought it would be nice to have this post also up on this blog.]