The cool autumn breeze has arrived and there is a sense of excitement in the air as I board the bus bound for my next mini adventure. The seat reclined, the eye mask pulled over my face and my ears tuned in to my favourite songs. The rolling wheels carry its passengers through the darkness of the night. Strangers sit side by side, sharing a brief moment of their lives as they embark on this adventure. As we travel further into the night, the silence and peace is disturbed only by our faint, synchronised humming as we dream of places unknown. Arriving at our destination, the morning sun has not yet risen and disorientation sets in as I try to dig out my rusty language skills and find my way to the metro station. Crossing the Seine as the sun is fighting its way through the darkness of the night, the majestic buildings appear like giants against the backdrop of the dark blue sky. Bridges come alive as the “Parisiennes” start their morning routine and pass me by in haste. Drawn to the sound of the bells I am standing in front of the Notre Dame in the early hours of the day. The square leading on to it, deserted. Beautiful peace and tranquility overcomes me as I step inside and wander down the aisle in awe of the majestic structure towering above me. Mass has begun and the great cathedral is silenced as the congregation sounds the song of prayer. Stepping onto one of the many bridges that connect this city, my feet guided by the sweet smell of buttery croissants and dark, rich coffee. Sitting outside the quaint cafe, the waiter offering the expected French allure as he takes my order and returns with a cup of my favourite travel companion. His black bow tie just a tad off from being perfect, as his crisp white shirt is carefully tucked into the black slacks and his hips swing from side to side as he balances the tray of breakfast delicacies. Fathers and brief cases walking their daughters to school, women and Chanel walking their dogs. Tour groups overflowing off the narrow pavements into the road. Drivers gesturing out of their windows in an attempt to discourage the chaos. Couples holding hands and roaming the river banks, as the sun warms their faces and hearts and their gaze wanders to explore the beauty that surrounds them.
Hours spent walking among some of the greatest art works of our time in the grand museums of Paris, I climb the stairs that lead to Montmartre and marvel at the portraits waiting to be completed and the masterpieces yet to be discovered. Cobbled streets turn to waterways as the rain gushes down and I manage to escape into a little pink house on the hill. A variety of French dishes and wines await me as I sit and watch people from near and far go about their evening in this little place, tucked away in the busy French capital. When devilish chocolate gateau presents itself as the icing on the cake I realise – “Paris is always a good idea” (Audrey Hepburn).